A new survey released by MySammy and Holos Research explored the sentiments of human resource professionals on the topic of social media. Results show interesting concerns regarding threats from social media, corporate policies, impact on recruitment and effects on productivity. The two biggest factors on why companies block access to social media websites were “security threats” (77% important) and “decreased productivity for employees” (67% important).
While 76% expressed concern that employees are using social media to harm their reputation, only 38% block access at work to social media websites. Of those who are not blocking access, two-thirds (66%) are not monitoring the time employees spend on social media websites. When employees use social media on behalf of a company, only a little more than half (57%) consider that information company property. The vast majority (86%) do not have limits spelled out on the time employees can spend on social media, likely leading to confusion or soft enforcing of policies.
Survey respondents do not feel that blocking access to social media will hurt them when recruiting job prospects (66%). This stands in contrast to a past study by Cisco which showed that more than half of college students globally (56%) said that if they encountered a company that banned access to social media, they would either not accept a job offer or would join and find a way to circumvent corporate policy.
More than 3 in 4 believe that social media hurts employee productivity, but are unable to measure how much; two-thirds of respondents (65%) do not have a way to measure employee productivity while on the computer. More than half of respondents (54%) felt social media was useful for employees to perform their duties.
Since the majority of respondents’ companies (87%) allowed their employees to bring their own smartphone to work, it is conceivable that employees are circumventing website blocking by accessing social media with their personal devices. More than half of respondents (58%) worry that they use it to access social media during work.
According to Social Human Resources expert, Ashley Lauren Perez, social media in the workplace is not necessarily a negative thing. Social media can be used to “give employees a megaphone on behalf of the company, be a medium for recruiters to find and screen candidates, engage employees and increase internal mobility, and increase communication.” Social media now provides tools that can be used by HR professionals for performance management, recognition, and training.
According to Greenville Organizational Management expert, Jenise Phillips, “Companies should carefully consider all options before prohibiting the use of social media in the workplace. While security and productivity concerns are legitimate, it should be evaluated against the value gained in areas of productivity, engagement, and marketing.” Collaboration and visibility are improved in organizations that incorporate social media in the workplace. Organizations can protect themselves by instituting policies and procedures that describe use and expectations.