It’s no secret that employers regularly check a candidate’s social media before they hire someone. What most people tend to forget is how often managers might check social media of current employees, especially when it comes to professional platforms like LinkedIn.
Why would a manager look at your LinkedIn? There are many valid reasons why management might keep tabs on employee behavior on a platform like LinkedIn, including:
- Ensuring you’re not leaking company secrets
- Ensuring that you are being truthful online
- Checking to see if you are job hunting
- Ensuring that you aren’t embarrassing the company
In our world, social media matters more than you’d think. Here’s the truth about why bosses (and HR) tend to keep an eye on your LinkedIn.
Why Is Your Boss Looking At Your LinkedIn?
About 48% of employers keep an eye on employee’s social media, and LinkedIn is no exception. If anything, it’s the platform that corporate employers tend to be the most interested in. After all, it is a social networking platform for professionals.
Every company has its own reasons for looking at employee LinkedIn profiles. Here are some of the most common reasons why HR reps or managers might look at LinkedIn.
Protecting Company Secrets
Every company has its own secrets about the inner workings of the business, as well as things they would rather not have consumers know. Those secrets are often what make or break a company’s ability to make a profit, which is why they are fiercely guarded.
In many companies, publicly posting company knowledge is grounds for a lawsuit, write-ups, or termination. For companies that are particularly reliant on sensitive information, keeping an eye on employee information is a no-brainer.
If you have access to sensitive information or company secrets, this could be one of the main reasons why your boss monitors your LinkedIn.
Honesty is important when it comes to your reputation, and sometimes, employees aren’t always honest. In the past, employees have lied to make themselves look better to potential employers or to make employers look worse.
If an employee lies about any of these things, it could be a good reason for an employer to step in:
- Job Title. Imagine lying and saying you owned a major company like Netflix, but only worked there as customer support. This kind of lie can take away from a company’s reputation, which is why many companies will monitor social media.
- Company Practices. A lie about a company’s practices can easily turn into a criminal investigation or a lawsuit. It would be foolish not to keep abreast of what employees are saying about you.
- Gossip. On a similar note, lying about an employee can be a serious issue for HR to tackle. If your managers believe that you’re up to this, they may check your LinkedIn to see what’s truly going on.
Potential Employee Loss
Let’s say that you’ve been glum at work lately. You seemed to lose interest in your work ethic, and people in management are starting to notice. Even getting written up doesn’t seem to faze you. At this point, some managers may wonder if you’re looking for another job.
A sudden resignation from a key employee can become a serious issue for companies. It can interrupt workflow or even make it impossible for a company to function. That’s why many managers start to investigate any reason to believe a key employee could resign.
LinkedIn can provide a lot of clues when it comes to an employee’s job search, which, in turn, can give them the information they need to start searching for a replacement for your position.
Company Reputation Defense
A company’s online presence is reflected by the online presence of their employees. Companies don’t want to be known for hiring people who act like trainwrecks online, nor do they want to be known for hiring employees tied to controversy.
Your boss might want to know what’s going on if you are tied to any of the following issues on LinkedIn:
- Inappropriate Posts. Are your LinkedIn posts more like dating profile posts? Are they long, angry rants? Are they filled with profanity or aggressive speech? This can be a reason for a manager to investigate.
- Discrimination. Posts encouraging discrimination of any sort is a major no-no on LinkedIn and can be grounds for getting immediately fired in many companies.
- Criminal Activity. If you have posts linking you to criminal activity, there probably isn’t a company in existence that wouldn’t look at your profile.
Some companies, especially large corporations, will monitor their employees’ online behavior on LinkedIn as a way to keep their company’s reputation guarded. Many more will look at employee profiles if they get complaints from others. Either way, it’s something to keep in mind.
Why Most Employees Shouldn’t Worry
Having your boss scan your LinkedIn can be intimidating, especially if you don’t know why they decided to start looking at your profile. Being worried is only natural, though it might not really be logical in most peoples’ cases.
We all know that LinkedIn is meant to be a platform for professional matters, not personal ones. Most of us, therefore, know not to post content that would look less-than-flattering on there. As long as you haven’t been foolish online, you probably don’t have anything to worry about.
When To Worry About Your LinkedIn
Though most employer snooping isn’t cause for concern, there are times when you should start to get concerned. If any of these things ring true, you should fix your profile and brace yourself for an uncomfortable conversation with your boss:
- You broke your company’s social media policy, lied about your job, or let loose company secrets. Almost every major company has its own social media policy and has a policy against sharing company information. If you broke the rules, chances are that you’ll face some sort of penalization.
- Your company wrote you up over social media use. Your boss may be debating your future in your company if they keep referring to your profile.
- A recent post from your company advertised your position as open. This is often a sign that they may try to replace you in the future and just wanted to see your LinkedIn as a reference for qualifications.
- You recently were involved in a scandal. Whether it’s a criminal, legal, financial, or personal scandal doesn’t matter. What matters is that your employer may start to wonder if your reputation is too soiled for your position and may look at your LinkedIn to think things through.
- You openly complained about your job on LinkedIn. This is a wonderful way to get fired fast.
How To Handle Your Boss Looking At Your LinkedIn
In most cases, there’s not much you can do to prevent your employer from looking at your LinkedIn. Assuming that you didn’t do anything wrong, it’s best to take it in stride and accept that it’s probably just a matter of company policy.
If you made a bad post or did something else, the best way to handle your managers’ new interest in your LinkedIn is to fix your profile, delete negative posts, and try to brush any issues under the rug as soon as possible.
Take this moment as a learning experience about modern work culture. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure when it comes to social media. If you aren’t sure what you should post, asking your manager or a professional for help might be the best way to save your career.