social networks

Social Networks At Work

The banning of employees from the use of social networks isn't as prevalent in other parts of the world as it is in the United States. While most employers in the U.S. consider social networking on the job to be detrimental to worker productivity, as well as a threat to security most international companies don't seem to agree.

A recent study by Reppler of 300 managers shows that the biggest proportion of timed wasted online is spent on Facebook (76%), Twitter (53%), and Linkedin (48%). In fact 54% of U.S. based companies limit there employees access to social media, 19% even go so far as to limit employees use of of the web according to a 2009 survey by Robert Half Technology. A 2010 survey of over 35,000 employees in 35 country conducted by Manpower inc. showed that only one in four international companies had policies restricting employees use of social media. In fact some companies didn't see social media as a threat to worker productivity at all.

Both arguments have there strengths and weaknesses including:

Strengths:

  • Social networking creates a "bush telegraph".
  • Allows employees to pounce on opportunity presented by emerging trends.
  • It allows for progressive communication and a dynamic culture.

Weaknesses:

  • Loss of control over the content your employees access.
  • Causes expense for extra network security.
  • Causes a loss in worker productivity.

Opportunities:

  • When managed appropriately it can increase productivity.
  • Increases worker enjoyment.
  • Helps to motivate workers and boost self esteem by giving them control over certain aspects.
  • Increases your competitive edge in the recruiting process.

Threats:

  • Threat of allowing a virus on the corporate network.
  • Possibility of damaging messages to go broad.
  • Possibility of causing moral disorder to the staff.

Ultimately the user must make a pro con list appropriate to there business. As Manpowers survey says only a limited number of companies report being harmed by social media.