Recently Maurice Williamson (MP for Pakuranga in Auckland) got himself into a bit of hot water over some comments he made while MC’ing an event. I’m sure you’ve seen it in the news, however if you haven’t you can check it out here: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11506926. In his defense he has said that he wasn’t acting in his capacity as an MP or representing his party, he was acting as himself. In another news article a female childcare worker has been stood down (pending an investigation) from her job based in the UK after she posted on her private Facebook page about being bitten, hit and a wide range of other things by children in her care (albeit very negatively with a few swear words throw in…..). These examples raise a really good question – where does “Real Me” and “Work Me” cross over? And, are they even separate anymore?
As a recruiter and being from Gen Y – I am on social media, I network and I get out and about. I also, funnily enough, am in paid employment. For me, I represent my employer’s brand everywhere I go and everything I do. Whether I am in work hours or not. Now, before you jump up and down – when making my coffee in my PJs in the morning in the privacy of my own home I’m probably not representing the brand – but I’m sure you get my drift.
I truly believe that anything that is public – social media accounts, your interactions with people and your actions both inside and outside of work hours can reflect on your employer. In 2015 the crossover of your “Real Me” and “Work Me” is growing. If you are in a high profile role this crossover has really morphed into your “Work Me” and “Real Me” becoming one. The higher your profile the larger the crossover is. And in politics I think there isn’t any difference between the two!
Apart from representing your employer’s brand, just keep in mind that once something is on the internet it’s quite difficult to get rid of it. Also quite difficult to get rid of is personal brand damage. There is a lot of talk about your employer’s brand, but have you thought of your own? How your actions might be remembered and impact your job seeking, sales opportunities or personal friendships in the future?
My advice? If it’s public think twice before you press the send button or make comments. Because the HR training in me says that a conversation around “bringing the brand into disrepute” will be far more uncomfortable than you think!