Reputation is an important factor for any online business. One of the hardest task for any online enterprise is developing trust, especially if you are asking for credit card details with the promise of delivery via snail mail. If a potential shopper feels there is a risk to their personal data, they will not stay and shop. If you have a reputation for poor quality, poor service, and poor communication, shoppers will also turn away. The question many business owners now face is whether or not an employers personal social media activities impact on their business. Reputation management includes working hard on preventative measures first, and that includes vetting employers.
There was a rather interesting (perhaps disturbing) article on the Washington Post that reported on a new trend that is growing slowly though human resource departments – the close vetting of job applicants through online channels. Checking an applicant is not new – employers have done it for centuries. What is new is the request (or demand) for access to social media profiles. In some cases, the request is not just for access, but for passwords as well. I can perhaps understand an employer wanting access to an employer’s social media account, however, I am not to sure the same holds true for a job applicant.
At what point does an individuals private life become the domain of an employer? If you have a business, would you want access to your employer’s social media account? Individuals can bring a business into disrepute in a number of ways, the most common being badmouthing an employer online. Other examples include being involved in tasteless activities, although some would argue that this only effects a business if the business is someway linked to that profile. Most social media profiles don’t include actual employers.
It’s an interesting argument – individual privacy versus a business’s right to know. A business spends a lot of time and money developing a good reputation. Does that entitle them to invade someone’s privacy to protect that reputation? How far would you go to protect your business’s reputation?