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How Posting on Social Media Jeopardizes Careers

By: George Waggott, founder, and Roberto Fonseca-Velazquez, summer law student,

George Waggott Law


Numerous recent media articles have explored the issues raised by the integration of workers’ professional lives with their social media presence. The article explores the potential negative repercussions of social media activity for professionals and suggests methods for employers and employees to mitigate the risk of social media posts harming employees’ careers.


Employer Screening Practices

A survey by Express Employment Professionals revealed that 86% of Canadian employers might fire employees for inappropriate social media posts, including content damaging the company's reputation or divulging confidential information. Moreover, 65% of companies use social media to screen job applicants, with 41% saying that they have found disqualifying content.


Navigating Social Media Presence

Martin Waxman, a digital media expert, emphasizes the importance of aligning social media use with personal and professional goals. He advises professionals to create valuable content and carefully manage public interactions, especially on polarizing topics. Waxman also warns against relying solely on generative AI for content creation, recommending that individuals add their personal touch to AI-generated posts.


Precision in Communication

Lisa Bragg, author of "Bragging Rights: How to Talk about Your Work Using Purposeful Self-Promotion," has stressed the need for precision in online communication. A minor error, she says, can attract significant negative attention. Bragg advises professionals to use various platforms to express their expertise strategically, ensuring their communication enhances visibility without compromising their personal or professional integrity.


Executives on Social Media

Executives are often expected by their firms to engage on social media as part of their role. However, this does not eliminate the need for these individuals to articulate their posts in a nuanced and balanced way so as to avoid drawing negative attention to their company and themselves. Bragg suggests that leaders consider the following:


  • Align posts with personal beliefs and organizational values.

  • Ensure consistency and avoid alienating any part of the workforce.

  • Consider whether speaking on a given issue would be constructive or merely add to the noise.

  • Listen and create space for dialogue, even when it’s challenging.


Policies on Generative AI

Waxman advocates for clear policies on the use of generative AI within organizations. Employees should use company-approved AI tools with data protection features, and policies should define acceptable AI usage in the workplace. These guidelines should be straightforward, regularly communicated, and embedded in the company culture.


Conclusion

Professionals must navigate the complexities of social media with a strategic approach, balancing authenticity with awareness of potential consequences. Organizations play a crucial role in guiding digital behaviour through clear policies, ensuring that both employees and employers can benefit from the opportunities presented by social media and AI.

For more information about George Waggott Law, please see: www.georgewaggott.com, or contact: george@georgewaggott.com

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