Friday, October 12, 2012

Why You Must Not Block Employees from Social Networks

Companies of all sizes still fear social media, yet it can serve as a major recruiting tool to attract Generation Y employees. Ten years from now, companies who aren't enabling social networks in the workplace will be deemed irrelevant and their Gen Y talent pool will suffer as a result.

A new survey on workplace Web access by OfficeTeam reports that 53 percent of employees say their company doesn't block social networking sites. For those workers who are blocked, 22 percent admit to use their own personal mobile device as a workaround. Companies tend to worry about security, privacy and a loss of productivity. This is especially common in both the financial and healthcare industries, where data is more strictly regulated.

Many companies still don't understand that if you ban social media use in the workplace, Gen Y won't want to work for you. The 2011 Cisco Connected World Study shows that more than half of college students wouldn't accept a job offer, or would accept it and find a way to circumvent corporate policy, if they couldn't access social networking sites. Two out of five respondents said they would accept a lower paying job that had more flexibility with regard to social networking. The Great Place to Work Institute reports that none of the top one hundred companies to work for block social media access at the office. Here are the top reasons why companies should enable it:

1. It builds morale.

Companies that enable social media use are seen as trusting. Employees want to be trusted with their daily activities and are more productive as a result. In addition, younger employees don't' separate work and life, or personal and professional, like older generations. They want to be connected to the people around them, including family and friends, wherever they are. Employees need a mental break from work and companies should put more emphasis on results than when and where work is done.

2. It builds connections.