A new survey conducted by Millennial Branding discovered that members of Generation Y, who are between the ages of 18 and 29, have an average of 16 work-related friends on the social media website Facebook. This could greatly affect their careers, as many do not see any negative implication of speaking their minds about their jobs on the site.
“Gen-Y needs to be aware that what they publish online can come back to haunt them in the workplace,” said Dan Schawbel, founder of Millennial Branding. “Gen-Y managers and co-workers have insight into their social lives, which could create an awkward workplace setting or even result in a termination.”
This is especially pertinent because many employers have boosted their employee monitoring procedures along with keeping an eye on various social media sites. They do this not only to observe existing workers, but also prospective employees.
The study also showed that 64 percent of Generation Y members do not list their employer on Facebook in fear that their boss will locate them. However, if they are friends with co-workers, it could compromise their online anonymity. The authors of the study believe that it isn’t the ignorance of the employees, but rather that this issue has never been dealt with before. Therefore, many are unaware of what to do on these social media sites when it comes to employers and work-related friends.
According to MSNBC, a poll was recently conducted by Society for Human Resource Management to identify how many employers are monitoring what their employees are doing while on their computer or phone.
Though the report has yet to be released, Jennifer Hughes, a spokeswoman for the group, told the news source that “39 percent of surveyed employers monitor the social media activities of employees while they are using company-owned computers or handheld devices.” She added, “40 percent of organizations said they had social media policies. Of those organizations with social media policies, 33 percent indicated they had taken disciplinary action against employees who violated their policy in the last 12 months.”
It is safe to say that if a Generation Y employee is surfing the web on a company-owned computer or texting their friends on a phone that their boss pays for, they may want to ensure everything they send is appropriate. The same goes for their personal Facebook pages.