Companies Struggle To Manage Social Media

In addition to nationwide heat waves, another threat to worker productivity comes from the increased use of social media by employees in the workplace.  The recent launch of Google+ as an alternative to Facebook has already attracted nearly 20 million users.  In addition to the potential impact on productivity resulting from workers idling their workdays away scanning status updates and playing Farmville, employers also worry that an employee’s post on Facebook or Twitter could reveal a company secret or damage its reputation.  In a recent survey of 120 multinational employers by the Proskauer International Labor & Employment Group 43 percent of respondents reported employee misuse of social networks and nearly one-third have taken disciplinary action against employees in relation to misuse of social networks.  Despite the threat to productivity and reputation, nearly half of all businesses do not have social media and networking policies in place.  Only 27 percent monitor employee use of social networking sites, while about 29 percent block access to social networking sites altogether.  “Workers definitely need to police themselves when it comes to using social media at the office,” said John A. Challenger, chief executive officer of Challenger, Gray & Christmas.  “Obviously, you do not want the quantity or quality of your output to suffer because of the distraction but, more importantly, you do not want something you post to impact your current employment situation or your ability to find a job down the road.  More and more employers are looking at candidates’ Twitter and Facebook feeds for any clues that would help make a hiring decision.  So, always think twice about what you are about to post.”  Why do so many companies lack social media policies?  What can employers do to maximize the advantages of social media while minimizing the risks?  What could workers do to make sure their social media habits do not impact their employment situation?





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