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Jul 4, 2010

Social networking on the job widespread – harness it!

By Workplace Staff
Employee use of social networking websites during work hours is widespread, but is not necessarily interfering with productivity, according to 40 per cent of the respondents surveyed by Right Management.

Only 18 per cent of respondents reported that social networking on the job often interferes with productivity, while 41 per cent said that it sometimes does so.

“Social networking is here to stay,” advises Melvin Scales, senior vice president of Global Solutions at Right Management. “By some it is perceived as disruptive, with about half of all companies reporting they block access to social media sites because of productivity and security concerns. However, some companies are looking for innovative ways to embrace the new medium.”

Scales suggested that managers consider ways to creatively harness the technology and take advantage of the business value social media delivers in order to boost organizational performance and further business goals. “We need to look for ways to channel social media in directions that benefit organizations and their employees.”

“Social networking is more and more central not just to how we stay in touch with family and friends, but how we stay connected to our colleagues,” says Scales. “For many, social networking sites are an integral part of both personal and professional lives. Technology is changing how, where and when work gets done. It’s all about knowledge sharing, collaboration and transparency.”

“Managers should embrace new technologies to communicate more effectively with employees and keep them engaged and informed,” suggests Scales. “Forward looking companies use social networking to build loyalty, share ideas and experiences, and increase collaboration. By nature, we are social creatures and these tools can foster brainstorming, teamwork and innovation. Organizations that resist are probably in a losing battle.”

Among key findings:

  • Forty–eight per cent of C-suite and vice president-level respondents said social networking seldom interferes with their productivity.
  • The larger the organization the less likely the perception that social networking hinders productivity, with 51 per cent of people working at companies of 10,000+ employees responding that it seldom interferes, compared to 41 per cent at smaller organizations.
  • Not surprisingly, 62 per cent of IT professionals said it seldom interferes, compared to 30 per cent of sales professionals who reported that it often interferes.
  • Of those aged 35-44, 47 per cent said that it seldom interferes, compared to 35 per cent of those 18-24.

 “Given the widespread use of social networking sites, companies need to have policies in place,” says Scales. “We know from research conducted by our parent Manpower that organizations struggle to accomplish this, with as many as 75 per cent of employers saying their organization does not have a formal policy on the use of social networking sites at work.”

Right Management surveyed 1,080 individuals via an online poll on LinkedIn® conducted between May 11, 2010 and May 18, 2010. Right Management is the talent and career management expert within Manpower, the global leader in employment services. For more information, visit www.right.com.