Social Media Employment Law

Tracking Social Media In The Workplace – A New Survey

Surveys, summaries, and statistics are all the rage now.   They are popping up everywhere, with everyone trying to get a handle on this social media thing.   We have been telling you (as if you didn’t already know) that social media use in the workplace continues to rise dramatically every day.   A new survey issued yesterday by the Society for Human Resource Management (“SHRM”) provides further fodder for the claim.

The survey’s findings are based on 532 “randomly selected HR professionals” who were asked various questions during the period from December 17, 2010 through February 1, 2011.   Many of the findings are extremely enlightening:

            –   31% of the reporting companies monitor their employees’ social media use, while 43% still block all access to social media on company-owned computers and devices.

            –   68% of the reporting companies use social media themselves to “reach external audiences”, including for relationship building and the promotion of products and services.   Almost half of the companies just started using social media for these purposes within the past 1 to 2 years.

            –   Facebook (45%) and LinkedIn (34%) appear to be the platforms used most for communicating with outside parties.

            –   73% of the reporting companies still do not provide any training to employees who use social media on behalf of their company.

Employer Take Away:   What should you as an employer take away from this development?   

We’ve all grown up with the adage that we shouldn’t do something simply because everybody else does it (“if she told you to jump off the Brooklyn Bridge….”).   Social media appears to be an exception.   Everybody is “doing” social media.   We all know that, and SHRM’s survey is the latest update on the numbers and anecdotes about how companies are using and not using social media in the course of their day-to-day business activities.

So the question remains, not whether you should recognize that social media exists in the workplace, but, rather:   Are you managing it effectively and appropriately?

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