There are a ton of challenges that come hand-in-hand with employing a team of staff…

  • Ensuring that productivity is high and that you’re getting a good return on your staffing investment
  • Keeping up to date with performance reviews
  • Staying on the right side of employment legislation
  • And the tricky question of whether you should accept that friend request that you just received on Facebook from your team member.......

Granted, in the grand scheme of things, this is hardly the kind of challenge that should keep you awake at night. But as we move into a heavily digital era that relies more and more on technology to connect and communicate, it’s a day-to-day issue that a lot of leaders are likely to face at some point or another.

There's Currently No Legal Precedent
First of all, it’s worth noting that there are no hard and fast rules here. There are no laws that exist that tell you that you can’t have your staff on your friends list, and there are none that say that you should welcome them into your digital world with open arms.

It's A Leadership Decision Only You Can Make
For every leader that tells you that it’s a bad idea that you should definitely avoid at all costs, for a whole host of legitimate reasons, there’s another that has done the opposite very successfully, and will tell you why that it’s an approach that you should take too. Ultimately, the decision comes down to you. Your business. Your friend list. Your rules.

But there are a few important considerations to think through…

Seeing Their Personal Information On Facebook Could Complicate Disciplinary Proceedings

When you’re connected with an employee on social media, you’re likely to find out more about them. How they like to spend their weekends. What they eat for dinner. And possibly even more contentious factors such as their religious beliefs and political affiliations. If problems occur further down the line at work, and they’re dealt with in accordance with disciplinary proceedings, then there’s a chance that it could be claimed that it was because of the information shared on Facebook.

You Could Be Accused of Favouring Some Employees Over Others

If you’re friends with certain employees and not others, this could lead to accusations of favouritism. Equally, you can’t force your staff to be connected with you outside of work, and there are probably people on your team who can think of nothing worse than receiving a friend request from you. If they prefer to keep their personal lives private, then you’ve put them in a very awkward situation.

Never Use A Social Platform To Communicate About Work-Related Matters

Respect your employees’ spare time, don’t blur the lines between work and play, and keep the confidentiality of office issues in mind.


For help on leadership, employee relations or any other HR issue, get in touch today for a no-obligation chat about your HR needs. Call us on 0203 627 7048 or drop us a line at hello@thehrhub.co.uk

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