54% of Businesses Prohibit Employee Social Media Use

    October 6, 2009
    Chris Crum

New research from Robert Half Technology indicates that over half of chief information officers (CIOs) do not allow employees to visit social networking sites for any reason while they’re at work. This information comes from a survey of 1,400 CIOs from companies around the US with 100 or more employees.

CIOs were asked in the survey: Which of the following most closely describes your company’s policy on visiting social networking sites, such as Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter, while at work?" Here is how they responded:

Prohibited completely – 54%
Permitted for business purposes only – 19%
Permitted for limited personal use – 16%
Permitted for any type of personal use – 10%
Don’t know/no answer – 1%

David Willmer"Using social networking sites may divert employees’ attention away from more pressing priorities, so it’s understandable that some companies limit access," said Dave Willmer, executive director of Robert Half Technology. "For some professions, however, these sites can be leveraged as effective business tools, which may be why about one in five companies allows their use for work-related purposes."

  Employees potentially damaging a company’s reputation (not to mention their own) is still a big concern. "Professionals should let common sense prevail when using Facebook and similar sites — even outside of business hours," said Willmer. "Regrettable posts can be a career liability."

Granted, the information presented by Robert Half is only representative of 1,400 companies, but the percentage of those businesses who prohibit social network use completely is likely to decrease in my opinion. There may be an increase in those who only allow it for business use, but as more companies figure out ways they can measure ROI with social media, they’re going to want to get employees involved. I would expect more of a balance between those who prohibit it, and those who limit it to business use.

Do you want your employees using social media? Discuss here.