When it comes to social networking in the workplace, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. The benefits of social networking platforms vary based on platform type, features and the company itself.
Social networking platforms may allow organizations to improve communication and productivity by disseminating information among different groups of employees in a more efficient manner. While it is not meant to be all-inclusive, the list below outlines some of the possible advantages and disadvantages of social media use by workplaces.
Employers do have the right to simply ban all computer activity that is not work-related, but this approach may not yield optimal results. If employees are to be allowed access to social networking platforms, then a comprehensive and well-defined policy should be established to prevent abuse.
A social networking use policy generally:
What may be the most concerning aspect of social networking platforms is that they encourage people to share personal information. Even the most cautious and well-meaning individuals can give away information they should not; the same applies to what is posted on company-approved social networking platforms.
Employees may not be aware of how their actions online may compromise company security. Educate employees as to how a simple click on a received link or a downloaded application can result in a virus infecting their computer and the network. Advise them not to click on suspicious links and to pay careful attention when providing personal information online. Remember that just because employees may have an online profile, it doesnt necessarily mean they have a high level of security awareness.
Employers should also note that social media policies must not interfere with the rights of employees under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) to discuss wages and working conditions with co-workers. The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) provides some guidance for employers on social media policies in a May 2012 Operations Management Memo.
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