Myth: Personal Social Media Doesn't Belong at Work
It isn't a secret that Millennials are constantly plugged in. Studies have indicated that we typically switch attention between our laptops, smart phones, Kindles and the latest episode of Girls an incredible 27 times per hour. Social media networking isn't just a fad, it is here to stay. Blocking social media on your computers simply isn't conducive to the way people under 35 optimally work. Having a closed social media policy at your company might not benefit you as much as you think.
Won't Social Media Drain Our Budget?
A strict no-social media policy can actually hurt you at every step of the way, including recruitment. Recently, 56% of employees surveyed said they wouldn't accept a position at a company that didn't permit social media usage on the clock. Blocking social media networking sites on company computers and keeping especially close tabs on your employees' internet usage might not even be effective. The prevalence of iPhones and Androids mean your workers are able to access social media in different ways. View compromising on social media as a means to increase happiness and retain your top talent.
Won't Productivity Plummet?
It almost certainly won't. Happy employees are 300% more creative and 31% more productive, and no one can expect their entire payroll to spend 40 hours a week hammering away on projects. It isn't a coincidence that many Fortune 500 companies openly encourage their employees to play on the clock. Google offers climbing walls and allows workers to spend up to 20% of their time working on personal projects. Millennials are more motivated by personal satisfaction than previous generations, with 30% being unwilling to tolerate an unhappy work environment. Opening your social media policy might not just be smart, it could be critical to retaining the technological savvy and multi-tasking skills of your younger employees.
What about Inappropriate Content?
Policing your employees on social media could be less important than you think. You might not need to do anything more than make it clear that your employees are responsible for what they put on social media and prohibit the release of any proprietary information. 114 year-old Fortune 500 company IBM made headlines for their open social media policy, which allows their employees to talk freely with colleagues and the public through social media networks and personal blogs.
Most importantly, millennials are the most socially connected generation in history. Work and play are less defined in this era than at any point in the past. Don't underestimate the value of your employee's social media contacts from college courses and electronic communities. Open social media policies can also allow your employees to unleash the value of crowd-sourcing. The resources and expertise of your programmer's Twitter network can provide real solutions to work-place questions at lightening speed. Open social media networking will likely help more than hurt.
Implement designated “social media breaks,” during which time your employees are allowed to ask answers to their burning questions, or simply zone out in front of a video posted by a Facebook friend. A recent study found that workers who spent a 10-minute break away from their computers, using the restroom and making personal phone calls were 19% less productive than workers who were allowed to surf the internet freely. If your employees return from a 15-minute social media break feeling refreshed and engaged, everyone benefits from their happy, productive mood.
Blacking out social media networking sites isn't doing anything to help you recruit or retain real talent. Don't view social media as a drain on productivity or a potential platform for the release of proprietary information, but a way to keep your employees engaged and happy. Take the leap to meet the needs of your 21st century workers by allowing them the freedom to network, promote your brand and source real solutions on the clock.
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