Social Media in the Workplace – Friend or Foe?

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Everywhere we turn, social media is whirling around us fast and furious….Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, LinkedIn etc. While it is fascinating to connect with people whom we haven’t seen in years, should there be guidelines about the use of social media in the workplace? 

Twitter reaches about 13 million people in the US and Facebook has about 60 million visitors a month. MILLION!!!!! Social media is here to stay. It’s a part of life and business. As such, employers need to set boundaries, implement guidelines and train their employees on use of social media in the workplace. Employees will likely be less resentful if they are trained in conjunction with receiving the new policy.  Setting expectations and giving examples to your professionals of what can happen if social media goes “awry” will get the point across. Without it, it might as well go in one ear and out the other.
 
Adding a policy to the handbook, whether your company is using social media tools for business purposes or not, is important. There should be a policy in place about employee personal use. What is the company outlook on social media?  Can employees access during lunch or breaks for personal use? Only you can answer those questions as they are company specific. As social media is constantly evolving, policies should be reviewed and updated annually.
 
Segment the training into groups. Boomers may be comfortable with basic e-mail, but add “tweets” and “status updates” into the mix and they may feel lost. Quite a difference from Millennials who live and breath it everyday. Updating their statuses is second nature to them. 
 
Take appropriate steps to lower the risk and keep the “monster” at bay.

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