Careful, big boss is watching

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June 12th, 2012 M Saraswathy

Anita Goel, a 35-year-old BFSI sector employee used to put up all her weekend party pictures on her Facebook and Google+ profile on a regular basis. Most of the pictures were the ‘fun’ kind and were taken when she was down a peg or two. However, she stopped all the uploading once she found out that bosses from office were checking her FB profile. She is more careful since, and puts up very selective pictures.

This is not because her boss is on her friends’ list, but because her company has begun checking social networking profiles of employees regularly for the past few months. Goel is furious with her company for the intrusion, but there is little she can do. She is happy with her organisation and her work, so she doesn’t create a fuss about this clause enforced by her company.

Hers is not the only company doing it. There are several others who have started taking the social networking activities of their employees seriously. In fact, some have even been keeping it in their records for possible future use. The HR head of a top wealth management firm in India explains that the employees’ social media updates and photos are constantly monitored to keep a tab on their post office activities. “The company image is at stake. Even though we do it discreetly, most employees are aware about the process. So I don’t think that should be problem,” he says.

Companies justify this step by explaining that it is better to be safe than sorry. They use the information available on these sites to expose particular employee behaviour, especially issues like substance abuse and other delinquent cases. Appropriate action is taken against these employees at the right time. Being a popular concept in the west, this is finding wide acceptance among Indian companies. And specific agencies dealing with employee background verification are the ones helping companies in their efforts.

Does this sound the alarm bell for employees? Not yet, claim HR experts. They say that companies only look out for exceptionally delinquent behaviour. Harmless office jokes and bad-mouthing the boss behind his/her back on social networking sites is often not taken seriously, though it is a bad idea to expose him/her to this information, say consultants. Even if one doesn’t add the boss to his friends’ list, there are always those few boss’s pets who are mostly added to one’s network and pass on this information on a regular basis.

At this juncture, the safest option would be to play it safe on the internet. You may want to share your drunken picture with the world, but not at the cost of your job. Because here, the Big Boss is carefully watching your move.

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2 Responses to “Careful, big boss is watching”

  1. Saraswathy Says:

    Unfortunately, there are agencies who work on gathering such information. So, you can technically still be caught as they can access profiles. But do not worry, as companies usually take the consent of employees unofficially for such checks. News of such checks spreads very quickly in office space, so you will come to know of it as and when it is done by the company.

  2. Ajit Says:

    If I havent added any office colleagues to my friend’s lists, can they still access the photos and statuses I have uploaded if I have set my privacy settings for strangers as not visible?

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