For HR professionals, “friending” employees on Facebook or connecting on other social media sites is far from a simple decision.
I posted the question “Do any of you accept friend requests on social media from employees?” to the HR Department of One group on SHRM Connect, the Society for Human Resource Management’s online community.
I was prompted to pose the question by the recent friend requests I was getting from employees at the company I work for. I’ve been building good rapport with many of them, and now they’ve been requesting me on Facebook. My gut told me it was not a good idea to accept their friend requests, but I wanted insight from fellow HR professionals.
Others said it’s better to invite those employees to connect on LinkedIn instead because that platform is more professional. Concerns about connecting on Facebook—and retaining those connections after a promotion—ranged from finding out too much information about employees to being accused of favoritism or impropriety.
Most people who commented recommended against accepting a friend request from an employee, and employment attorneys generally agree. That’s because people tend to share very personal details about themselves and others on social media, and what you see may create conflict. For example, one person wrote that an employee who was supposed to be teleworking had posted on Facebook that they were actually partying in Las Vegas.
I will not be friending the employees who requested me, and will take the advice of those who responded to my question of communicating why I will be rejecting their friend requests.
This article is based on a news release from the Society for Human Resource Management on behalf of Chelsea Wheeler.