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Social media in the workplace: Oh what to do!?

Social Media in the Workplace

Social Media in the Workplace

If you’re reading this blog post, I’ll bet that you’re at work, on company time. Should you feel bad about that? I’d like to believe that what you’re reading has value, and will add to your understanding of today’s workplace and HR practices, and maybe that’s justification enough. But I wouldn’t be surprised if, besides reading blogs, you also looked at your Facebook account and maybe even sent a few tweets while at work. What’s your justification for those non-work activities?

A growing number of employees across Canada and around the world—particularly among the younger generations—feel there’s no need to justify using social media at work—it’s just an integral part of life today; but there are very good reasons, and employers would do well to consider them. These reasons include increased and better networking opportunities and business leads; cheap or free marketing and public relations; enhanced internal communications, collaboration and camaraderie; and employee goodwill toward employers. Moreover, companies who adopt social media techniques can appear forward-thinking, possibly even attaining the coveted and evanescent status of “cool”.

It all just sounds so good and easy, doesn’t it? And chances are, if you’re reading this, you’ve heard it all before, too.

But while using social media in a corporate setting might be as good as it sounds, it’s certainly not so easy. A number of things stand in the way of social media implementation in workplaces, the main obstacle being a conservative culture that looks with trepidation on major changes and fears losing control of its communications. Don’t get me wrong: these are valid concerns, and I try not to blame companies for trying to protect themselves as best they can from things that appear beyond their control, especially things that look to some eyes like trends or passing fads. I might, however, criticize a company that refuses even to listen to the changes taking place around them, especially if it’s their own employees who are doing the talking.

So how do you control your corporate communications in the Facebook era? (That’s an actual question to which I’d like to hear your answers, and a rhetorical question that I’ll look at in my follow-up post.)

Adam Gorley
First Reference Human Resources and Compliance Assistant Editor

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Adam Gorley

Adam Gorley is a copywriter, editor and researcher at First Reference. He contributes regularly to First Reference Talks, Inside Internal Controls and other First Reference publications. He writes about general HR issues, accessibility, privacy, technology in the workplace, accommodation, violence and harassment, internal controls and more. Read more
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