Speaking of Social Networking…

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.

SURVEY RESULTS

Does your company have a formal policy regarding social networking sites, such as LinkedIn and MySpace?

We have no formal policy.
59.4%
We block access to these sites.
22.4%
We trust employees to get work done and do not monitor their internet usage.
10.3%
We encourage employees to use these sites.
7.9%

Which statement best describes your company’s opinion on social networking?

They are not a problem as long as employees’ work gets done.
47.4%
They are a drain on worker productivity.
32.7%
They are invaluable marketing, networking and sales tools.
10.3%
We encourage employees to have a presence on these sites.
5.8%
What is MySpace?
3.9%

4 thoughts on “Speaking of Social Networking…

  1. The assumption from the UK survey that time on Facebook equates to lost productivity assumes that time on Facebook is unproductive. What if at least some of these employee’s time on Facebook is an asset to their careers in terms of business networking? The idea of getting to know your business associates in a casual atmosphere is a time honored “old boy network” concept. Maybe Facebook is the new golf course?

  2. This sounds of interest. After building a social network and live TV aggregation platform, we realised the opportunity to build corporate social network platform from our tried and tested technology. We now provide corporate social networking platforms and services. We have a proven track record with technology currently in use by blue-chip clients. Our brandstation solution is offered to corporate clients keen on using social networking and web 2.0 technology for either internal communication or consumer marketing. Brandstation also come in an on-demand set up with ready-made core functionality, to offer accessible communications solutions around brand and marketing business objectives. The platform enables any company to enjoy the benefits of Web 2.0 social network for internal and external communications, no matter how small or large the company is. There’s further information at http://www.brandstation.tv

  3. brandstation is an excellent social network platfom (facebook type interactivity for companies), here’s their contact information:viewmy.tv326 Kensal Road, London, W10 5BZ, UK+44(0)208 964 3759http://www.brandstation.tv – corporate social networksviewmy.tv is about to release an ease to use and feature rich on-demand brandstation platform with monthly subscription options!

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