Earlier research indicated that compared to older workers, younger employees are far more accepting of social network use during the workday. However, a new study suggests that more and more employees (of all ages) are using social media at work to communicate and collaborate with co-workers, customers, partners and acquaintances.
SilkRoad Technology surveyed 1,100 US and Canadian employees regarding their social media activities, and the results showed that:
- Employees are using mobile devices frequently during working hours to access personal social media. 60 percent of respondents said they check personal social media more than once a day on their mobile devices; three out of four workers check once a day or more.
- Most survey respondents prefer to use mobile devices to log-in, even though 43 percent said their companies allow open social media access. 16 percent or respondents reported being completely blocked, and another 24 percent said their access was monitored by the employer.
- Twitter and Facebook were by far the most preferred platforms, accessed by 70 and 65 percent respectively, while corporate intranets were used by less than 20 percent.
- 97 percent of those surveyed said their companies had never asked them for passwords to their social media accounts, despite all the talk about employers monitoring their employees’ posts and Tweets.
- Less than a quarter of these employees work for organizations with an official social media corporate policy, and just as many said their employer had no policy at all.
- Interacting with co-workers was the primary motivator for social media engagement during the workday. 49 percent of respondents said connecting with co-workers was the top reason to use social media while at work. The second and third most popular reasons were connecting with others on a fun social platform (47 percent) followed by connecting with customers (44 percent).
It’s also worth noting that when it comes to interacting with customers through social platforms, the survey found that marketers lead . . . and surprisingly, customer service lags.
Of the employees who said they use social media to connect with customers, 26 percent are in marketing. Remarkably, customer support and product management reported infrequent use of social media to contact customers (3.1 percent and 2.9 percent respectively).
Clearly, many employees have found that social media networks help them do their jobs better. Consequently, continuing to ignore or discount social media as a way to enhance customer engagement and improve customer service just doesn’t make good business sense.
As Flip Filipowski, CEO, SilkRoad Technology concluded, “Employees will use social media during the workday. These findings make it clear: companies can either find ways to use social media to achieve measureable business results, or they can ignore it at their own peril.”
And as SilkRoad’s Social Media and Workplace 2012 advised, “ If your organization wants to develop and encourage social networking with customers, consult your marketing department. They are most likely on the leading edge.”