Why You Should Not Take Your Work-Related Rants to Social Media

Posted by Guthrie-Jensen Consultants

There’s an expression that says, “A place for everything, and everything in its place.”

Although the expression is tied to kaizen, a productivity philosophy popularized by the Japanese during the 20th century, it’s also very applicable today to describe how employees may be crossing the line when they go to social media to complain about their work.

While social media is becoming a popular platform for someone to express their views, there’s the question of: “Is complaining online or on social media an acceptable practice or a fireable offense?”


The Good and the Bad of Social Media for Employees

Being on social has its pros and cons. For one, having a social media account provides an outlet for you to voice out your thoughts and ideas about random things and even not-so-random ones such as office work.

On the other hand, you can’t post anything even if it’s your personal social media account because you’re expected to demonstrate good judgment with whatever you say or do online.

While social media is an avenue for self-expression, you should NOT take your work-related rants to social media unless there’s a really good reason for it. It may be to rally your fellow workers toward a good cause or to suggest ways on how your company could improve its policies or processes.

In the United States, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) says it’s the employees’ right to collectively discuss on social a workplace issue such as unfair labor practices. Some people also use social to bring to light the kind of work culture that exists in specific industries, hoping to help make things better for employees.

You should hold back criticizing your employer, co-workers, or managers on social media, as doing so can have some serious consequences.


The Awful Effects of Complaining About Work on Social Media

Here are some of the worst things that could happen when you share work-related grievances or dissatisfaction on your Facebook wall or Twitter timeline.

1. Make yourself look bad

Employers are now using social to engage current employees or recruit new talent, so you should be careful about what you post online.

Complaining on social media can harm your chances of being hired, if you are seeking for work. Many companies review the social media accounts of candidates to see if they would be good hires. Constantly complaining about your work or your team makes you look unprofessional, which could be a red flag for potential employers, as you might come off as someone who’s not loyal or trustworthy to belong to the organization.

The general rule is for you to keep your social posts neutral so that people who come across your profile for the first time would not have any pre-conceived bias against you.

2. Damage your employer’s reputation

Talking negatively about your company on social does not help you or your employer in any way. The unfavorable comments are there for the public to see including customers, potential employees, or business partners of your company. It also doesn’t help how easy it is for someone to share anything on social media, which could blow things out of proportion.

In the long run, your complaints might only discredit your company, and what’s worse is that you might not be able to repair the damage you have caused.

3. Cause issues among workers

It’s inevitable that you’ll have some co-workers siding with you, while others might not be supporting you on your social rant. This could create undue tension and disharmony in the workplace, affecting the level of productivity, work quality, and overall morale of your team.

Salary disputes are especially a touchy subject, as it could easily spark jealousy in the office. If you have work issues to raise, you could enlist the help of your HR department to mediate in your behalf.

4. Lose your job

The sad reality is that your employer could hold it against you if you speak ill of them publicly on social media, especially when it’s causing losses in business opportunities for your company, prompting the company to protect itself from more potential problems.

Although certain rights protect you, you could still be held liable for what you say on social media, especially if there’s no evident intention that you’re doing it to bring about positive changes in the organization.


Bottom Line

When used correctly, social media can be an excellent tool for you to improve your professional image and mileage. There are many good things you could do with your social profile. You could expand your network, demonstrate your expertise, learn new things, and attract jobs or other opportunities. Don’t be a whiner who spreads negativity on social, as it does not reflect well on you or your company.

Instead of complaining on social media, it might be best to take up your complaints directly with your boss or HR. Take advantage of programs in assertiveness training to help you communicate or negotiate with your colleagues or superiors in a positive manner, which is helpful since knowing how to assert yourself could make you a better person and worker.

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