Several years ago I worked for a company that decided to block social media access. As public relations professionals, my department had to convince the company to, at the very least, grant our team access, as social media was growing in great importance to our field. Access was granted and eventually extended to the entire company. Today, all top 100 companies to work for allow employees to access social media sites … which is why I was so surprised to hear in this video report by Ragan that 57 percent of companies still don’t allow employees to access Facebook, Twitter or YouTube.
The great fear prevailing among companies that block social media access is that their employees will waste valuable company time on these sites – checking statuses, posting pictures, tweeting what they ate for lunch and the like. However, the video brings up a good point – you should trust your employees to spend their time wisely. How strong can your business be, if you don’t trust your team? You also risk making your company less appealing to Gen Y talent, who have grown up with Facebook and lead “plugged in” lifestyles. Although I doubt that blocking social media would prevent all companies from finding new employees, it definitely won’t help retain them … especially when a company is lacking one of its greatest assets – trust, pure and simple.