Pro: In today’s digital age, social media is as much a part of a person’s resume as their work experience. What you upload onto Twitter, Instagram and Facebook can be seen by anyone. Even a private site is not safe from screenshots and other methods of sharing. According to careerbuilder.com, 70 percent of employers check the social media of their employees or potential hires.
One reason that employers check these sites is not to invade your privacy, but to make sure they are hiring quality, hard-working people who will represent the company well. So, companies have every right to hire and fire based on their employees social media presence.
In the past months, many large public organizations have chosen to terminate employees based on their social media. For example, employees in a naval hospital in Florida were fired over disturbing images posted on Snapchat. One nurse posted a photo of another nurse holding a newborn baby in an unsupported way, holding it under its arms, and mocking the baby. Another nurse posted an image on Snapchat with her middle finger up toward the newborn and a caption that read, “How I feel about these mini-Satans.”
In this case, social media assisted the hospital in finding out how disrespectful and neglectful the nurses were. Those in power at the hospital would have been irresponsible to have this information about employees and not act on it. Social media not only tells the company who you are outside of work, but also business partners and others within the company. Because social media aided in removing the employees, it may have saved many newborns in this hospital from more neglectful employees.
Not all posts on social media may be this pertinent to an employee’s work and provide proof that the employee is not doing their job in the most upstanding way. Some posts may simply be a representation of character.
Despite your having a to right to freedom of speech and to post what you want, a business still has the right to monitor how its employees represent the organization’s brand. Business dealings and partnerships rely on the ability to trust employees as professionals. And if your presence on social media does not represent that, employers have the right to be skeptical. For example, pictures of illegal substances, complaints about your job, or other things that can reflect poorly on you as a person should be kept off of social media. If you do not want your grandmother to see it, you definitely should not want your employer to get hold of it.
Social media especially plays an important role for public figures. Many celebrities, bloggers and big business professionals have a significant social media presence and may use their pages to promote brands and advertise. Stars such as the Kardashians, who have millions of followers, post on their Instagram, to promote company brands that sponsor them. If the Kardashians were to post something inappropriate, that could cause followers to look down on the brands they promote. When you use such platforms for business purposes, your social media account is equivalent to the company Web page and can be seen by all stakeholder groups.
Along the same lines, ESPN’s Jemele Hill caused controversy over a tweet that called Donald Trump a white supremacist. Although she has the right to her speech, the tweet backfired. Trump called for her to be fired and as a result, there was talk of her being fired from her SportsCenter show. The tweets caused controversy that involved her work because she is such a widely known public figure in the world of sports. Her words reflected poorly on her company as well, possibly causing a decline in viewers who did not agree with her viewpoint.
Overall, companies have the right to monitor their employees and the way that they represent their businesses. An inappropriate social media presence not only shows employers your bad side, but also could impact the company as a whole in a negative way.
Despite the potential pitfalls, social media can actually benefit your work life as well. Keeping a clean profile can impress employers and cause them to want to hire you over competitors who may have more inappropriate images or posts. Using social media can be beneficial when you go about it in the right way.