To understand what social media policy you should implement for your company you need to first look at the culture of your company. Some company’s have many employees who interact with sensitive data on a regular basis and social media access would pose as a legal risk to the company. In such cases restricting access to social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, and Youtube would be appropriate.
Most companies ask this question in regards to productivity and social media postings regarding work and other employees. If your concern is productivity again look to your company culture. Do you have a hard working yet playful culture or is it 100% business? In today’s society the 5 minute coffee break has become the 30 minute Facebook break. How can you be sure that your employees are working on what needs to be done and not playing Farmville? The fact is even if you restrict access to these sites you can never be 100% sure your employees aren’t slacking off.
Our opinion is that slackers will fine a way to slack off and not do their work. By blocking access to social networks you simply take one option away from them. Now they’ll find ways to read celebrity gossip or maybe they’ll simply whip out their smart phone to check up on their Facebook friends. For the professional slacker they’ll tilt their computer screen so other employees can’t see and use a proxy to check up with their Twitter followers.
The fact is you can take two approaches. You can either limit their options until they have to give in and do their work, or you can set internal measurements to ensure they are completing the work they are required to get done. You then promote the employees that take initiative and work harder, and some of your employees will do what is required and then take their Facebook break. As for slackers you need to know when they’re missing deadlines, not completing work, or are simply sitting around wasting resources. You then fire them and replace them with a more productive individual.
Blocking access to social networks won’t achieve the results you’re looking for. In fact it’ll simply entice the employees who handle an average workload to spend time trying to find a way around your block.
As for handling postings regarding the company and other employees tread carefully. See our article “Can you use social media as a basis for termination?” To learn more about “protected employee speech” and acceptable social media policies.
Ultimately the question isn’t “Should I block Social Media Access”, but “How can I monitor my employees productivity?” Having reporting systems so supervisors can report upwards how their teams are operating is key. Feel free to comment below with any additional questions.