Tag Archives: Social Media

Social Media in the Workplace

In a recent report, it was estimated that workers spent an average of 7.5 hours during the week on social media…and that was just time spent during the work day.

7.5 hours is a full work day, which means that employers are losing out on 1.5 hours a day of productivity from their employees.

The most popular times for checking out social networks at work were between 10-11 a.m. and 3-4 p.m.

“Particularly for those with office-based jobs, it’s not difficult to see why they might get tempted to access their social network profiles when they should be working. Especially with the introduction of things like Tweet Deck and Facebook’s push notifications, it’s actually harder than ever to switch off,” said George Charles, marketing director at VoucherCodesPro.

Recent trends show that more than half of US employers are blocking social media access at the workplace. A variety of fears have led to this, led by certainty that time spent on Facebook or Twitter is productivity the company can never get back.

By implementing a complete block of social media, leaders and managers are able to rest easy, secure in the knowledge that their employees are spending their time doing the work for which they’re being paid, right?

Nothing could be farther from the truth. The truth is…

  • Blocking social media access is a costly exercise that simply doesn’t work.
  • Employee use of social media in the workplace doesn’t necessarily adversely affect productivity.
  • There are distinct advantages to allowing — and even encouraging — employees to use social media sites while at work.
  • The future of business is a networked future. Employers who figure out the right balance will be more competitive. Those that don’t will be left behind.

The Futility of Blocking

Do you have a smart phone? An iPhone, an Android, or any of the dozens of other models available? You can surf the Web, access social networks, send and receive messages on Twitter and engage in all kinds of other online activities. So can your employees.

Blocking access to social sites via your company networks won’t stop most employees from engaging in the same behavior the blocks were designed to prevent.  It is often counterproductive, with the time employees spend finding a way to the sites they want to visit being more time-consuming than actually visiting the sites.

Productivity Trends Tell the Story

If worker productivity is at an all-time low, why do US Department of Labor statistics paint a different picture in which productivity continues to rise?

The answer is simple. Productivity is not a measure of the time employees spend at work engaged in non-work activities. It’s a measure of output. And the use of social media can actually help increase employee output.

A study conducted at the University of Melbourne found that employees with access to social networks were actually more productive than employees in companies that block access. According to Dr. Brent Coker, employees who can reward themselves between the completion of one task and the start of another with a visit to their Facebook page are more invigorated and get more done. According to the study, they get 9 percent more accomplished than their blocked counterparts.

Getting to the Crux of the Matter

There will always be employees who waste time. There always have been, long before computers were introduced to the workplace. Addressing this problem is a management issue, not a technological one.

There’s more to the productivity issue, though. Among workers, the fact that they are networked means they can work anywhere. Think about it. Do you check your email on your mobile phone as soon as you get up? That’s a work-related activity at home. Employees review reports while at their kids’ soccer games. They take overseas calls after dinner. They draft reports before bed.

How many of your employees arrive at 9 and leave at 5? An employee who arrives at 7:30 a.m. and leaves at 6:30 p.m. can spend two hours on Facebook and still put in a solid eight hours of work — plus the time they spend working when they’re away from the office.

It’s also worth remembering that the same productivity paranoia was raised over the telephone and email.

Blocking social media is now considered quite an antiquated idea.  The crux of the matter comes down to whether you’ve hired good employees or not.  If you have a hardworking employee, they are going to work hard for you. If you’ve hired a time-waster, then they will waste time no matter if social media is available or not.

Clean Up Your Social Media & Get a Job!

In a recent poll, 18 percent of employers reported finding content on social networking sites that caused them to hire or not hire a candidate.

Let’s face it: if you don’t want a future employer to see it – don’t post it!

Or, if you’ve already posted it, here are a few tips to clean up your social media accounts:

Consider your Privacy

Review your privacy settings for connecting on Facebook. Consider whether you’d want a potential employer to have access to your friend list, or see your likes, dislikes, and other connections. If the answer is no, make sure your setting for those options reads friends only. If you want to display your education degrees, on the other hand, make sure “Everyone” can see your credentials.

Choose what you share

It may be wise to limit access to information like status updates, photos, and other posts; photos and videos you’re tagged in; places you check in to; and religious and political views. You can also remove or edit any potentially controversial information from those areas. If you’re concerned about age discrimination, don’t include the year you were born.

Review Facebook photos

  • Even if you’ve restricted most elements of your Facebook profile to friends only, play it safe by reviewing all photos of yourself and removing or untagging any pictures you wouldn’t want a human resources department to see. Make sure your profile photo is attractive and projects maturity.
  • More than half of human resource workers surveyed cited provocative or inappropriate photos and information as the biggest reason they didn’t hire someone.

