Social networking is here to stay. Do you wonder if your employees are logging in at work? The odds are they probably do. Check out these statistics:
- More than 62% of Twitter users log in solely from work.
- Facebook has more than 350 million users and more than 50 percent log in on any given day.
- MySpace has more than 263 million.
- YouTube viewers watched over 14.8 billion online videos in January 2009.
- And if you think only the younger generation is logging in, the fastest growing demographic on Facebook is 35 and older.
So, let’s assume that they are. There are pros and cons to allowing workplace access. Here are a few pros.
- Employees can build a professional network that allows them to seek outside guidance for work issues.
- Employees can develop better communication skills if they polish before posting.
- Employees help build your organization’s brand, which will be critical to attract and retain top talent when hiring heats up.
- Employees may divulge information about your company that is adverse.
- Top talent, especially younger talent, may refuse to work for organizations that block social networks. To many, it is that important.
Now, here are some cons.
- Viruses are prevalent on social networking sites. IT professionals are slowly acclimating to social networks, but overall, they have been resistant.
- Employees may defame coworkers.
- Productivity may suffer if networking goes viral among your workers.
Most organizations now allow access at work. However, if they do, a social networking policy is critical to prevent misuse and to help document performance problems. Think about setting up one in your own business. It’s not that hard to develop a strong policy. Below are several recommended topics to include in your policy.
· Include all Web 2.0 applications, including blogging, bulletin boards, chat rooms and the most popular networking sites like Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.
- In your policy, you should specifically either allow or disallow company resources for social networking.
- Caution your employees not to mention customers or coworkers, or post photos of others in work-related activities without prior permission.
- Let employees know that you may review employees’ social networking activities.