Study: Social Media & Workplace? Are policies a must…?

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Credits: Gerd Altmann / pixelio.de

The conversation around the value of Social Media at the workplace was always based on the topic productivity and policies. Shall a company live an open door policy for „social“ websites? Shall they allow access to Facebook and Twitter? Shall they rely on them in terms of knowing how to achieve their business targets while being available during working hours for all of their friends, fans and followers?

The question is… Are Social Media guidelines necessary or are employment contract not offering enough guidelines for the use of Social Media at work, too?

For companies it is a challenge to manage employee’s use of Social Media. A new study by DLA Piper now found that one third of employers have disciplined employees for something posted on a Social Media site. It also states that 21% of employers have given warnings for posting something derogatory about a colleague or the business.

Although I would have thought that most employees today know the relevance and impact of Social Media, the study makes clear that companies need Social Media policies. However, it also found that three quarters don’t have any Social Media policies.

Some key findings of the study illustrate some negative development where many of us might think, people should be clever enough to understand the meaning and reach of their words on the Social Web. Some use Social Media too often, some inappropriate, some unclever…

– 31% of employers have taken disciplinary proceedings because of information an employee has displayed on a social media site about the organization
– 30% of employers have taken disciplinary proceedings because of the level of usage of social media sites while at work
– 25% of employers have taken disciplinary proceedings because of information an employee has displayed on a social media site about their activities at work
– 21% of employers have taken disciplinary proceedings because of information an employee has displayed on a social media site about another employee

Some further findings also show that people need training on how to manage the relationsship and converations they have during working hours and with colleagues. Employees who use Social Media for personal use…
– 39% have befriended a colleague or business contact in Facebook
– 39% have connected to a colleague or business contact on LinkedIn
– 28% have posted photos of colleagues or business activities
– 22% posted a status update or tweeted about a colleague
– 14% have posted a status update or tweeted about work issues
– 1% have posted confidential business information

Spot On!
The business world is changing. Colleagues connect with each other on different social platforms – no matter if for private or business use. Having a personal Social media strategy where people might not connect with colleagues on Facebook but prefer LinkedIn might become a problem as they might loose out on conversations and information between the lines. On the other hand, people might use it too often to connect with them. Whatever people do, they might use Social Media wrong… in the eyes of employers… at the workplace. Thus, companies will need to have Social Media policies in the future (see international database of Social Media policies). And employees need to find a way to deal with them… Or do you see some other opportunity?

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  1. When Tweets Backfire: Social Media and the Workplace | WaPo Labs am 14.02.2012 08:17 

    […] their adventures in social media continue, major corporations are putting more detailed policies in place, both to help employees navigate  potential minefields and to protect themselves when […]

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