Should You Let Employees Use Social Media on the Job?
By: Sophie Lizard
Research has shown, employees using social media at work cost U.S. businesses an average of $4,500 per employee per year. Is that money your business can afford to lose?
You see several different strategies regarding employee social media use, from companies that block access to social media sites in the workplace right through to those that encourage employees to tweet on the job. So what's the right strategy for your company?
Employee Evangelism Online
Enthusiastic employees who genuinely love their job can be a huge benefit to you via their social media accounts. Not only do you have the option of making them official representatives through the company's social profiles. Even if you don't make it part of their contract they will still sing the company's praises through their personal accounts.
One thing watch out for is where those two overlap.
An employee's personal account doesn't belong to the company, so be wary of creating a situation where an employee uses their personal account to represent the business. If that employee moves on and takes their personal profiles with them, you stand to lose any followers they've built up.
Is It a Big Waste of Time?
If your employees are distracted by incoming social media updates, productivity falls. It's not just the time spent reading and responding to social media friends that's wasted; the lost focus means that it can easily take 20 minutes or more to get back on track with work.
With 95 million tweets per day flying around the internet, there is potential for a lot of distraction . No wonder some businesses simply block all access to social media... but all that achieves is to push hardcore social media lovers into using their own mobile device and data allowance to sneak onto social networks instead.
There's an interesting flip side too: some studies have found that taking short social media breaks at work can actually boost productivity by giving your brain a change of scenery!
Read related content:
- Top Five Social Media Sites For Business
- Social Media Tool that Encourages Employee Motivation
- SEC Approves Social Media for Official Company Announcements
- Social Customer Service in E-Commerce
What's Your Reputation?
One big concern for many businesses is that an employee may make a social media slip-up like Tweeting negative comments about a customer.
Sure, a lot of Twitter users say in their bio that "opinions are my own and don't represent those of my employer", but when a customer is upset, that disclaimer doesn't mean much to them.
If you are concerned about your business' online reputation, you might want to consider a Reputation Management Firm to help you control what shows up on the first few pages of search results. That way you can make a better impression on people who Google your company.
There is a fine line between encouraging occasional social breaks and allowing a social media free-for-all throughout the working day.
Exactly where you draw your line in the sand depends on your company culture and objectives, so experiment if necessary to decide your best strategy.
How social are your employees?
About the Author: Sophie Lizard covers business topics for a variety of sites, including Reputation.com.
Marketing matters: from IBM to Kyndryl
Prior to joining Kyndryl as Chief Marketing Officer, Maria had a 25-year career at IBM, most recently as the tech giant’s CMO where she oversaw all marketing professionals and activities across North America, Canada and Latin America. She has held senior global marketing positions in a variety of disciplines and business units across IBM, most notably strategic initiatives in Smarter Cities and Watson Customer Engagement, as well as leading teams in services, business analytics, and mobile and industry solutions. She is known for her work with teams to leverage data, analytics and cloud technologies to build deeper engagements with customers and partners.
With a passion for marketing, business and people, and a recognized expert in data-driven marketing and brand engagement, Maria talks to Business Chief about her new role, her leadership style and what success means to her.
You've recently moved from IBM to Kyndryl, joining as CMO. Tell us about this exciting new role?
I’m Chief Marketing Officer for Kyndryl, the independent company that will be created following the separation from IBM of its Managed Infrastructure Services business, expected to occur by the end of 2021. My role is to plan, develop, and execute Kyndryl's marketing and advertising initiatives. This includes building a company culture and brand identity on which we base our marketing and advertising strategy.
We have an amazing opportunity ahead at Kyndryl to create a company brand that will stand apart in the market by leading with our people first. Once we are an independent company, each Kyndryl employee will advance the vital systems that power human progress. Our people are devoted, restless, empathetic, and anticipatory – key qualities needed as we build on existing customer relationships and cultivate new ones. Our people are at the heart of this business and I am deeply hopeful and excited for our future.
What experiences have helped prepare you for this new opportunity?
I’ve had a very rich and diverse career history at IBM that has lasted 25+ years. I started out in sales but landed explored opportunities at IBM in different roles, business units, geographies, and functions. Marketing and business are my passions and I landed on Marketing because it allowed me to utilize both my left and right brain, bringing together art and science. In college, I was no tonly a business major, but an art major. I love marketing because I can leverage my extensive knowledge of business, while also being able to think openly and creatively.
The opportunities I was given during my time at IBM and my natural curiosity have led me to the path I’m on now and there’s no better next career step than a once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity to help launch a company. The core of my role at Kyndryl is to create a culture centered on our people and growing up in my career at IBM has allowed me to see first-hand how to prioritize people and ensure they are at the heart of progress in everything Kyndryl will do.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I believe that people aren't your greatest assets, they are your only assets. My platform and background for leadership has always been grounded in authenticity to who I am and centered on diversity and inclusion. I immigrated to the US from Chile when I was 10 years old and so I know the power and beauty that comes from leaning into what makes you different from other people, and that's what I want every person in my marketing organization to feel – the value in bringing their most authentic self to work every day. The way our employees feel when they show up for themselves authentically is how they will also show up for our customers, and strong relationships drive growth.
I think this is especially true in light of a world forever changed by the pandemic. Living through such an unprecedented time has reinforced that we are all humans. We can't lead or care for one another without empathy and I think leaders everywhere have been reminded of this.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
When I was growing up as an immigrant in North Carolina, I often wanted to be just like everyone else. But my mother always told me: Be unique, be memorable – you have an authentic view and experience of the world that no one else will ever have, so don't try to be anyone else but you.
What does success look like to you?
I think the concept of success is multi-faceted. From a career perspective, being in a job where you're respected and appreciated, and where you can see how your contributions are providing value by motivating your teams to be better – that's success! From a personal perspective, there is no greater accomplishment than investing in the next generation. I love mentoring younger professionals – they are the future. I want my legacy as a leader to include providing value in work culture, but also in leaving a personal impact on the lives of professionals who will carry the workforce forward. Finding a position in life with a job and company that offers me a chance at all of that is what success looks like to me.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
I've always been a naturally curious person and it's easy for me to over-commit to projects that pique my interest. I've learned over years of practice how to manage that, so to my younger self I’d say… prioritize the things that are most important, and then become amazing at those things.