How Social Media is Threatening Job Monogamy

Have you ever browsed the web at work and stumbled upon job postings? It’s easy to do considering they’re everywhere – you’ll find them on LinkedIn, Twitter, professional development websites and more. As taboo as it is to look at other job listings at work, chances are you didn’t immediately close the page. So if you are committed to your work but lusting after other jobs, are you cheating on your employer?

Pitfall of ONline Dating

In the January/February issue of “The Atlantic,” Dan Slater discussed the pitfall of online dating being too easy in “A Million First Dates.” As Slater explained it, it’s no longer difficult to find a mate, ask that person out and begin a relationship since it can all be done online. On the flip side of that, however, is the fact that when that relationship ends, it’s just as easy to start a new one.

“The positive aspects of online dating are clear: the Internet makes it easier for single people to meet other single people with whom they might be compatible, raising the bar for what they consider a good relationship. But what if online dating makes it too easy to meet someone new? What if it raises the bar for a good relationship too high? What if the prospect of finding an ever-more-compatible mate with the click of a mouse means a future of relationship instability, in which we keep chasing the elusive rabbit around the dating track?,” says Slater.

In short, this theory takes the saying “the grass is always greener on the other side” and adds to it “plus, there are millions of other lawns out there that you can easily have.” The same is true of jobs.

An employee may be satisfied with their job but there are thousands of job postings just waiting out there, being promoted by recruiters and human resources professionals who can be very persuasive and good at their jobs. It may be easy to develop a thought pattern that while a job is ok, it wouldn’t be the end of the world to move onto the next thing, something prettier and younger and shinier. (Oh sorry, I’m mixing metaphors here…) Employees may go out looking for it or they may just throw in the towel when things aren’t going well since they know there are plenty of other opportunities out there.

After all, networking platform make it easier than ever to connect with professionals, search for jobs, apply and even interview. According to the 2012 Candidate Experience Report, 65.3 percent of candidates became engaged in their job search through LinkedIn and 38.5 percent did so through Facebook. Career websites and Twitter feeds also made the list of websites most frequently used by job search candidates.

It’s not just the job postings that draw employees in. In fact, it may be the innocent professional connections made on these networking platforms that lead to a new career opportunity. This can definitely be a positive thing; there’s absolutely a time to grow and move on but employees may take for granted what they have just because there’s something new, tempting and easily accessible out there.

It’s a downside to the digital age we’re in, but it’s not changing anytime soon. As technology grows and develops, we will have easier access to just about everything in our lives, so keeping employees committed will be an ever-evolving challenge for human resources professionals.

Employee Monogamous?

How do you keep employees monogamous? Do you have any strategies for engaging your own employees on sites where it’d be easy for them to find new career opportunities?

Jessica Miller-Merrell

Jessica Miller-Merrell (@jmillermerrell) is a workplace change agent, author and consultant focused on human resources and talent acquisition living in Austin, TX. Recognized by Forbes as a top 50 social media influencer and is a global speaker. She’s the founder of Workology, a workplace HR resource and host of the Workology Podcast.


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