Implementing Social Media in the Workplace
(Facing Obstacles and How to Overcome Them)
Following the American Psychological Association’s Guidelines
Social Media originally began, and has long been viewed as a solely a conduit for personal interactions, and a way for friends, family, and acquaintances to remain connected. As of 2009, Facebook alone hosted 200 million users, double from just one year earlier (Hempel, 2009). Due to social media’s increasing popularity, especially among younger people in their twenties to thirties, websites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and to a lesser extent, the websites Ning.com and Plaxo.com have grown in popularity and in scope. In the workplace, although the use of Social Network and Social Media sites during working hours for recreational purposes can be a hindrance to business productivity, and often a punishable offense, many organizations are now embracing the use of Social Media to innovate and streamline the process of employee alignment and engagement. Organizations are realizing the potential of this powerful medium to engage and align an employee to the company’s respective vision and mission. (Manpower 2009). Utilization of Social Media and Social Networks within the work atmosphere has been proven to increase core competencies amongst employees, and these networked and socially connected organizations in general outperform the typical vertical, rigid, command-and-control organizations which are not utilizing the power of Social Media platforms (Serrat 2009). Employing any of the various Social Media websites which are now part of our popular culture allows employees to perform their jobs better, and to stay connected, and also allows businesses to reach a greater audience. Implementing social media into your organization’s procedural activities can be a win/win situation if done correctly. Proper training along with appropriate supervision, to prevent these social websites availability from being exploited for personal, recreational reasons during the work day, can definitely improve a company’s profitability. One may suspect that more organizations are not using Social Media for occupational reasons during the workday because of risk of abuse of these sites because of the personal, recreational facet of the websites. This is not true, according to ERCNET.ORG. The deterrent holding back management from using Social Media more often in their company’s operations is lack of knowledge on how to use the websites, and how to implement their features. Over 69% of organizations surveyed state the primary reason they are not using Social Media sites more often in their companies is because lack of knowledge and insufficient know-how on how best to tap into this overlooked resource (ERCNET.ORG 2009). More business, especially marketing firms are embracing the use of Social Media, especially Facebook, as a valuable tool in order to market their respective goods and services, and to reach a broader audience. One cannot deny that the potential to reach Facebook’s current 750 million active users is a valuable resource which no business nor organization should deny. The business aspect of having the ability to create a business page on Facebook which users can later “like” and become a fan is a formidable tool for organizations, schools, non-profits, etc. to reach potential new customers or users of their services (Hubspot 2011). So, after much debate and contemplation, you are now considering using Social Media in your organization, and want to roll out some new procedures to your employees. Simpler said than done. Many issues have been encountered by other organizations that have begun implementing the use of Social Media sites in their business practices. Generally people reject change. They are comfortable with the status-quo. There are several obstacles in utilizing Social Media to its fullest and...
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