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Grow Your Business Social Media

Social Media Is Making Employees More Honest


Social media has become somewhat of a truth serum for American workers who realize that there's no longer any place to hide from their bosses.

That's the contention of Carolyn Anderson, a professor of communication in the School of Communication of Akron University in Ohio. Anderson said employees have witnessed the many recent dishonest behaviors that have been exposed through social and traditional media and realized they don't want to suffer the same fate. With social media giving their employers access to nearly every detail of their lives, many employees are being more up front with employers, Anderson said.

To tell the truth

The need for honesty at work is not new, Anderson said.

"Aristotle talked about credibility and being truthful," said Anderson, who also heads a company called CMA Communication Consultants, LLC.  "Through the years, we have come to look at white lies as being OK and put major lies into another category."

Some of those major lies have played out in the media recently — as in the sex scandals of former Congressman Anthony Weiner and Arnold Schwarzenegger, for example — and the resulting fallout has scared employees into telling the truth more often, Anderson said.

"People are lying less at work — because lies are so exposed today," she told BusinessNewsDaily. Social media, she said, has played a big role in bringing about increasing transparency from employees.
"Whatever you say on Facebook is being read by your company and you could be fired," she said. "Some employers check Facebook posts every day. With social media, you can't get away with much at all."

Anderson and Bill Rosenthal, chief executive of Communispond, a firm that helps managers speak and write more effectively, recently jointly published an article in the Harvard Business Review helping employers figure out how to tell if employees are lying .

Some of the clues to determine if employees are lying include:

  • Discomfort or visible anxiety
  • Avoiding eye contact
  • A fake smile
  • Evasiveness
  • Manipulation through the use overly explicit language for emphasis or adding lots of detail



Jeanette Mulvey

Jeanette has been writing about business for more than 20 years. She has written about every kind of entrepreneur from hardware store owners to fashion designers. Previously she was a manager of internal communications for Home Depot. Her journalism career began in local newspapers. She has a degree in American Studies from Rutgers University. Follow her on Twitter @jeanettebnd.