Fierce Offers Advice On How Employers, Employees Should Establish Policies On Facebook

By David Cohen 

Warnings about how Facebook and the workplace don’t mix have been commonplace, and leadership development and training experts Fierce became the latest to chime in on the subject, warning that nearly one-third of employees witnessed or know of fellow employees being reprimanded over inappropriate Facebook posts.

Fierce also found in its survey of nearly 800 executives in multiple industries that:

  • 40 percent of employees have engaged in inappropriate communication with colleagues on Facebook, such as gossiping or flirting.
  • 51.1 percent say Facebook is ineffective at enhancing work relationships, and 16.3 percent of this group noted that shared opinions cause loss of respect for co-workers.
  • 53.2 percent feel uncomfortable accepting friend requests from managers.
  • 17.9 percent are uncomfortable when co-workers share personal information.
  • 22.6 percent admit that Facebook negatively impacts their productivity.

Fierce shared three general areas of conversation that employers and employees should explore when setting policies on Facebook usage at work:

  • Friend requesting: Do employees feel comfortable being Facebook friends with managers? Should supervisors refrain from sending friend requests to employees?
  • Sharing of personal information and opinions: What is and is not appropriate to share on Facebook? Will there be repercussions for posting inappropriate photos or comments? If so, what are they? Are there policy inconsistencies between what is acceptable speech in the office and what is posted on Facebook?
  • Time spent on Facebook: What are acceptable time limits for Facebook usage each day, week, or month? Can employees be permitted free rein during breaks, at lunch, and before or after established office hours?

Fierce President and CEO Halley Bock added:

Organizations should think very, very carefully about forbidding any communication or potential team-building tools in the office, whether it be Facebook, sports fantasy leagues, or political conversations. Forward-thinking organizations should hold exploratory conversations with employees to gather diverse perspectives on using Facebook at work, then establish clear guidelines which hold employees able to access the network appropriately.

Readers: What are your thoughts about the relationship between Facebook and work?