Social Media In the Workplace

Think twice before you post anything. This is just a tidbit of advice discussed with Forensic Expert Lee Neubecker and Human Resource Executive Dr. Nicole Konkel.

Social Media

People are an organization’s most important resource.  These same people spend a large part of their day posting to social media. Pew Research reports 69% of adults use Facebook on a daily basis making Facebook the most used social media platform. So, it’s no surprise that employers keep tabs on current employees and research potential candidates by viewing social media accounts. Human Resource Executive, Dr. Nicole Konkel, and Lee Neubecker, President & CEO of Enigma Forensics talk about the appropriate use of social media sites and the workplace. Watch this video to learn more about how employers interpret your social media activity.

Appropriate Social Media Activity in the Workplace

The video transcript follows

Lee Neubecker (LN): Hi I’m here today with Dr. Nicole Konkel. Dr. Nicole, thanks for being on the show.

Nicole Konkel (NK): Thanks for havin’ me Lee.

LN: Dr. Nicole is a specialist in organizational design and she helps organizations manage one of their most important resources, their people.

NK: Yes.

LN: So, Dr. Nicole, I asked you to come on today to talk a little bit about what should happen in the workplace with regards to appropriate use of social media while at work.

NK: Yes, get rid of it all. I’m kidding. Kidding of course. Well, you know, I happen to have had an opportunity to be in leadership positions in a lot of different roles. And, in those roles, I’ve noticed some best practices that, ya know, employees and people who are looking to get a job should and should not do. And, one of the best pieces of advice that I can give people is if you have to pause for one second to think if this should be on social media, don’t put it on social media. Everybody is looking at social media, potential employers, your current employer, managers when you’re calling out sick . To see if you actually are sick or if you’re pulling a “Ferris Ferris Bueller’s Day Off for those of us old enough to know what that means . And, at the Cubs came or whatever the case may be. And so, I would just tell people to always be thinking about what you want your professional history on social media to be like. Not today, but five years from now, 10 years from now, how ever long you plan on working.

LN: I think we had a conversation many years back where it went something like, oh well “but Lee I had my Facebook locked down.

NK: Yeah.

LN: And I said to ya at the time, you just got to assume that anything ya post might get out there.

NK: Right

LN: In fact, events that happened.

NK: Right

LN: Hopefully that advice was helpful.

NK: Yeah, so it was funny because I really argued you down about that. But, today, maybe it’s probably seven to 10 years later I’m in 100% agreement. I never post anything about my work. I never post anything about the day I’ve had at work. I never post anything that could be negatively construed.. By my company, by a competitor. And so, I make a conscious effort to make sure that my posts are pretty much meaningless.

LN: Yep.

NK: And don’t have anything to do with my career.

LN: But there’s also things that people should do. doesn’t see them.

NK: For sure.

LN: And you have to be careful because Facebook changes. Especially if you choose to post something publicly, I have to remember to go back and change the setting back..

NK: Sure.

LN: To be private.

NK: Yes, and the other thing Lee is, whatever platform you’re using, go back monthly and see what they might have changed. You just never know. I have put things as private and then a month or two months or three months later I go and look and it’s public.

LN: How does it make you feel.

NK: It’s like oh my gosh I did not want this public Facebook that’s why I had it private first. And that’s not to pick on any one social media.. Outlet But, they change things all the time. It’s social media, they’re trying to make things.. User friendly for all of us. And, ya know, be able to share as much information or as little as possible. But, check that. And make sure that what you want out there for the public is out there for the public and what you don’t is not.

LN: Another thing too that you might want to do as well is you can lock yourself down so that people can’t find you. I recommend that people have their children use sudo names if they’re going to be on Facebook.

NK: Right so their real names aren’t out there. Because, the stuff gets archived. There’s websites like PeekYou that find ways of seeing your stuff..

NK: Yeah

LN: And can get your archives that you think are locked down.

NK: Yeah. And one other thing I think is very beneficial to people that are searching for employment is that you make your profiles completely private when you’re searching for a job.

LN: And, don’t use a Email name that sounds sexualized.

NK: Yes.

LN: I mean, honestly.

NK: Sexy kitten 1995 is probably not going to get you that job. But just be mindful that, and I have done this before as an employer I’ve gone to social media to see what people’s presence has been to determine if there was anything there that would keep me for key positions and roles that I hire for keep me from wanting to hire that person.

LN: So, the dates and times of your posts matter to. If you’ve got regular posts on social media that don’t somehow tie into your work there’s a problem. Now sometimes you got to post stuff on LinkedIn..

NK: Right.

LN: To help market..

NK: Yes.

LN: Your firm and their mission. And that’s one thing but just, ya know, ask those questions and think about does this show that I’m a diligent worker if I’m commenting and Tweeting..

NK: All day

LN: All day on entertainment websites..

NK: Right.

LN: And things that don’t relate to your position.

NK: Right. And one thing that I have said I’ve never heard anyone else say this so I’m going to go ahead and say that it’s my quote. Facebook is not LinkedIn and LinkedIn is not Facebook. If the profiles of the people that you have on both of those match you’re doing something wrong . Where LinkedIn is for your professional, ya know, world and Facebook isn’t. And, there are some people I’m Facebook friends with who have sent me LinkedIn in requests that I’m not connected to because that’s not the way I want to be connected to those people. And, you absolutely have the right to do that because it’s your social media

LN: Yeah, and unfortunately, the people you connect to you can be judged against who your friends are. And, that’s always a dilemma because we can’t control our family all the time. All we can do is drop them .

NK: I’ve had to do that a couple times.

LN: But, ya know, it’s unfortunate sometimes when extended family or people that you might not be checkin’ in with post things in their profile inappropriate pictures or whatnot.

NK: Right.

LN: That could potentially reflect adversarially on you. And the thing is, if you’re interviewing me for a job you’re doing the digging you’re not telling me what you’re looking at are ya.

NK: Of course not.

LN: But you’re looking to see is this going to be a problem for me if I hire this person.

NK: Right. And I’ll give a quick example of, ya know, something that was problematic for me when I was doing research. I did see that someone I was potentially hiring had a person on their friend list that was making racists and sexist comments.

LN: And, I think everyone out there has a friend like that. Which is exactly why you should be locking down and hiding your friends so people can’t..

NK: Right.

LN: Find out.

NK: Yeah so, if you go and search me right now you won’t see much and you certainly won’t see my friend list. But, the other side of that is, ya know, if I have people on my page that are making those types of remarks, guess what, they’re gone. I don’t care if it’s my mother, I don’t care who it is. Because, that is not any type of social media conversation that I want had on my page nor do I want to be a part of it.

LN: Well, thanks so much for being on this show Nicole. It’s been great having you.

NK: Thanks for having me Lee!

To learn about the policy for social media for the U.S. Office of Personnel Management click on the link below.

https://www.opm.gov/news/social-media-presence/social-media-policy.pdf

Check out this story from the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) This article provides an overview of the use of social media by employers and their employees.

https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/tools-and-samples/toolkits/pages/managingsocialmedia.aspx

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