Facebook: are you friends with your boss?

We like to build relationships with our candidates. LinkedIn is our preferred social media platform, but the ‘Facebook friends’ subject comes up a lot. Social media allows us to build friendships with colleagues and connect with the people we see everyday on a more personal level. There are, of course, both advantages and disadvantages so let’s take a look at Facebook friendships with co-workers, bosses and employees.

Managers and employees as Facebook friends

So, should you be friends with your boss on Facebook? This delicate question depends on a number of factors. Research says that when the boss sends the request, employees equated the boss with their parents. They had the same dilemma over whether to add them as ‘friends’ or not. Being Facebook friends with your co-workers isn’t for everyone. Some managers are only comfortable connecting with other staff on the same tier in the company hierarchy. Others prefer not to have colleagues as Facebook friends at all. If you’re in a managerial position and both you and your employees are open to it, connecting with your co-workers can strengthen working relationships. The added insight can create a tighter-knit and more effective team, when used appropriately. Consider structuring incentives around what makes your employees tick. This will make your staff happier, and ultimately make your job a whole lot easier. It can break the traditional ‘them-versus-us’ culture, too.

An employee/employer Facebook friendship requires a certain level of respect and openness on both parts. If both parties agree and they connect, each should pay careful attention to their Facebook activity. Put simply;

Employees

  • Don’t let friendships get in the way of your professional relationship
  • Don’t post photos of yourself partying late Sunday night, call in sick on Monday morning and expect your boss not to know
  • Fair exchange – expect a high level of professionalism and productivity during work hours (this goes both ways)
  • Avoid using Facebook as a communication tool for work-related topics

Employers

  • Use the friendship to enhance communication and trust
  • Do not use personal information to control or manipulate employee performance
  • Develop an understanding of your team members’ skills, interests and strengths
  • Fair exchange – expect a high level of professionalism and productivity during work hours (this goes both ways)