We very often discuss the impact of social networking and technology in the workplace. At the SHRM conference, we issued a survey to HR execs about their companies’ thoughts on the matter, and, as this topic is our trend of the week, we thought it appropriate to post the results.
Most companies (59 percent) do not have a formal policy regarding the use of social networking sites at the office. Nearly half of those polled said social networking sites are not a problem as long as employees’ work gets done.
While many companies do not view social networking as a threat to productivity, one in three survey respondents said their companies consider the sites a major drain on worker output. Twenty-three percent of companies block access to these sites entirely.
A recent study from U.K.-based IT security firm Global Secure Systems found that workers spend at least 30 minutes of their work day on a social networking site. The study concludes that such behavior costs U.K. employers several billion dollars a year in lost productivity.
However, lost productivity is not the only reason some organizations ban or limit the use of social networking at the office. These sites produce an extra demand on bandwidth. They also pose a security risk for corporate networks, making company systems vulnerable to hackers and viruses. There is also the potential for employees to leak corporate secrets or damage the company’s image due to the content of their personal profiles.
And social networking sites can be VERY good for business, although most companies don’t necessarily believe so. About 10 percent of the respondents to the Challenger survey said their companies view social networking sites as invaluable marketing, networking and sales tools, and six percent actually encourage employees to have a presence on these sites.
Of course, every company must examine its workplace and evaluate whether social networking has the potential to be a valuable tool or simply another distraction. One thing every company should keep in mind, however, is that enacting bans on these sites could hurt recruiting, particularly among young people just starting their careers.
Does your company have a formal policy regarding social networking sites, such as LinkedIn and MySpace?
We have no formal policy.
We block access to these sites.
We trust employees to get work done and do not monitor their internet usage.
We encourage employees to use these sites.
Which statement best describes your company’s opinion on social networking?
They are not a problem as long as employees’ work gets done.
They are a drain on worker productivity.
They are invaluable marketing, networking and sales tools.
We encourage employees to have a presence on these sites.
What is MySpace?