Social Networking and Employees: Where Do You Draw the Line?

With the rise of social networking, employers are left wondering if or how the trend affects their bottom line. Many have decided that Facebook and MySpace in the workplace are not appropriate (for content or productivity reasons) and have banned the sites from being accessed at their offices.

To which I say: Good luck with that!

With the onslaught of iPhones, resisting social media (and I don’t mean for marketing purposes) will prove to be futile anyway. Go ahead. Fire someone for accessing their Facebook iPhone app. But don’t be looking for any “Best Places to Work” awards anytime soon.

And when morale is down, productivity goes down. Call it anecdotal, but the places I’ve worked at with low morale lose productivity to gossip and office politics. What they’re really looking for is support in a difficult workplace. So ban social media all you want, your employees will still find ways to “waste time.” Or as I like to call it, not go completely mental.

On the flip side, social networking more often than not helps your business. Think of all the contacts that your employees have. All those college and high school pals now have careers in a variety of industries. Perhaps there are great partnerships to be had in these vast social networks.

Or when its time to hire a new employee, these networks are a great place to start.

Social media is also a great way to stay on top of your industry – to learn about things that are happening, what’s new. You can’t do it all yourself – or even with just your marketing team. What if a guy/gal in IT catches wind of a new program being implemented at a competitor? Chances are, they’ll find it out via a social network, blog, Twitter, etc.

I say kill those largely unfounded fears and allow social networking in the workplace. Like the rest of business and life, it won’t be perfect. But it can be reasonable.

By the way, one of the new hot things in social media is internal social networking, sometimes referred to as enterprise social media. This can foster genuine channels of good communication among departments across your company.

What’s your opinion? Yay or nay to social media for employees? Leave a comment and tell us how it is!

Related Reading:
Do Social Networks Bring Out the Animal in Us?
Small Business Owners Need Twitter and LinkedIn

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