Are you ‘allowed’ to use social media during working hours?
Does your boss frown down on Facebook or tantrum over tweeting?
It’s an interesting issue in this so-called social media age, when many of us have smartphones in our backpocket or sit in front of a computer screen for much of the day, with our networks constantly beckoning us to check in, update and participate.
More and more workplaces are introducing social media policies – which range from banning social media use and threatening dismissal, through to encouraging staff to use social media and providing hints and tips.
There are plenty of blogs on this topic written by lawyers and HR specialists. But in this blog post, I want to pose some questions about what happens when we frighten staff away from social media, because frankly, one day those employers may be sorry!
Why would your boss be sorry they blocked social media?
- People are already talking about you / your boss / your boss’s business online. If you’re hooked into social media, there are more chances for you to know that – and to respond.
- One day your boss will want social media nouse within the organisation, it’s just a matter of when. The more staff are across the channel, the better.
- These days, issues and crises can arise online. And where should you respond? Online of course. Yet if your employer doesn’t have any online accounts (or they are small or inactive accounts), it can be mighty difficult. This is where employers are often relieved to find staff who do have a large digital footprint, who can help spread their message. (Yet how will staff react, when social media has been frowned upon for so long?)
- There are often causes or competitions online which offer rewards for organisations or businesses. But in order to reap those rewards, you need to garner online support. Charities do quite a lot of this via Twitter, for example, by asking followers to support or retweet them. They can seed this activity via staff who are active on social media. If you’ve banned your staff from using social media…? Well, you get the picture.
- One day your boss may ask how much Klout (or equivalent) you have. Because they may need that Klout for a new online campaign. If you have an impressive Klout however, you may be so disgruntled at your boss’s lack of previous support, that you’re unwilling to lend it to the organisation.
This might sound simplistic or naïve, but I’ve seen this happening already. Employers suddenly find they’re “ready for social media” but their past attitude means an awkward and significant culture shift within their workplace. In addition, they have a limited in-house social media skills to call upon.
Social media networks take time to build. Social media etiquette – particularly for different online communities – takes time to absorb. The earlier you start, the better. And there’s no better place to begin than allowing your employees to participate.
Of course, this participation needs to be within reason. Your employers don’t need to watch YouTube videos all day or read every Facebook post in their news stream. However, unblocking social media sites and allowing staff to periodically check into social media sites can be a worthwhile investment. It’s also another way to reward, respect and motivate your staff.
Are you allowed to use social media sites during working hours?
Digital natives will change old school workplaces
My next blog post: Who owns your social media profile?