One in five people say they would turn down a job at a company that blocks access to the internet for social networking and email use, according to a survey by Clearswift. The content security specialist questioned 1629 people in the UK, USA, Germany and Australia and discovered:
- 21% would turn down a job that did not allow them access to social networks and private email during work hours.
- 57% of employees say they use the Internet for private communication and networking during work hours, but 66% say they make up this time during lunch or out of hours.
- 79% said it is important to be trusted to manage their own time and to use the Internet as they wish.
- 62% of employees said they should be allowed to access the web and social networking from work.
- 32% of America’s 500 fastest-growing companies say they use social media to communicate with suppliers and customers.
The relationship between employers and the Internet has varied over the years. Many companies believe it is a distraction – a temptation for employees to waste time; some believe it is a security risk; some block access to private email purely to stop staff applying for other jobs using Hotmail and Gmail.
I believe blocking access to the Internet at work is a short-sighted and naive approach because the opportunities offered by social media benefit rather than hamper companies.
Instead of being afraid of allowing Internet access, companies should embrace access to it and educate their personnal about how to use it effectively for the company’s benefit. Here are some tips to bear in mind:
- Ensure staff are aware how their online behaviour can impact on the reputation of your company.
- Encourage staff to build relationships online and grow their reputation, with links to your company.
- Teach staff how to get the best out of sites like Facebook, Twitter and, especially, LinkedIn.
If you would like a dedicated training session for your staff on social media management, contact us for more information.