Employers To Monitor Social Media More

Those evil bosses are at it again: more employers plan to begin or increase their monitoring of employees’ social media use and other personal data over the next decade, according to a new report by PricewaterhouseCoopers — and unsurprisingly, most employees are not exactly pleased with the idea, although Millennials are slightly more receptive to the idea.

PwC surveyed 500 human resources executives and 10,000 workers from around the world, and found that while the HR types predict more social media surveillance and collecting of employees’ personal data, only around a third of younger workers, ages 18-32 said they would be happy to share personal data, including access to their social media profiles, with their employers. The number was even lower for older workers. 

Of course all this monitoring would be for the employees’ own good, according to the HR execs, as it allows bosses to figure out how to motivate employees and reduce turnover. But while this information sharing would supposedly be strictly voluntary, it’s easy to imagine it quickly becoming a condition of employment that all applicants must accede to “voluntarily” — and therefore actually coercive.

Indeed, the way PwC presents the idea is frankly kind of Orwellian in that terrifying corporate kind of way: “The data profiling that drives customer management will increasingly be replicated among employees as screening and monitoring move to a new level. Sensors check their location, performance and health. The monitoring may even stretch into their private lives in an extension of today’s drug tests. Periodic health screening gives way to real-time monitoring of health, with proactive health guidance and treatment to enable staff to perform more efficiently, reduce sick leave and work for more years before needing to retire… The ‘contract’ with employees is defined by the handing over of data (e.g., health, performance, possibly even private life) in return for job security.” 

Sounds great, right? Of course this presumes that whatever personal information you’re handing over is in no way incriminating or damaging, and won’t result in you getting unceremoniously canned because, say, there’s too much gluten in your pot brownies.

Back in May I wrote about a survey by YouGov which found that 41% of Americans surveyed said they think companies should be able to discipline employees for their social media activities, versus 32% who say they should not be allowed to. Interestingly, college graduates were more likely to agree that companies should be allowed to discipline employees for social media activity, at 51%, compared to just 38% of people with a high school education.

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