Aug 18, 2007

Why I wouldn't block Facebook There are a few news stories regarding employers who are blocking social networking sites, this is a dangerous policy in my humble opinion! First of all, for all the wise words on values at recruitment interviews or on the wall in the reception, this one action is saying "Despite your high salary, despite your talent, despite the fact I said I valued/trusted you....I don't - on this occasion I will treat you like a child.I will allow the actions of a few to determine the policy for all" For me the problem is not overuse of Facebook, it is Why are people that bored with their work that they spend all their time on facebook? What are the managers doing? Why aren't the managers dealing with the people "abusing" the open culture? Facebook is no different to any other communication. If someone stands at the coffee machine for hours on end you would talk to them,discipline them if necessary but you wouldn't ban every person having coffee (I hope!) I find the reason that companies make blanket bans is that their managers are afraid of handling the situation. Instead of banning sites, I would spend the time on management development - how to coach, how to handle difficult employees, communication skills, motivating people etc I would spend time on ensuring you have people who can lead, who can inspire, who can motivate, who can manage their would reduce the need for rules, policies and time spent on constant recruitment. My 5 reasons for allowing access would be I find if you treat people as adults they behave as adults This is a great networking tool - think of how you can benefit from their contacts. Remember if you ban all those contacts will find out! Social networking is part of society. If you ban the way many people communicate, you will create an employer brand that is old fashioned and has a culture known for lack of trust. Recruitment will take longer and cost more....people don't want to join companies with that kind of culture. It is a way of marketing your employer brand (why not have a facebook network or group), and a way of finding people in your organisation with social media skills, to coach others on the new tools.

Anna Farmery

Social Marketing Architect, Speaker, Author and in spare time completing PhD on the future of the social business model

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