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Social Media and your employees; a benefit or risk?

The use of social media by employees has been steadily increasing for well over a decade. Although social media had previously been recognised as being widely used outside of office environments, it is now commonly accepted as playing a key part of many employee’s day to day work activities.

There are benefits for businesses associated with their employee’s appropriate use of social media, however the flip side of this is that there are also potential risks to the business. Here we look at some of the plus points, potential pitfalls and the elements employers should take into consideration.


Relationship Building

The use of social media can promote a bond between employee and customer, strengthening professional relationships, enhancing the clients experience and overall opinion of the business.


Job Satisfaction and Productivity

Employee to employee communication can be enhanced via the use of social platforms as friendships are created, which can lead to a happier experience of being at work and increased job satisfaction.

A 2017 study published in Computers in Human Behaviour found that time spent on Facebook could be positively linked to job satisfaction. Additionally, it suggested that employee productivity can actually be boosted by being allowed to spend short amounts of time at work on social media.


Brand image and Marketing

An employer’s brand and image can be promoted organically via social media platforms. Each time an employee writes something positive about the company the business is effectively being endorsed by that employee. If they then go on to share a post from the business page the business is reaching a wider audience, so they are advertising your business for free.


Of course the positives mentioned above also come with an element of risk to the business. Productivity could be negatively affected if the employees use of social media means that they are spending vast amounts of time on these platforms and the quality of their work declines. Just as a negative or unprofessional comment from an employee on social media could affect the image the business has worked so hard to obtain. Another concern would be the potential damage to the businesses reputation if an employee’s online relationship with a customer over stepped the mark. Bullying via social networks is also sadly something that does occur and would need to be taken into account when planning an organisations stand point on their employees use of social media, as well as being included in the businesses Harassment Policy.


Business plans should take into account the use of social media, and whilst the benefits of the appropriate use of social networks can certainly boost a company's marketing efforts, creating a social media policy for the business that clearly sets out the company's stance is vital.


If you need support introducing a social media policy, harassment policy or you require HR advice, you can contact us at info@seed-hr.co.uk or fill in the form on our contact page.

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