In the early days of social media many companies laid down the law when it came to employees engaging during work hours. They pushed IT departments to block sites such as Facebook or Twitter. They asked employees to keep personal smart phones under wraps during the workday. They feared that a workforce more engaged in friends’ baby pictures would surely be a drain on productivity or worse, a path to serious reputation damage.
This strict off-limits policy is changing as businesses now see more benefits than drawbacks to a socially engaged workforce. As a result many companies are evolving their social media policies to reflect this new approach. Here are some reasons why social media at work is a good thing.
Frequent Breaks Boost Productivity
Studies suggest that employees who take the most number of breaks tend to be most productive. Breaks give workers a relief from stress, alleviate boredom and help people return to tasks with focus, concentration and enthusiasm. During breaks many employees turn to social media, to peek at what’s going on with their friends and family. In 2013, market research company Ipsos polled roughly 10,000 workers in 32 countries on social media behavior. The study on behalf of Microsoft, found that 46 percent of workers said their productivity had greatly or somewhat increased because of social media use in the office. “Turns out, the secret to retaining the highest level of productivity over the span of a workday is not working longer—but working smarter with frequent breaks," says The Muse writer Julia Gifford.
Social Media Helps Employees Stay on Trend
Many managers fear that workers will spend all day cyber-loafing instead of tackling their tasks. The reality is that there are only so many cat videos to watch before people seek material of substance. For engaged workers, social media is a treasure trove of industry trends and best practices. Facebook, Twitter and Linked are chock full of articles on marketing trends, lead generation and consumer behavior. There’s even evidence that social media leads to sales. In 2012 Jim Keenan, a social sales specialist issued a report on the impact of social media on quota attainment. His report found that 78.6 percent of salespeople using social media to sell outperformed those who weren’t using social media.
Progressive Social Media Polices Attract Millennials
Younger and tech savvy workers are so integrated with social media; it would be strange for them to leave that part of their lives at the office door. Companies that have a more liberal social media policy will attract younger workers and conversely ones that ban it create an old-fashioned corporate culture. Workers that feel less division between work and personal lives enjoy coming to work and in many cases become your company's most active social promoters.
Promotes Healthy Competition
Social media can be a way to inspire and motivate positive change within an organization. Ethics Resource Center President Patricia J. Harned, Ph.D., says that active social networkers “have a really strong interest in the culture of the workplace. They are more likely to be responsive if you’re making use of social media networks to address company culture and employee concerns.”
In every organization there’s a pool of employees that are very passionate about what they do and they are quick to broadcast the company’s achievements. These employees are a great asset to an organization. One way to promote beneficial social chatter is by capturing each employee’s social equity score. A social equity score measures the positive influence of a person in his or her social circle. This score is an important part of the Cafyne social media security platform. The more positive material an employee posts, the higher their social equity impact score. The quicker an organization identifies their influencers, the quicker they can reward the behavior and encourage other employees to join in the conversation.