Approximately 1 in 9 (11%) of workers (with internet access) under the age of 35 have posted derogatory or negative comments about their boss or employer, online research conducted on behalf of Croner has found.
With the growth in the popularity of social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, it seems many workers are beginning to mix work with their social life. In fact, 77% of 25-34 year olds say they are using sites such as Bebo and Facebook to keep in contact with colleagues. This compares to 42% of 45 to 54 year olds and only 23% of over 55s. Liz Iles, Employment Consultant at Croner, agrees: “It’s clear that people want to use social networking sites not only to connect with friends, but to extend this network to their colleagues and even their bosses. This suggests people’s attitudes towards their social and work lives are beginning to blur.”
It seems the risks associated with mixing social networking sites and working life can be manifold. In one case last year, a woman was sacked when she posted a comment how much she hated her job, and complained about her boss, calling him ‘pervy’. Unfortunately, she forgot she had added her boss as a Facebook friend. And despite Iles saying that the personal nature of Facebook posts "made outside working hours and only viewable by a group of friends" makes it often "difficult to take discuiplinary action", in this case, dismissal swiftly followed.
Despite the negative publicity that stories like this have attracted, 15% of workers say they are connected with their line manager or direct boss through social networking sites. Companies are also being advised to draw up clear regulations surrounding the use of social networking sites within their firms. Iles continues: "It is really important for employers to have a clearly-worded policy informing employees what is and is not acceptable use of the internet and social networking sites."
Given that seven percent of the general public admit to having made derogatory or negative comments about their employer, colleagues or boss on these sites, it seems that some may need to think a little more before they type.