Social media is just like real-life social activities: You won’t get much out of being a wallflower. In regarding to should employees be allowed to use social networking sites such as Facebook at work, or should they be banned? Fifty executives across a range of disciplines and industries debated the merits of allowing staff access to social networking from their desktops.
According to the “Social Networks vs. Management?” report from employment services firm Manpower, social networks are not just as a marketing tool, but it also as a liability for the business. Lost productivity, security problems and reputation issues can lead companies to restrict employee usage of social networks despite their usefulness.
Many companies are concerned that allowing social networking in the workplace could open the floodgates to staff wasting time on a massive scale, or perhaps expose firms to unnecessary security risks. And some companies are demand of regulatory compliance to take a tough line on social networking.
In recent eMarketer’s report toward the number of companies that have policy for employee use of social networks. The interesting thing to see is in the worldwide, only one-fifth of the companies surveyed had a formal policy for employee use of external social networking sites. Firms in the Americas and Asia-Pacific were somewhat ahead on this front, but the majority of respondents in all regions had no policy in place. Among companies that did have a policy, 63% claimed it was effective in combating lost productivity.
Beside the lost productivity issue, reputation management is another potential problem associated with social media use. According to emarketer, despite stories about people being fired for committing social networking gaffes, just 4% of companies worldwide said their reputation had been hurt by employee use of social networks.
Rob Koplowitz, principal analyst at Forrester Research, said businesses allowing unrestricted access must be aware of potential security and reputation threats, and advised companies to develop strong acceptable-use polices.
However, Manpower warned that management should be willing to harness social media to increase productivity, rather than fearing it as a time waster, providing access to social networking at work will be essential if firms want to compete for top talent among a generation who have grown used to using it for communication.
“Corporate governance processes should not limit the creative and value-adding activities of employees,” the report says. “Rather, they should develop an atmosphere and promote a corporate culture that encourages such efforts.”