News and views on what matters to me: mindfulness, leadership, public relations, marketing, social media, pop culture and every now and then I will surprise you with something else.
Before social media platforms such as facebook, twitter, myspace etc started to take over the web, the term “cyberslacking” simply referred to surfing the web or checking e-mail while an individual was supposed to be working. With so much to do on the web and so many “friends” to keep up with, it is becoming increasingly difficult to measure productivity of individual employees. Many companies have put filters on social media websites which is their way of ensuring that a high level of productivity remains.
Are filters really the answer? Is it really considered slacking when an employee is using social media or social networking? Starting to cross-over into the digital world, social media platforms aren’t just a distraction that take away from the actual work that needs to get done. Depending on the industry, these tools can be a very useful supplement to creating an engaged workforce that is creating unique opportunities. Social media allows individuals to share content, knowledge and ideas with like-minded people. An employer that is in the marketing industry or in any company that thrives on trends, sharing news and stories with the public should think twice before placing filter. Although not all employees use the tools to further their career or professional interests, the few that do can really make a big difference. As this is still a new frontier reasonable guidelines do need to be set which can still allow the employees doing “good” with the platform to continue growing. In some instances workshops and training sessions on how to use the technology properly should be implemented.
Great example of social media platforms being a mixed blessing comes from the military community. If you read one of my earlier posts, “Military Community Rocks Twitter” you will learn about how the community has embraced social media to communicate with the public, share information and obtain feedback. The interesting part comes from the fact that leaders were utilizing the medium in the best way while the average soldiers or government employees had filters on their computers not allowing them to get in on the conversation. Since this news was first reported certain Army bases lifted bans from twitter and there are programs being put in place on how to train soldiers on the proper use of social media. If not addressed, serious security and branding issues can come from improper use.
With every new technology or change that happens there is always a learning curve. It is much easier to ignore the issue and place bans on sites to ensure control over employees and not have to worry about any negative implications that can happen. Although that seems like the easy answer, it may not necessarily be the right one. Taking time to understand this platform and how to allow employees to integrate it into their daily professional lives will only benefit the company in the long run, because lets face it-social media is not going anywhere, it will only become more prevalent in the way we do business.