Hide Some Friends

Review your Facebook profile’s Wall. Potential employers will judge you by the company you keep, so hide any posts or friends who might reflect badly on you. Move your cursor to the right side of a post you want to remove, click the “X” that appears, then click on “Hide this post” to remove just that item, or “Hide all by” to remove all posts by that friend.

Proceed cautiously

Now that you’ve cleaned up your Facebook profile for potential employers, proceed cautiously with future postings. And, whatever your status update, don’t use emoticons to express yourself: 12 percent of employers who use Facebook as a screening method say they would not hire someone who uses them.  :(

For more information on cleaning up your Facebook account, visit http://www.howcast.com/videos/496774-How-to-Clean-Up-Your-Facebook-Profile-for-Potential-Employers

Social Media and Business

Since virtually everything is online now, your business should be too.  Perhaps you have a website and have left it at that.  That was fine five years ago, but in order to thrive and get the presence you want, you have got to do more.

Many businesses are figuring things out and making their presence known on sites such as Facebook and Twitter.  There are a few ground rules businesses should follow when using these sites.

1.  Never Link Your Business Site with Your Personal One.  No one wants to see drunk pics of their favorite business owner at last year’s holiday party, or family pictures, or even pictures of that trophy elk you shot this year (unless you own a hunting store that is).

2.  Keep the Interactions Brief.  When you set up your Facebook or Twitter account – set some ground rules about when you’re going to utilize these sites.  Don’t overwhelm people with your posts, but don’t underwhelm them either.  If you’re going to set something up, use it and use it well.

3.  Make it Fun.  Have regular contests that promote your business.  If you’re a dentist, then offer a contest for free cleanings or $50 off a service.  If you own an automotive repair shop, give away a free oil change or something with similar value.  People love contests, but make it easy to enter and make it fun.

4.  Keep the Information Pertinent.  There is nothing more annoying than subscribing to a business Facebook page and then being bombarded with annoying posts.  Keep your information about your industry, not filled with political opinions or needless advice.  For example, if you’re a doctor’s office, give healthy living tips…information that people will value and not get annoyed about.  Or, if you are a retail store, use these sites to promote sales, overstock items, clearance and whatever else you want to clear out.  If people get valuable information from you, they will value you as a contact.

5.  Keep it Professional.  As much as we want our businesses to be friendly and outgoing, we also desire a true professional.  Keep your online conversations respectful, positive and not so focused on your individual business that you drive people away.

There are many social media experts out there, but you truly don’t need one if you can educate yourself about how to set these sites up and begin using them appropriately and tailored to your specific needs.

Your Business Habits will Change Your Business

In his book, “The Power of Habits,” author Charles Duhigg cites many studies all relating to how habits shape our personal lives, businesses/careers and basically every facet of our lives.

It all boils down to the old adage, “If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always got.”

In business, if you are not happy with how things are going, then change the way you do things.

If you want to make your business more tech-friendly, then start using social media, start accepting online employment applications, get your website up to snuff, and basically change your business habits.

Businesses who don’t use social media or do online job applications can often seem antiquated in today’s world.  Changing a few things up will make a huge difference in the way things are perceived in your business.

Changing business habits may be hard to do, but having a fresh outlook will bring new energy to your business and improve things all around.

Using Social Media to Find a Job

The old adage, it’s “who you know not what you know” couldn’t be more true in a job search…at least it feels true a lot of the time.

In today’s job market, finding your dream job can seem just that – a dream.

Due to the explosion in social media, finding a job is easier than ever before.

When looking for employment after being fired from a job, or because of a layoff and other less than desirable scenarios, many people withdraw into themselves.  They are depressed.  They are worried for their future.  And they don’t want anyone to know about it.

People don’t want to look like a loser or desperate and so they say nothing to others around them.

This is a totally wrong approach.

Those around you, your friends and especially your contacts on sites such as Facebook and Twitter can help you, but they need to know how.

First, do a post that says something like, “Hey, I am currently looking for a new job (you don’t need to give details on why), in this industry (fill in the blank) and I would really appreciate any ideas you guys might have on fantastic companies who are hiring.”

People love helping people and if they know you are looking for a job, they will be keeping their eyes and ears open for you.

Also, keep people in the loop on your job search.  For example, after a job interview, post something like, “Just had a great job interview, but I don’t quite feel it’s ‘the one’ – I’m still looking for a great job in this ________ industry, any ideas?”

Keep people updated and keep it very positive and your social media buddies will be your greatest asset when trying to find a job.