In this day and age, everybody – and I mean everybody – is on social media, and that includes your employees. While the idea of employees spending time on social media sites during working hours makes a lot of employers extremely uncomfortable, there are many ways that you can allow social media to be used in the workplace without hindering productivity, and in some cases you might even see your company benefit from doing so.
It’s easy to get frustrated thinking about how much time your employees are probably wasting on social media and how much productivity is going out the window with every Tweet or Like. So it’s not too surprising that some employers are turning hostile toward social media altogether – enforcing a strict anti-social media policy throughout the office, blocking social media sites from staff computers, or even going so far as to ask employees for their social media user names and passwords so they can login and monitor usage.
On the other hand, there are some companies that have come to terms with the fact that their employees are using social media, and have found a way to make it work.
Here are five things you can do to find a balance between your employees’ social media
Create a social media policy
If you’re going to consider allowing your employees to use social media in the workplace on any level, then you first need to come up with a comprehensive social media policy that is distributed and agreed to by everyone in the company. Make sure the policy spells out what is and what is not allowed regarding social media at work. For example: Can employees use social media at all while at work? If so, when is it appropriate to log on? Are there any types of social media content that are explicitly prohibited at work? What are the ramifications for someone who abuses the social media policy?
Allow employees to use social media on work computers – on their own time
If you don’t want to block social media sites altogether, but don’t want your employees checking out their Facebook feed instead of getting their work done, institute a rule that allows employees to check their social media sites on their own time – mainly during lunch and during breaks, or if they get to work early or stay late. To help enforce this, there are some browser plugins out there that allow you to limit the amount of time someone spends on a particular site, so you could set these up on your employees’ computers to make sure they aren’t abusing the privilege.
Encourage employees to promote your company on social media
If you’ve come to terms with the idea of your employees using social media while at work and are a little more lenient about it, then you should at least encourage them to seize every possible opportunity to promote your company on social media. That way, employees will feel more free to check their social media sites throughout the day, and will in turn be more likely to post good news and positive reviews about your company while online. Whether you own a call center or customer service company, mechanic shop or grocery store, you should start to see some positive feedback almost immediately.
Set up your own social media team
If there are a group of employees who are extremely interested in social media, why not allow them to act as your company’s social media marketing team, using some of their time to set up a company page on all the social media sites, promote your company and your services or products online, and engage with current and potential customers. This is a great marketing technique and you might be pleasantly surprised with the return you end up getting from your social media efforts.
Focus more on trusting your employees
At the end of the day, you should be able to trust the actions of your employees, otherwise they probably weren’t very good team members to begin with. Companies that are more willing to trust their employees to monitor their own actions and workloads are more likely to have employees that are happier, more productive, and more willing to speak highly of their employers. Besides, you have to remember that social media isn’t the only distraction out there, and if you can’t trust an employee to stay away from social media long enough to get their work done, how do you know they’re not wasting just as much time reading text messages, checking their email, taking long breaks, etc. On the flip side, if an employee logs in to social media occasionally throughout the day, but still manages to do their work well and on time, there is probably no need to monitor everything they do.
If you simply implement some – or all – of these ideas in your company, you shouldn’t have to worry about employees misusing social media during the workday. Instead, you should see employees become more happy, more trustworthy, and more productive, while your company gets some help with inbound marketing and outbound marketing, in return giving you a great reputation.
Author Bio:- Lynn Hill is a marketing manager working in North Carolina. She writes about business, management, sports, and fashion, writing for companies such as Spanning.com.