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Some Workplace Social Media Stats to Start Your Week

November 12, 2012

Northeast Ohio's Employers Resource Council recently published the results of its 2012 Social Media in the Workplace Survey [pdf]. Some of the results are eye-popping (and not necessarily in a good way):

For example, I find it hard to believe that only 47 percent of organizations have a social media policy in place.

It's also hard to believe that only 27 percent of organizations in Northeast Ohio are using social media for recruiting. Some surveys peg the national number at closer to 90 percent. Is it possible that our region is that far behind the curve on this issue?

Consider these numbers on the prohibition on the use of social media in the workplace:

  • 55 percent prohibit employee use of social media during work hours on a company-issued computer
  • 43 percent prohibit employee use of social media during work hours on a company-issued mobile device
  • 32 percent prohibit employee use of social media during work hours on a personal mobile device

How about the percentage of companies that block access to various social media sites on company computers:

  • 26 percent block employee access to Facebook
  • 18 percent block YouTube
  • 17 percent block Twitter
  • 11 percent block blogs and wikis
  • 9 percent block photo-sharing sites
  • 7 percent block LinkedIn (Who is blocking LinkedIn, and why?)

With most employees keeping iPhones or Androids in their pockets, it is simply not feasible to prohibit the use of social media in the workplace, or block access to sites. The work-around via a mobile phone is just too easy for an employee to accomplish and too difficult for a company to police.

I also found enlightening the answers to this question—of organizations with a social media policy, what percentage contain these provisions:

  • Guidelines for employees professional social media use — 43 percent
  • Disclosure that social media use may be monitored — 35 percent
  • Guidelines for employees personal social media use — 32 percent
  • Guidelines for photo/video postings — 19 percent
  • Guidelines for disclosing sponsorships and affiliations — 18 percent
  • Guidelines over supervisor-employee social media interaction— 5 percent

If you are one of the 53 percent of companies that has a social media policy, and yet that policy is missing any of these key provisions, what is left for it to say?

Reading the results of this survey make it clear to me that businesses have a lot to learn about the intersection between social media and the workplace. Yet, companies are not necessarily at fault for being behind the 8-ball on these issues. The reality is that the technology is evolving more quickly than businesses can keep up with the resulting issues. After all, companies have issues on their plates other than employees' Facebook pages. Yet, the more you fall behind, the harder it becomes to catch up. The pace of these issues will not slow in the coming years. In other words, companies need to get their arms around these issues now, or risk falling off the workplace social media precipice.

Written by Jon Hyman, a partner in the Labor & Employment group of Kohrman Jackson & Krantz. For more information, contact Jon at (216) 736-7226 or jth@kjk.com.