According to a new study released by international law firm Proskauer, employers are becoming increasingly likely to punish employees who misuse social media. The study goes on to suggest that not only are such restrictions necessary, but they should be enacted more widely, and carried out more stringently.
The study, titled “Social Media in the Workplace Around the World 3.0,” used data from 2013-2014 from multiple countries, and compared it to data from previous years in order to get an idea of how employer perceptions of social employee media usage are changing. Almost 90% of businesses themselves use social media, the study found — which can increase the potential for its misuse.
Considering that a majority these businesses also report that social media has brought exposure to their brand and increased their appearances in search engine results, it seems likely that learning to navigate social media in business settings will remain a quandary for many years to come.
According to the survey, 30% of polled businesses prohibited the use of social websites for non-business use, 41% monitored employee social media usage, and 36% used formal (software) blocks on access. In all categories, increases were observed from the year before.
The study also pointed out how problems with social media usage have been on the rise, which likely had a correlating impact on how frequently employers had to use discipline. “For the 1st time since conducting this survey, the majority of businesses have had to deal with social media misuse,” the study says. Enacting discipline and setting clear guidelines of a company’s expectations will be key for businesses making sure that employees are not only spending company time wisely, but also representing it in a befitting manner.
Proskauer recommends that business conduct annual audits to make sure their social media policies comply with legal requirements, make employee training and education regarding social media usage a priority, identify specific risks (such as privacy concerns) to employees, use clear guidelines, and implement provisions to deal with ex-employees.