Finance News & Insights

Should you really post that? Social networking and Finance

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Almost every employee has some sort of social networking account these days, whether it’s Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or another one. But can one ill-advised post derail a career? You bet.

Take the recent example of the news reporter who posted details about her job on her personal blog. She disclosed everything from the fact that sometimes she doesn’t wear a bra on camera to she naps in the news van to her irrational fear of old people.

And that got her fired.

You want to feel confident your finance staffers know better than to post such information, even on a personal account. (And that none of them are sleeping on the job.)

Some staffers being smart

The good news is, most people are exercising some good judgment in this area. Check out these stats from the National Business Ethics Survey of Social Networkers:

  • 79% of employees with an account on at least one social network consider how their employer would react before posting something work-related on a personal social networking site.
  • 64% consider how their employer would react to personal information posted to a personal site, while
  • 26% believe it is acceptable to post about their job even if they don’t identify their employer.

Hopefully your finance staffers are among those who think before they post, even when they’re not on the clock, or a company-owned device.

Still, there are plenty of folks out there who might damage not only their own careers but Finance’s or the company’s reputation.

So how do you save staffers from themselves?

4 strategies that keep everyone safe

Granted, firing the reporter is considered a fairly extreme reaction. But even if no one loses his or her job over a tweet or a post, plenty of damage can still be done.

Which is why this is an issue that has to be actively addressed in all companies.

There are several strategies that can protect everyone’s best interests in the world of social media. Embracing as many as you can keep headaches to a minimum all around:

  1. Have a clearly defined social media policy. More and more companies are getting these down in writing now. That’s a good start. But be aware, understandably, most only address things like whether or not employees can be on it during work hours or using work technology. You will need to go further. Note: You want to update this as different types of social media crop up.
  2. Open the conversation. You can’t really “train” your staffers on what they can and can’t post, since so much of it is subjective. (Not to mention freedom of speech.) And different companies will have different tolerance levels. But you can certainly raise the issue within your Finance department to raise awareness. It’s more about making sure staffers ask those questions from the survey above to make sure what they’re saying online – even on personal sites – doesn’t reflect badly on them or your company.

Learn by example. Yes, every person will have a different threshold of appropriateness. But everyone’s seen posts that make them cringe. Why not try this little exercise: Have staffers pull a couple of posts they’ve seen on their social media sites they’d consider something their employer might take issue with. Urge them to steer clear of the obvious “I’m so drunk I can’t even stand up!” messages. Instead you want them to become aware of those grey areas that could land them in hot water.

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