Start-ups shouldn’t underestimate the value of social media policies, new research suggests, as employees are often unclear about how to represent their organisation on social media.
A report by recruitment firm Hays, titled Tomorrow’s Workforce, is based on a survey of more than 870 employers and job candidates.
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The report looks at four issues affecting the future of Australia’s workforce: the advancement in technology, globalisation of the jobs market, diversity, and the rise of the “orange collar” worker.
The survey results suggest employees now and in the future will expect to be allowed a reasonable level of access to social media for personal use.
It found half of those surveyed already access social media for personal reasons. Of these, 13.3% said they access it daily, while 36.4% access it occasionally.
Meanwhile, one in five job candidates would turn down a job if they did not have reasonable access to sites such as Facebook, which, according to Hays, should prompt organisations to ensure their policies are up-to-date.
Fortunately, employers seem to agree with the expectations of candidates – 44.3% believe letting employees use social media at work will improve their retention levels.
Already, one third (33.2%) allow their employees access at work, while 43.2% allow limited access. Only 23.7% of employers allow no access at work.
However, more than half (56.3%) of those who said they accessed social media at work for personal reasons did not use their own devices to do so, instead using company equipment.
And one quarter (25.3%) of employees said they did not have a clear understanding of how to represent their organisation on social media.
According to Nick Deligiannis, managing director of Hays in Australia, no business should be without a social media policy.
“A social media policy [should cover] how social media is used for work-related matters, the use of it for personal matters at work, and what employees can and cannot say about your organisation,” Deligiannis says.
“If access to social media sites is allowed during working hours, the purpose of access should be made clear, as should the acceptable level of use.”
Earlier this year, Melbourne-based incubator the York Butter Factory found itself in hot water after a staff member posted a controversial tweet.
In a written apology, YBF founders Stuart Richardson and Darcy Naunton described the message of the tweet as “poorly expressed”, and misrepresentative of YBF’s values and philosophy.
“That tweet was not in any way embargoed, discussed or endorsed by the founders… I hope [the tweet is] not too damaging but this can demonstrate the power of social media,” Richardson said at the time.
Here are Hays’ tops tips for social media policies:
- Spell out how social media should be used during work hours and if it will be monitored.
- Make it clear that company email accounts should not be used to sign up for social media sites used for personal reasons.
- Explain how misuse of social media will be dealt with.