More Employers Like Social Networking in the Workplace

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Menlo Park, Calif. — June 20

Tweets and “likes” are becoming more beneficial to business, a recent Robert Half Technology survey suggests. More than half (51 percent) of CIOs surveyed said they permit employees to use social media sites like Twitter and Facebook on the job as long as it’s for business purposes, a figure that has increased over the past few years. But while firms may be more open to the business applications of social media, more than one out of three (31 percent) organizations still prohibit it completely at the office.

The surveys were developed by Robert Half Technology, a provider of IT professionals on a project- and full-time basis, and conducted by an independent research firm. They were based on telephone interviews with more than 1,400 CIOs from companies across the U.S. with 100 or more employees.

CIOs were asked, “Which of the following most closely describes your company’s policy on
visiting social networking sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, while at work?”

The percentage of those who answered “prohibited completely” has dropped from 54 percent in 2009 to 31 percent in 2011. Meanwhile, those who answered “permitted for business purposes only” have increased from 19 percent to 51 percent.

The percentage who said their company “permitted for limited personal use” or “permitted for any type of personal use” remains low at 14 percent and 4 percent respectively.

“Companies recognize the value of using social media for brand building, whether it’s marketing a product, offering customer service, gathering information, or simply listening to what fans and followers have to say,” said John Reed, executive director of Robert Half Technology.  

Reed noted, however, that companies draw the line at workers’ excessive personal use of social media. “Employees need to become familiar with their companies’ policies on Web use and adhere to them,” Reed said.

Robert Half Technology offers four tips for using social media sites in the workplace:

1.    Know the rules. Make sure you’re clear about what type of social networking use is permitted within your organization.
2.    Exercise discretion. Never share sensitive or confidential company information or post negative comments about your employer, or current or potential clients and customers.
3.    Get the scoop. If permissible, use social media sites at work to connect with customers and clients, follow thought leaders in your field or gather industry news.
4.    Play it safe. If you use social media on behalf of your company, make sure you protect your feeds by creating secure passwords, refraining from clicking on questionable links and limiting access to select employees.

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