Twenty-one percent of employees are friends with their boss on Facebook, and those who do tend to be younger or male.
That’s based a survey of 1,000 adults conducted online by Russell Herder. Surveys conducted online tend to be self-selective and that can often skew results because more technologically-inclined types tend to participate. So the real proportion of Facebook users whose bosses count among their friends on the site could be way lower.
We’re intrigued by another statistic: five percent of the survey respondents used to be friends with their bosses on Facebook, and wish the poll had asked which party had ended the friendship. The latter can have legal repercussions for an employer if the employee loses his or her job at some point.
Legal issues aside, most of those who have Facebook friendships with their bosses said that talking to them via the social network has no impact on job performance.
Even so, Russell Herder makes five recommendations for human resources departments, all things that we’ve covered before but are worth repeating:
- Draft an official social media policy;
- Define appropriate boundaries between bosses and their reports;
- Apply standards universally;
- Don’t overreact (e.g., banning all use of social networks at work, firing people for using it, and so on); and
- Consider implementing an inhouse private social network.
Carol Russell, chief executive officer, summed it all up:
Social media platforms provide both unique and complicated opportunities in a professional environment. The research emphasizes the importance of having a written social media policy, defining appropriate boundaries, and applying standards universally to all employees.