Employers should strongly consider adopting policies to address the implications of social media use by employees. In its recent survey of more than two-thousand (2000) respondents, Deloitte LLP found that sixty percent (60%) of executives say they have a right to know how employees portray themselves and their organizations in online social networks, but most employees disagree. The survey found that 53 percent of employees say their social networking pages are not an employer’s concern. Younger workers are more likely to say this, with 63 percent of 18–34 year old respondents stating employers have no business monitoring their online activity.
With the explosive growth of online social networks, such as Facebook and Twitter, rapidly blurring the lines between professional and private lives, these virtual communities have increased the potential of reputational risk for many organizations and their brands. Only 17 percent of executives surveyed said they have programs in place to monitor and mitigate the possible risks related to the use of social networks.
While the decision to post videos, pictures, thoughts, experiences and observations is personal, a single act can create far reaching ethical consequences for individuals as well as employers. The survey found that one-third of employees say they never consider what their boss or customers might think before posting material online. Therefore, it is important for executives to be mindful of the implications of this connected world and to elevate the discussion about the risks associated with it to the highest levels of leadership.