It was not that many years ago that social media was a strange and unheard of concept for many. The phenomenal success of Facebook, and later Twitter and LinkedIn to name but a few made our working environment a truly socially interactive place to work. With employees connecting to each other on Facebook and following each other on Twitter management found themselves in an increasing awkward situation that has done little to die down.
The question many Managing Directors, Senior Management and Team Leaders face is thus; Should people in areas of responsibility be connected to their staff on social media sites? It doesn’t take long to have a quick browse on the search engine of your choice to find numerous stories of being connected to their boss ending up costing people their jobs. From forgetting they are connected and then putting derogative remarks on their Facebook page about the management and company to posting drunken photos taken when they were supposed to be at home ’ill’!
However this is not to say that you shouldn’t connect with your staff but before you do make sure you have a clear social media guideline in the employee handbook and contact. Many managers and MD’s still want to feel part of the team and they can do this by connecting to their employees on a personal level outside of the work environment. Social media offers the perfect way of doing this but the pitfalls remain numerous. If you haven’t got a clear social media strategy and you do connect to your staff you might find yourself in a tricky situation of discovering a few home truths but not having any clearly defined grievance process to counter the issue.
Is there a clear right or wrong answer to the question posed? Probably not however it is up to each individual to decide if they feel the benefit of having a closer bond with their staff out ways the risks involved. Would you connect to your manager of MD or stay as far away from them in the world of Social Media?