Monday, July 12, 2010
How (not) to manage social media in the workplace

Phil Bradley spotted an article on the Forum of Private Business' site called 'How to manage social media in the workplace'. It's a very negative view on social media and its pitfalls (which can be explained in part by the fact that it's submitted copy from a legal consulting agency).

That said, it's a little extreme. Here's an excerpt:
More progressive employers will allow blocks of time during the day to be spent on any important personal online activity provided employees make up the time later in the day or at some other agreed time.

However, once there is a clear policy on the use of social networking sites, it is perfectly reasonable for employers to apply their disciplinary process to any breaches of the rules in this regard.

Whilst employers cannot insist that employees stop using the service in general terms, it is perfectly reasonable to impose a ban on its use at work, particularly if an employee's conduct online causes some detriment to the organisation.
All fair comment. But this is all the article says.

If this forum is designed to help empower and enlighten small- and medium-sized businesses, surely we need to see an article that talks about the upside of social media. You know, like its ability to help you forge closer relationships with your customers, or the way it allows you to add personality to marketing messages, or how it turns every employee into an ambassador for the brand?

In fairness, perhaps this is just a headline error. Maybe the article should have been called: 'How to control the use of social networking sites in your business if staff tend just to waste time mucking about on Facebook all day'.

Otherwise we should probably just ban the internet and have done with it.