Online interaction brings benefits to organizations

Posted on February 27, 2013 07:09 am

Social media platforms have been embraced by many organizations and companies who are using them for marketing as well as in some cases product design. Research shows that social media can increase productivity in organizations and some are using the platforms to recruit new staff. In some countries like Finland, there has been studies that show it has sparked innovation while in Norway the platforms have created plenty of collaborative corporate communities. The use of social media in the workplace also has its benefits with organizations using the platforms as a way to equip their staff with the information needed to excel in an increasing highly competitive marketplace.

Social media has also helped transform organizations communications system and created greater accountability among employees who themselves find that social media make their lives easier. Organizations already using social media to engage employees have had immense benefits of allowing them to access social networks at the workplace. Some of the benefits are access to information and solutions to problems. There is also a medium of sharing knowledge and information between employees and clients. Organizations have also used it as a basis for better team building and internal structure in the workplace. Other companies have raised the alarm about social media distracting employees during working hours and some have ended up blocking access at the workplace.

Some of them have claimed that there is potential exposure of the company’s computers and network to viruses and spyware. I know of an organization that blocked Facebook and Twitter for what they termed as a loss in productivity affecting the bottom line. Another company based in Sydney where a friend works blocked social media channels because there was a reduction of available bandwidth for the business. In San Francisco, I know of an IT company that cited legal liabilities and potential leakage of sensitive company information. In my opinion, the worries are justified but to me it makes no sense to attempt to block access to social media at work.

In another company in Melbourne, after the management blocked Facebook and Twitter use, most staff use their phones to access Facebook, Twitter and email. Whether you like it or not as an employer there’s no stopping social media because it’s an idea and social behavior whose time has come. I see no reason why any sane management would even contemplate banning the social networking sites because they help business reach and engage customers. In some instances they improve the customer experience, help develop new products and services, and polish the brand image of the business. A well-managed and effective security of social networking requires that organizations fuse education and behavioral change of staff with a robust technology that constantly monitors for risks.

A recently released research noted that social media users visit sites such as Google +, Facebook and Twitter for unrelated business purposes for at least half an hour per day while at work. The use of social media in the workplace has its benefits and has become the preferred channel of communication for many people including me. I have no doubt in my mind that enterprise social media tools can benefit businesses in many ways. The best way to implementing a proactive security strategy that creates effective user policies, educating employees on the acceptable use of social media is by having a security strategy and policies that are essential to protect the companies and brands.

Contador Harrison