Recently I’ve been noticing more and more companies here in Malaysia putting a barrier around their employees, preventing them from accessing social media tools within the premise. While some go about a complete ban, some left room for the marketing department to roam about freely.
Is that a good move?
It is fully understandable that social media tools especially Facebook, Twitter and blogging can be a huge time waster at work. Employees may be playing games, chatting away or busy updating their personal blogs instead of being ‘productive’ at the workplace. It’s no wonder why companies have to resort to a complete ban.
However, it is also interesting to note that some of these companies are supposedly customer centric, saying that they listen to their customers and etc but at the same time, staying out of social media. Strange indeed.
Blogs (social media) doesn’t get people fired, people get people fired. - Deb Schultz, Altimeter Group
To me, social media should not be banned in a company at all. Instead, companies should establish clear guidelines on how social media can be used. Companies such as Dell takes social media very seriously and goes to the extend of training their employees in this area and they have been utmost successful.
IBM takes a different approach by allowing their employees to write their social media policy for them. Sounds absurd? Not really, considering the fact that since the employees will be the ones using social media, they should be the ones setting the guidelines. In fact, they are more likely to keep to it if they formed it themselves. Plus giving your employees this liberty may cultivate an innovative culture in your company.
Some companies don’t even have rules to regulate social media usage. They simply let their employees do what they like, as long they perform in the end.
So.. What’s the Conclusion?
There is really no hard and fast rule in implementing / regulating social media in a company. I really do prefer both Dell and IBM’s way of doing it but it also depends on your comfort level as a business owner in the industry. Remember, social media can act as both an asset and a liability to your brand. Experiment with techniques and find out what’s best for your environment – social media only works when you try.