Over 50% of Companies are blocking social media sites from their employees in the workplace. Some reports say this statistic is as high as 85% indicating that only 15% of companies allow employees to freely use social media sites during working hours. Are these companies demonstrating smart social media strategy or is this statistic an indicator that companies really have no social media strategies aligned to their core business goals? Are these companies in a reactionary mode to new technological trends they don’t yet understand?
I see Blocking Social Media in the Workplace as one of the most important economic and societal factors because of the impact it will undoubtedly have on COMPANY CULTURE and EMPLOYEE/TALENT RETENTION.
Secondly, at this very important economic turning point, where every company is trying to understand how to make money in the new economy, this is an opportunity. The companies who choose to embrace social media, learn it and maximize it will be the winners. They will attract the best talent.
How can one decision have such a large impact? Let’s consider a few questions contrasting companies who block social media sites to those who don’t:
- Where would you expect a more communicative, creative and naturally entrepreneurial employee to migrate?
- Conversely, where would you expect the opposite to go?
- Where are the millions of Generation Y workers likely to choose? (Note: These workers don’t consider social media sites an option but a right).
- How will the generation even younger than Generation Y feel about employers who block social media sites? (Note: some have deemed them Generation C for Communication because of their constant need for updates and on demand information).
- Is an employee base your most powerful group for spreading your brand if they are truly in love with your product or service? Shouldn’t they BE in love with your product or service if they are going to serve you well as an employee? Don’t you WANT them talking about your product or service if they are indeed your biggest fans?
- Do you want to create an environment where employees are tempted to break the rules? Afterall, most everyone has access to the internet via their phones.
COMPARISON OF CULTURES: BLOCKED Vs. OPEN SOCIAL MEDIA
By no means will it be easy to embark on open social media waters. Like all new things, blocking social media sites is the easiest thing to do because social media is new and it can be a wildcard. Perhaps a CEO might ask his/her legal department for counsel and what will they say, “BLOCK!” and rightly so because an attorney’s job is to protect the company from risk. New things bring risk. But they also bring opportunity. A CEO’s job is to run the company from all aspects and to forge ahead looking for new frontiers like William Shatner on his best days of at the helm of the USS Enterprise (or maybe his best days at Priceline.com ;-).
What would the world be like if we made all of our decisions based on fear and uncertainty? With a few guidelines, a few pilot samples, a little trust and the realization that our employees are people who are responsible (and who most likely want to do a good job if you let them), you might just have the best opportunity sitting right in front of you. Are you willing to let it pass you by just because of a little fear?
If I can help you start this conversation at your company, feel free to call, email, chat, tweet, facebook me. Our company doesn’t and will never block social media.
Further, we welcome your comments and discussion on this very important topic.