Do you allow staff to use social media at work?

Posted at December 6, 2012 | By : | Categories : Leadership | 0 Comment

Have you recently walked past your employee’s desks and caught a glimpse of their computer monitors displaying Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or some other form of social media?

According to a recent report, Australia now has more than 11 million Facebook users and over 2 million LinkedIn and Twitter users. Whether managers or organisations approve of social media engagement during working hours, chances are your employees will still actively participate in social media throughout their working day.

Just like their employees, many businesses have embraced social media sites as a means of promotion and brand building however many still don’t have an employee policy for social media usage in the workplace. Last week a client shared with me some of their main concerns with staff using social media during working hours. Foremost, his concern was that social media engagement would detract attention from their work duties and lead to a decrease in productivity. Secondly, he was concerned that negative or disgruntled employee’s may express disparaging comments about the company over social networks and damage the company’s profile.

As managers and leaders, are we perhaps a little too paranoid about social media in the workplace?

I can appreciate the concerns that many companies have regarding staff usage of social media, however I personally believe that blocking or heavily restricting access to these sites will most likely lead to a decrease in staff moral and ultimately loss of valued employees. I also think these companies are missing out on great opportunities to further build their brand via their staff’s online activities. Rather than fearing an isolated negative comment from a disgruntled employee, alter your mindset and think of your entire staff as willing PR agents for your company.

I constantly notice employees within the Travel, Tourism and Hospitality industries sharing positive work related updates to their network of contacts via LinkedIn and Facebook. These include promoting flash sales, last minute specials, new hotel openings, new tours, completed refurbishments, special events, press releases, and posting vacant positions. I doubt too many managers and business leaders would argue against this positive use of time with promoting their business and assisting it achieve it’s goals.

Some other positive outcomes for allowing your staff to use social media at work include building networks, sharing knowledge, self-directed learning and finding answers to work related problems. Empower your employees to find their own solutions and in turn increase their job satisfaction.

In reality, there will always be a few employees that engage in too much Social media and this will need to be addressed. However, as I noted in a recent post, Generation Y are the largest users of social media, but they’re also profoundly gifted with multi-tasking. So before acting too hastily in regards to your employee’s social media usage, remember they maybe building your online brand awareness, seeking a solution to a software issue whilst simultaneously correlating your weekly report.

What are you thoughts on social media access and usage in the workplace?


For more detailed information and advice on effectively leading teams contact us at www.hamiltonmanagement.com.au or telephone Adam on +61 (0)401 333 965.
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About Adam Hamilton

Adam Hamilton is the Director of Hamilton Management, a specialist management consulting company working within the travel, tourism and hospitality industries.

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