Are You 'Friending' Co-Workers? Friend Wisely

Avoid situations that could compromise staff chemistry and member service levels.

July 17, 2013
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Just because you can “friend” coworkers on Facebook doesn’t mean you should.

Many people use Facebook, Twitter, and other informal forums to build their personal brand, forge business relationships, and search for business leads.

But too often, people fail to weigh the negatives before confirming a colleague’s friend request or extending an invite to a co-worker.

Some people prefer a barrier between one’s personal and work life. Others don’t.

Gen Y in particular is wired to connect—about 70% approve of friending office mates, according to a survey.subscribefrontline

Consider these “friending” guidelines. They’ll lessen the chance of uncomfortable situations that could affect the level of service you provide members.

Don’t friend your boss—or your staff. Even for model employees, one errant post might compromise your job options
or leadership capability.

Create a personal page—or at least compartmentalize. If you’re the inclusive sort, consider setting up a “professional” page under your work email and routing coworkers there.

Or at minimum, properly categorize co-workers so they can’t easily access your most personal posts.

Review your security settings. Always choose the strictest controls. Don’t forget to require your approval on photos when friends tag you.

Post wisely. Avoid the ever-present temptation to rant and rave on your cybersoapbox. Treat every post as something you’d be OK broadcasting on TV.

Select appropriate photos. As the visual impression attached to every comment you make, your profile picture speaks more than 1,000 words. And don’t underestimate your cover photo as a tone-setter.

This article appeared in the July 2013 issue of Credit Union Front Line Newsletter.

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Great article! Unfortunately, most employees don’t feel valued or appreciated by their supervisors or employers. In fact, research has shown that the predominant reason team members quit their jobs is because they don’t feel valued. This is in spite of the fact that employee recognition programs have proliferated in the workplace – over 90% of all organizations in the U.S. has some form of employee recognition activities in place. But most employee recognition programs are viewed with skepticism and cynicism – because they aren’t viewed as being genuine in their communication of appreciation. Getting the “employee of the month” award, receiving a certificate of recognition, or a “Way to go, team!” email just don’t get the job done. How do you communicate authentic appreciation? We have found people have different ways that they want to be shown appreciation, and if you don’t communicate in the language of appreciation important to them, you essentially “miss the mark”. Additionally, employees need to receive recognition more than once a year at their performance review. Otherwise, they view the praise as “going through the motions”. A third component of authentic appreciation is that the communication has to be about them personally – not the department, not their group, but something they did. Finally, they have to believe that you mean what you say. How you treat them has to match the words you use. If you are not sure how your team members want to be shown appreciation, the Motivating By Appreciation Inventory ( will identify the language of appreciation and specific actions preferred by each employee. You then can create a group profile for your team, so everyone knows how to encourage one another. Remember, employees want to know that they are valued for what they contribute to the success of the organization. And communicating authentic appreciation in the ways they desire it can make the difference between keeping your quality team members or having a negative work environment that everyone wants to leave. Paul White, Ph.D., is the co-author of The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace with Dr. Gary Chapman.

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