Facebook Posts Could Be a Bigger Career Killer Than You Thought

NEW YORK (MainStreet) — U.S. workers are generally aware their Facebook behavior is often public and that their employers can easily see what they post — in words and images — on the popular social networking site.

But that doesn’t mean they’re doing much to cover their tracks — or to stop posting questionable content.

That’s a problem, and one that could have a company planning a worker’s exit without them knowing.

According to Fierce, a Seattle training and development company, a representative one in three U.S. workers have either seen or know of a colleague being reprimanded for an inappropriate Facebook status update.

Even so, way too many career professionals don’t seem to know or care employers may be pointing their radar to detect employee social networking posts, even though Fierce says 40% of U.S. workers are engaging in activities online that could jeopardize their career growth. Such activities usually include gossiping or overt flirting — activities companies can relate to poor judgment and lack of personal discipline and use to block the path to the corner office for years.

The firm based its data on a recent study of 800 managers and staffers from a variety of industries, including health care, manufacturing and retail.

According to that data, even employees seem to take a dim view of social networks and Facebook in particular:

  • 53% of workers are reluctant to green-light a friend request from a manager.
  • 18% view coworkers’ sharing of personal information negatively.
  • 23% say using Facebook “negatively impacts their productivity.”
  • 51% of workers say Facebook hurts, rather than helps, workplace relationships.
  • 16% say they have “lost respect” for co-workers based on their Facebook posts.

With employees so skittish about Facebook in the workplace, should companies ban the use of the site on the premises? Not necessarily, Fierce says, although some limits should be on the table.