Certainly, the emerging legal issues surrounding the use of Social Media on the job for work, or personal use (and even the “private” postings that employers may be monitoring…) provides ample room for discussion. We’ve seen a good deal about carefully crafting social media guidelines rather than wholesale bans of social media at work. I alsorecently read a nice look at recent defamation litigation as it relates to social networks in Social media – no knee jerks needed.
Today, however, it was with great interest I read this article in Forbes: Employees Can’t Be Fired for Facebook Complaints. This legal grey area, in which online employees interactions are possible grounds for termination, is one we should all watch closely. Only probably not in the way you think. Certainly, it is important to be aware of employer rights with regards to terms of employment. However I would also say that employee sentiment proffered publicly online provides an opportunity for employers who chose to go beyond keeping an eye out for bad seeds or to identify those staff members who may need a bit of coaching on presenting a public persona consistent with their (and their empoyer’s) professional objectives.
I believe that all this discussion offers a way for employers to evaluate how they stack up to the competition in terms of employee satisfaction. Certainly, one might not be anxious to keep employees satisfied who are not able to express dissatisfaction constructively. However even in the ill-voiced concerns, there might be certain areas in which an employeer can glean insights in how to improve their employee experience, with the objective of retaining the employees they do want to keep. And as we see more and more digital natives enter the workforce, providing them with outlets to voice concerns and discuss them publicly will go a long way in attracting and retaining them.