Can employees be trusted to use social media responsibly in the workplace?
Does it negatively impact employee performance? In this Monster video, best-selling author David Meerman Scott (The New Rules of Marketing & PR, 3rd Edition, Wiley 2011) says that with proper social media policy in place, workers can access social networks at work. The surprising result is often increased employee productivity.
By: David Meerman Scott
I think that social media within companies is an issue of trust.
If you trust your employees to do the right thing -- you give them the guidelines, of course -- but you trust them to do the right thing, you should trust them in all aspects of their behavior.
If you trust people not to spend three hours in the bathroom -- they have to go the bathroom so you let them -- if you trust people to take an hour for lunch -- you know you don’t necessarily have to look at the clock and say, “You know, that was 62 minutes!”
And so, the same thing is true of trusting people to use social networks like Twitter and Facebook and other social media platforms appropriately at work.
Yes, they can do something personal on Facebook, while they’re at work. They can check out what their friends are up to, change their status on Facebook -- that’s perfectly fine. Because you’re trusting them that they’re not going to spend five hours on Facebook.
At the same time, the interesting corollary is that when you give them that trust, you earn it back so much because they’re liable -- and many people tell me they do this all the time -- they’re liable to work on the weekends.
They’ll fire up their computers, check their work email account -- maybe do a little bit of work on a Saturday afternoon. Or on a Sunday morning -- or at 9pm on a Thursday night.
And so the trust that you give them to do the right thing -- during office hours -- almost always comes back to pay you, in dividends. Because then they’re willing to work on “their time.”
Now in my father’s day, you were at work at 9am to 5pm, Monday through Friday. And then there was some vacation time. That is so blurring in our world today. People are at work at home on a Thursday evening at 9 o’clock, checking emails -- Saturday morning -- checking email…
At the same time, it’s not a reason for you to say, “You can’t check your Facebook on a Wednesday morning at 10 o’clock at work.”
Sure you can! By all means, go ahead and check your Facebook -- because we know that you’re going to get your job done.
Now if there’s someone who’s violating that and not getting their job done, that’s a different issue -- that ‘s an HR issue -- that’s a employee behavior issue. You need to deal with that.
That’s not a Facebook problem, that’s an employee problem.
More insights from David Meerman Scott:
• Monster Video: Social Media and Real-Time Marketing
• Social Media Wisdom from the Grateful Dead: Be Yourself
• Use Social Media Monitoring to Track the Buzz about your Business