Social Media in the Workplace

Paid sponsorship by Alternative HR, a YBA member company

A 2015 Pew Research Center survey found that Millennials (those born after 1985) make up 34% of the U.S. workforce. This group of employees has grown up during the internet age where people communicate through emails and social media, so they are actively communicating through a variety of social media sites and devices daily. With the Millennial population growing in the workplace, social media will be a growing trend that is here to stay.

The Pew Research Center survey also found that:

  • 78% of workers who use social media platforms for work-related purposes say social media is helpful for networking or finding new job opportunities.
  • 71% of these workers say social media is helpful for staying in touch with others in their field.
  • 56% say it is helpful for connecting with experts.
  • 51% say it is helpful for getting to know their coworkers on a personal basis.
  • 46% say it helps find the information they need to do their job.

On the other hand, these workers were divided on the values of social media in other respects, such as the impact of social media on job performance.

  • 56% of workers who use social media platforms for work-related purposes agree that social media distracts from the work they need to do, with 30% agreeing strongly. Some 42% of these workers disagree that social media is a distraction.
  • 54% of these workers agree that social media breaks help them recharge at work. A statistically similar proportion (46%) disagree that social media breaks help them recharge while on the job.
  • 51% of these workers agree that social media use at work lets them see too much information about their coworkers; 47% disagree with this statement.

How to manage social media and ensure that it doesn’t interfere with your company’s security or productivity:

It is essential to develop a company-wide social media policy that is relevant, consistent, and reasonable. The policy should address social media usage on the company network and on company time. It should include the use of work email, instant messaging tools, personal email, cloud-based storage, and any other means through which individuals might share company information. You may also want to address personal usage on personal devices and limit usage to only when necessary or on break times.

The policy should state that the company maintains the right to monitor social media usage. Under what circumstances, the company has the right to act on information and state that content may be retained indefinitely.

Companies should also conduct regular training sessions and ensure the new policy is written into the company’s handbook and make the policy easily assessable and available to everyone. In addition, any training should specifically address risks such as misuse of confidential information, misrepresenting the views of the business, inappropriate non-business use, and derogatory remarks about the business and its employees. 

Why is social media Important?

Social media is unique. It is easily accessible and how today’s internet-savvy audiences connect. Advertising through social media is easy and cost-friendly as compared to costs associated with print, TV, or other traditional media. Using social media helps organizations obtain direct access to clients and helps in search engine optimization and increase rankings of company websites. All of which help businesses attract prospective clients, grow their networks and attract future employees.

Understanding the impact of social media:

While social media has its benefits, it is essential to remember that nothing is entirely confidential. What you say can most likely be seen by at least one other person. Therefore, it is vitally important to protect yourself by thinking about the broader consequences of any information you put out on social media platforms. Make sure you understand how social media sites work and understand the settings you can put into place to maximize your privacy.

Social Media will only become more widespread in our personal and professional lives. Instead of fighting it, take time implementing policies and processes that focus on performance. This will help ensure that your workforce stays on track no matter what new potential distraction is on the horizon. Social Media can bring many benefits and risks to your workplace. Still, if used and monitored correctly, it can help reduce potential issues and help positively promote your workplace.

Alternative HR is here to help with social media policies, and all your Human Resource needs. Contact us today to find out more about how we can help your organization. Learn more.