Is individual expression unwanted by employers? - | Hudson McKenzie

Is individual expression unwanted by employers?

December 11, 2020 | Employment, Latest Thinking

As large tech companies such as Facebook, Netflix, Twitter and so forth supposedly promote and encourage the campaigning and a feed for worldwide issues, such as BlackLivesMatter, the outcome of the US election and the release of a vaccination for coronavirus, more and more employees want to post their perspective content visa social media. Although freedom of expression is meant to be encouraged within a democratic and westernised society, then why are employers choosing to take and demean this in the workplace? Or better still, why are they using the social media activity of job seekers as a basis for turning them down for job roles? This line of activity by employees is now known as social activism: unwanted by employers who seem to prefer a more homogenous style of opinion within their workforce.

It is apparent that there is fine line and even a difficult balancing act for employees or job seekers to have an opinion yet not be too divisive and opinionated. According to a study conducted by Pennsylvania State University, it reflected that recruiters opted to select candidates who remained ‘social media neutral’ within the realms of hot topics and daily issues versus those who emblazoned their individual lengthy and more political captions on these issues. What is clear here is that as much as firms promote their companies as being ‘diverse’, this of course has its limitations.

 One argument for keeping social activism private is for the sake of workplace harmony. Equally, employees are supposed to represent their employer/company as a brand. In this light, if employees hold differing opinions from their employer or organisation, then what message is that promoting to their clientele and market that they are trying to target?

Although this is a logical argument, does this rule out that employees are incapable of setting aside their differences and working together in unison within the working environment?

A controversial argument is the view that this is simply a catalyst for progressing the shift from having employees and ‘people companies’ to replacing them with automated systems to fill their roles and even facilitate technological company takeovers from oligarchs, i.e robotics, algorithms, and the like created by tech giants and ‘world controllers’. Given the fact that most businesses are working from home because of the pandemic, many office spaces have shut or even gone into administration because of the lack employee involvement. In addition, furlough payments paid out to those from international governments such as the UK can also be seen to further this transition, with paying workers to not do anything. Although this has been implemented to stop mass redundancies, its role may be two-fold.  Has this all been set up to make us one homogenous society whereby our jobs are taken over by technology, being paid to stay at home and eventually for all of us to be vaccinated on a mandatory basis? Albeit this opinion to be controversial, is there truth in it?

Overall, this trend of employees and job seekers being painted as too divisive or argumentative when possessing an opinion of the minority on whatever the issue may be detrimental to their ‘career currency’. It could be argued that this new hot topic has perhaps been launched to further the global reset of our society to one that is more controlled by technology.