For or against Social Media usage in the office?

2 September 2013 by Mark Williams

We interviewed Shelley Fishel, Founder of The IT Training Surgery. She shared with us her perspective on this trending topic, as the Social Media usage debate continues in most sectors.

  • How do you think Social Media has evolved within companies in the latest years?

In the last 10 years social media has grown significantly in its usage and become an integral part of running a business. It's a particularly useful marketing tool for enterprises of all shapes and sizes. However, from an employer’s perspective, social networking sites are not always good news. Whilst it’s essential that your employees can access social networking sites in order to promote your company’s products and events, and to engage with existing clients and potential new customers, it can be difficult to prevent workers from using these sites to conduct their personal affairs.

  • What do you think is the main dilemma that Social Media involves for employers?

Whilst it’s not desirable for workers to have unlimited access to social networking sites during office hours, some networking sites are specifically aimed at the business market. Allowing employees to have a presence on these websites can be a positive step for your business, driving internet traffic to your company website. Professional networking sites are useful when scouting for new employees, as they allow you to learn more about candidates’ career history and professional achievements. However, personal pages on social networking sites can also reveal the less desirable aspects of a candidate’s personal or professional life, as many potential recruits have learnt the hard way.

  • Do you have any advice on managing the usage of Social Media in the office?

Why not run courses for your employees in the sensible and effective use of social networking sites at work? Such training might include talks from HR managers on the importance of maintaining privacy and discretion on personal pages, as well as tips on how to maximise social networking sites for marketing and PR purposes. Social media is a must-have tool for employers as it has many uses in diverse fields such as marketing and recruitment. Nevertheless, both employers and employees need to be aware of the importance of discretion and of keeping personal and professional accounts separate.

What is your company policy on Social Media?  Are you for or against its use at work?

Shelley Fishel has more than a dozen years’ experience in helping people to get more from their computers.  After working for an IT training organisation Shelley decided to ‘do her own thing’ when she realised the limitations of delivering standard courses. Connect with Shelley on @shelleyfishel

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