Social Media in the Workplace: What Are the Opportunities and Risks for Your Firm?
If your organization does or does not have a social media policy, here are some things to consider.
July 11, 2011
If your firm is still weighing the risks and benefits of social media and the value of allowing employees to access these sites at work, you’re not alone. A survey by our company found that, although financial executives see business opportunities in employees using social media on the job, they’re also concerned about the possible downside.
Approximately half (51%) of executives interviewed recently for a Robert Half International survey said their greatest concern related to employees’ use of social media at work is that staff members may be wasting time during business hours using sites such as Facebook and Twitter. Almost one-fifth (18 percent) said they also worry that their staff may behave unprofessionally or post inappropriate information online. Eleven percent said they had specific concerns about employees posting financial or confidential company information and 10 percent worried about staff members making negative comments about the firm.
Despite these misgivings, executives also see potential in the use of social media for their business: 28 percent said it could help their firms provide better customer service. Other possibilities, according to respondents: 22 percent said social media could be used to enhance their firm’s reputation, 20 percent said it could help them expand their network of contacts and 18 percent said it could be beneficial in securing new business.
In fact, many organizations are finding social media to be a boon when it comes to raising their profile, building brand equity, promoting products and services and connecting with target audiences. Firms can also gain valuable insights into customer needs and expectations simply by having a social media presence and empowering employees to leverage new technologies to gather business intelligence. In addition, professionals in customer-facing roles can leverage social media networks to communicate directly with customers and quickly address service issues as they arise.
Although businesses continue to explore how they can best capitalize on the advantages of social media while minimizing any risks, one thing is certain: The influence of social media has grown significantly, both inside and outside the workplace. With this in mind, firms may want to ask themselves the following questions if they haven’t already:
As more and more firms are realizing, social media offers many intriguing opportunities for their businesses. But the challenge for most firms is to find a way to seize the power of social media for business advantage while minimizing unnecessary risks.
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