Finance executives are weighing the potential risks and benefits of social media as it makes its way into the workplace, according to a recent survey.
More than half (51 percent) of chief financial officers (CFOs) said their greatest social media concern is that employees are wasting time during business hours using such sites as Facebook and Twitter. CFOs also expressed worries their staff might behave unprofessionally or post inappropriate information online.
"Many companies are still evaluating the risks and rewards of allowing employees to access social media Web sites at work," said Max Messmer, chairman of Accountemps and author of Human Resources Kit for Dummies. "Firms with concerns about employees wasting time online while at the office can encourage appropriate online activity by developing and establishing a set of consistent guidelines."
CFOs were asked, "What is your greatest concern for your company regarding employees using social media?"
- Wasting time at work – 51%
- Behaving unprofessionally – 18%
- Posting financial/confidential company information – 11%
- Posting negative comments about company – 10%
- No concerns – 10%
- Don't know/no answer – 1%
However, three in 10 financial executives (28 percent) said using these sites can improve customer service, according to the survey developed by Accountemps , a Menlo, CA-based staffing services firm specializing in accounting and finance.
CFOs were asked, "What is the greatest benefit to your company of employees using social media?"
- Provide better customer service – 28%
- Enhance company's reputation – 22%
- Expand networks of valuable contacts – 20%
- Can secure new business – 18%
- No benefits – 10%
- Don't know/no answer – 2%
"More executives are seeing value in employees using social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter for business purposes like promoting a product or service or connecting with target audiences." Messmer said. "Employees in customer-facing roles, for example, can leverage these networks to communicate directly with customers and quickly address service issues as they arise."
The survey was conducted by an independent research firm and is based on interviews with responses from more than 1,400 CFOs from a stratified random sample of U.S. companies with 20 or more employees.