Business etiquette, do we have any left?


In recent years, businesses have become more open and engaging to its consumers. This has created an avenue for free advertising and promotions of products and services, but it has created a sort of platform for public scrutiny of a companies employees also. If an employee acts inappropriately,this can literally ruin the companies reputation. The new business etiquette – “You are who you employ,” in a manner of speaking.

Fortune 500 CEO’s, sports figures and celebrities are constantly being placed under a public microscope and evaluated on moral conduct ,both in and out of the job.  One bad scar on your public opinion record and it can destroy you and your company.

The recent scandals of golfer Tiger Woods and actor Charlie Sheen are prime examples of this self destructive behavior. Public dismay of their actions have almost completely destroyed their careers.

Huge corporations that once paid millions of dollars for Tiger Woods to be their spokesperson,have literally ripped up contracts and Charlie Sheen was replaced on his popular television spot. Both men were highly regarded in their respected fields,on top of the world, each came crashing down in an instant because of public scrutiny.

Do not misunderstand,it is not only the rich and famous people who are being scrutinized this way. Employers seeking to hire individuals can check on a person’s behavior through on line social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. If some is constantly putting derogatory remarks or cuss words on social media platforms, what do you think that says about them as a potential employer?

What does your personal life have to do with business? Nothing, and everything.  Is it an invasion of privacy?  Most certainly it is, but many people consider it a necessary evil.

Put yourself into an employers shoes for one moment.You are about to hire someone for the new job of Manager of Marketing and Promoting Human Relations. It is a two figure salary and  you just cannot hire anyone. Your whole entire brand rests on hiring the right individual for this job.

Your board of directors has narrowed it down to three final candidates. Each have the same qualifications and demeanor that is the right fit for your company. They have a few more questions to ask each potential employee and are curious about what hobbies each has outside of the office. Your company executives decide to add each one to Facebook to get to know them a bit more on a personal level.  During the weekend, all three are online at some point.

Candidate number one is cussing,boasting about partying all weekend long and has been posting racists and sexist comments on his status board, the other is boasting about being wasted all weekend long and the other is talking about having a nice BBQ with his family and friends.

Who do you actually think will get hired? In the end,does it mean that he is the best candidate? Maybe not, but chances are he is the most reliable based on that scenario.

Do you think that any board of directories wants to be associated with those other types of behaviors?

It really is not their business what their employees do on the weekend. However, public opinion matters and companies have little choice but to consider an employes based on these kinds of actions.

It is true, companies cannot monitor all of its employees and who is to judge what is considered acceptable and not acceptable?  We cannot, but we can use common sense.

Common sense tells us that putting stupid racist or sexist comments on your Facebook when your looking for a job is just plain stupid.  When I went to school, I was taught to have a certain type of etiquette when dealing with the public.  Have we lost those things? Did social media give us the right to be completely open and honest?

No, it did not. There are just somethings that you do not state in public. Just like there are some things you do not do in  public.  You do not fight with your spouse in public, why would you do it in Facebook? You do not have to display all of your bad habits or anything else of a similar nature, no one cares. It does not matter whether you are getting a job or not, it just makes you look like a bad person.  Is that what you want to project to your family and friends?  It is not rocket science, its common sense really. After all, you are what you say and how your conduct yourself.

When people see you acting like a bad person, they do not want to be associated with you.  I for one, have learned the fine art of;  “oops I knocked you off my friend list” which generally applies to anyone acting on my public forums with inappropriate types of behavior.  I just do not want anyone to associate me with that type of behavior.  Who you hang around with, is how people perceive you.  How are you being perceived?

The reality is, public opinion is the new board of directors.  What the public deems acceptable is generally how the company and its employees must conduct itself.  How do we define what is morally acceptable? We can’t, but we can act with some sort of common sense.  The common sense that tells us, it is just wrong to openly criticize anyone and that it is wrong to openly discuss your personal matters.

SG Partners Human Resources department wishes to remind you:

Social media opened the world up to business – it did not open up the world to your business!