Intolerance of social networks could hurt SMEs

Employers who impose strict policies against the use of social networking tools designed for business are at risk of alienating 'Generation Facebook' from joining their organisation, research finds.

Employers who impose strict policies against the use of social networking tools designed for business are at risk of alienating ‘Generation Facebook’ from joining their organisation, research finds. Nearly half (47.8 per cent) of  younger workers (aged 16 – 24) claim they would not work for companies which impose such measures, according to a study of more than 1,000 respondents by recruitment solutions provider hyphen.

The research finds that the use of online networking sites such as LinkedIn while at work is now a norm for younger people, with almost two thirds (58.7 per cent) of respondents believing that having access to social networking tools at work actually increases their effectiveness as an employee.

By contrast, less than a third (28.3 per cent) of 35-44-year-olds say they wouldn’t work for companies that banned social media and this drops to a fifth (19.8 per cent) in the 45-54 age bracket. The study also suggests that employer concerns over workers wasting time on social networking sites could be ill-founded with more than half (55.5 per cent) of the total workforce claiming to spend less than ten minutes a day on their personal affairs and, of this, close to a third (31.3 per cent) claim not to spend any time at all using social media for personal use during work time.

Hyphen managing director Zain Wadee says, ‘The impact of social media on the UK’s younger workforce is very evident and is something that should be both accounted for and sufficiently appraised by businesses. ‘Generation Facebook’ has grown up with 24/7 social media access and they see no reason why LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter should not also play a part in their working life.

From my experience with clients, they are increasingly adopting flexible policies towards social media use, which is the right approach.

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