HR Tip of The Week: 5 Reasons you shouldn’t friend your coworkers on social media
As a social media connection, seeing what employees post about their health problems, medical history, political views, and religious or lifestyle preferences can be used as fodder for a discrimination or harassment lawsuit, according to some employment lawyers. Whether or not it results in a legal battle, it’s difficult not to be influenced by sensitive information your employees post.
When you send a friend request, it often places employees in a tricky position: unless they genuinely want to friend you, they may friend you because they feel pressured to, come up with a reason to decline, or they will simply ignore the request and hope you forget about it.
Whether or not you are well versed in the privacy settings of your preferred social media platforms, they are constantly changing and evolving, and you may not have the level of control over your content that you think you do. One questionable post or awkward party photo can live forever on social media, and giving employees a front row seat could hinder your image as a leader.
Posting on social media can feel as comfortable as talking to a good friend, so it’s easy to forget that your relationship with many of your followers is more complex than simply being pals. Social media blurs the boundaries between personal and professional.
No matter how friendly you are with employees in person or online, you are still the boss. You handle their quarterly reviews, make tough decisions, have potentially unpleasant discussions about performance, take corrective measures, and even fire people at times. Those managerial duties are difficult enough without the added burden of seeing an employee’s personal status updates or “TGIF” comments.