Jane Hart seeks rebuttal to reasons commonly given by organizations for banning social media at work. I have heard some of these. Here’s why I believe organizations should NOT ban social media, rather find ways to leverage it. Some of these are in the Indian context of hiring and retaining workforce. I am adding an 11th reason that I have heard for why organizations ban social media that could perhaps make it to the list.
11. Social media takes up too much of company’s Internet bandwidth hampering other work.
Given the advantages of social media, and reducing cost of bandwidth, it might be a very worthwhile investment by the organization. Investing in bandwidth is probably as critical, if not more, than investing in higher-end machines and laptops.
10. Social media is a fad.
If so do you want to be left behind and not know anything about it?
9. It’s about controlling the message.
If it is are you using the channels available to you and the employees? Just because social media is banned at work does not mean employees don’t have access to it at all. They are on it whether you like it or not. And if you are indeed worried about controlling the message, are you on the same channels are your employees are?
8. Employees will goof off.
If employees have to goof off they will, whether they have access to social media at work or not. If you are managing your work allocation and performance management well, and have the right business measurements in place, it doesn’t really matter whether employees goof off or not. If you are measuring the time they are spending on activities rather than the results they are expected to achieve, you are probably a lawyer or a consultant billing by the hour. I can’t comment on lawyers but as a consultant, you better focus on results or you’ll be out of business.
7. Social media is a time waster.
See point 8.
6. Social media has no business purpose.
If your customers aren’t on social media, investors aren’t on social media, stakeholders are not on social media, employees are not on social media, competition is not on social media, and you don’t believe in continual learning, keeping track of market trends etc., then yeah, perhaps social media serves no business purpose for you.
5. Employees can’t be trusted.
If you can’t trust of your employees, why are you in the business that needs employees? Do you trust them enough to let them talk on phones, use email? Then you can trust them with social media. Yeah sure there are sensitivities of using social media on which you should coach your employees, just as you would to use the phone or email. The video talks about employees can’t be trusted to not put up photos on the office party. Well what’s the harm? It’s a great opportunity to tell the world what a fun place to work your organization is, and therefore attract more talent for your organization, especially when the workforce is getting younger (also see point 4).
4. Don’t cave into the demands of the millennials.
Enough demographic studies show that in India the workforce is getting younger. Wouldn’t you want to create an environment that your workforce relates to and enjoys? Would you want to create an environment that your workforce finds stifling? You could potentially use social media access as a retention strategy.
3. Your teams already share knowledge efficiently.
Cool, so you will understand how social media makes it easier to serve this objective.
2. You’ll get viruses.
So get better anti-virus protection software and better processes to update your computer with latest patches.
1. Your competition isn't using it, so why should you?
Don’t all business gurus tell you to do things your competition isn’t doing to get ahead in business? Do you really have this as a reason for banning social media at work? Duh!