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Should I ‘friend’ my employees?

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in Business Etiquette,Workplace Communication

Research has begun about social media in the workplace with mixed findings.

For you, the question is: Should I “friend” my employees on Facebook?

Downside: People feel awkward about asymmetrical relationships, whether it’s with their parents or leaders, according to a study from Wharton called “OMG My Boss Just Friended Me.” In another study, only 15% to 30% of employees feel comfortable with the idea, least of all female employees with male supervisors.

Upside: It’s important to feel connection at work. And the likelihood is that within a decade, the walls between personal and professional will come down and we’ll be connected to everyone all the time. If you decide to connect, a few suggestions:

  • Either accept friend requests your subordinates send (the passive route) or send a friend request to every one of your peers and subordinates on Facebook (the fair route).
  • Don’t take it personally if your request is not accepted. They simply may want to limit their social media world to a few close friends.
  • Never post to an employee’s wall.
  • Never comment on or even “like” their posts. A “like” to one employee’s post may be interpreted as a snub by another employee who posted something you missed.
  • Limit your communications to occasional private messages congratulating them about sports, family photos or professional events.
  • It’s OK to ask an employee for help on Facebook once in a while. For social media that’s work-related, you need to put it in the employee’s job description.
  • Above all, keep your own Facebook entries public. They should reflect how you want the world to see you.

Source: The Washington Post

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