• 35% of UK employees surveyed said they would accept some work colleagues as ‘friends’ on Facebook, but NOT their managers.
  • 15% wouldn’t accept ANY work colleagues as ‘friends’ on Facebook.
  • Those working in the finance sector are the most likely to be judgemental of what they find on social media about an interviewee or interviewer – with almost 20% saying what they’d found had affected their judgement of that person.

A new study into the blurring lines of personal and professional social media use has found that 35% of employees in the UK wouldn’t accept their managers as ‘friends’ on Facebook.

The research also found that 39% of employees have read and follow their company’s social media policy – but a further 18% didn’t even know if their company had a social media policy, potentially opening that company up to risk.

Encouragingly, 25% said they would think carefully before posting content or pictures on social media about how it could affect theirs or someone else’s professional reputation.

The study – which breaks down by sector – found that Marketing & Advertising employees, unsurprisingly, are the most social media savvy, with 36% checking their social media accounts before applying a job to make sure they’re portraying a professional image and 23% happy to promote their company through their personal social media accounts.

Property companies are most open to reputational risk from their employees posting something on social media as 31% said their company didn’t have a social media policy.

Employees working in the Travel, Transport & Leisure sector are most averse to allowing their personal and professional online lives to cross over – with 45% saying they wouldn’t accept managers on Facebook, 16% admitting they’ve read their company’s social media policy but don’t follow it, and only 6% saying they’d be happy to promote their company through their personal social media accounts.

The research follows a number of high-profile cases where employees have posted offensive, defamatory or ill-judged content from their personal social media account – thrusting their employer into the spotlight in the process.

Cases like these emphasise the importance of a company social media policy which reduces the risk posed to a company’s reputation by their employees.

This guide to Protecting Your Company From Employee Risk outlines the practical steps companies can take to improve internal security and communications to avoid a potentially devastating reputation risk from employees.

The survey took place in October 2015 and it was conducted of over 1,000 employees across eight sectors working in the UK. The survey was commissioned by Igniyte and carried out by The Leadership Factor.

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