There is a real disconnect between employers and employees on how they view social networks. A new study by Deloitte highlighted the following:
- 53% of employees say their social networking pages are non of their employers’ business
- 40% of managers disagree, and 30% admit to informally monitor social networking sites
- 61% of employees say that even if employers are monitoring their social networking profiles or activities, they won’t change what they’re doing online
It seems that an increasing number of people do not care about the consequences of their actions on social networks (refer graph). Why is this? Amongst other things, I suspect two trends. One, social media and networks are deeply ingrained in our daily lives that it is almost impossible to separate personal affairs and work activity. Attempts at hiding or separating the two are increasingly useless.
Second, we live in an age defined by corporate failure, greed and in many cases outright dishonesty. Reputations are in tatters. The idea that employees are expected to be blemish free, when employers themselves are far from squeaky clean, does not cut anymore. My hunch is that the vast majority of job seekers, specially Gen Y, see the employee-employer relationship in a very different light. The dominant thinking is nearer to ‘we both have flaws, let’s learn to get along’.
While I am not against drafting social network policies in the workplace, or the importance of proper background checks, obsessing on employees personal lives or behaviour on social networks is a waste of time and resources, and at times counter-productive.
My point is, we live in a hyper connected world, where barriers to information are crumbling rapidly. Inevitably, both employers and employees will increasingly know more about about each other. It is a two way street. While information about people are easily available, at the same time, more than ever, it is increasingly difficult to hide a dodgy service, a crummy product or a bad employer. Rather than worry too much about the pitfalls of social networks, companies ought to spend their precious resources on delivering quality services or products, improve their ‘employer brand’ and obsess on creating workplaces that will attract good people. If I were an employer I would worry more about being googled than googling job seekers.