Managing the Facebook generation

Newsletter articles

1 Jan 2012

HR Insight Issue 14

Andrea Broughton, Principal Research Fellow

Andrea BroughtonThe world of technology evolves rapidly and it can sometimes be difficult for employers to keep pace. For example, the use of social media, including sites such as Facebook and Twitter, is now widespread among the population. Individuals can place a great deal of personal information and comment on such sites, which can lead to a blurring of private and work life; remarks about colleagues or their employer, or photographs, can be difficult to delete once posted. While most would agree that employers should not try to control what an employee does in their spare time, boundaries need to be set around acceptable online conduct in relation to the workplace.

Putting a clear policy into place is a good way of communicating to employees where the boundaries lie, and it can usually be based on existing conduct or internet and email use policies. Although individual employers should decide what is right for them, a good basis is the principle “don’t do anything online that you wouldn’t do offline”.

IES researched a full report, Workplaces and Social Networking: The Implications for Employment Relations, for the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas), which is available from the IES website.

IES is also contributing to a series of seminars run by Eversheds on the subject of managing the use of social networking sites. Seven seminars will be held across the country between 17 January and 1 March 2012.