Social Media in the Workplace

Social Media in the workplace is a sticky wicket. We have a Facebook social page at work that is designed to give the employee access to events, exercises and contacts with others on the team. The plan was to have a place to share ideas and even give the family members a chance to get to know each other. “Team based organizing requires collaboration and cooperation, so systems must reinforce teamwork” (Beyerlein, 2013). This was the plan. Unfortunately, things that most of us would deem inappropriate to post on a site where your boss has access, are apparently fair game for others.

When you are in the military and you post a picture where you are at a party with subordinates participating in behavior that is outside the scope of your duties, problems will ensue as they did for a member of my section. He was disciplined for fraternization and warned that any further off duty contact with said individual would come at a steep price. Did he think that Facebook photos would be immune to scrutiny?

Another down side of social media in the work place is the time it takes away from “real” work. While it can be a helpful tool in reaching out to partners in business, more often than not (in my work place anyway), it is a excuse to post pictures and sometime post information that could handicap our teams mission effectiveness even if unintentionally.

There is always the real danger of releasing more information than you may have intended. We have even had to address comments made by our Deputy Commanders wife after her husband was passed over for a promotion. It is difficult if not impossible to manage the emotions of family members who may be frustrated for their loved one and who might only be getting half of the story. “Because of the fast-changing environment, companies utilizing TBO must create continuous links to the environment” (Beyerlein, 2013).

If social media is to be used in the workplace as a tool, restrictions and policies should be in place prior to opening the possible floodgates that could lead to disputes and potential legal actions.