Social Media Policies for Better Company Culture

Walking around your office, you might spy employees updating their status on Facebook or hashtagging their thoughts on Twitter. While today’s social media-connected world means we’re always just a click away from friends and family members, should those clicks be happening in the workplace? And what does this social obsession mean for your company culture?

There is some reason to at least think social media might be hurting your workers’ productivity, and by proxy your bottom line. A study from 2011 showed 60 percent of work interruptions were caused by technology tools like email, instant messages and- you guessed it- social media. The study also claimed one hour of interruption per day could set companies back by as much as $10,375 per employee per year.

Why You Should Embrace Social Media 
Before you lock the Internet and throw away the key, remember that harsh restrictions on Internet use are likely to harm your company culture. This company culture is exactly what brought the top talent into your organization in the first place, and it’s what continues to bring talented job seekers to your door looking for jobs. Few employees want to work for a company that doesn’t trust their abilities, judgement and time management.

In fact, a Facebook break might be the modern equivalent of getting a breath of fresh air when you’re mentally stuck. A recent study showed a 10-minute Facebook break results in happier, healthier and even more productive workers. In the study, the group allowed to use Facebook was 16 percent more productive than the group kept off social media and a whopping 40 percent more productive than the group allowed no breaks at all. This means that, although social media can present its own issues, it can be essential to keeping a positive company culture.

Social Media Policies for a Healthy Organizational Culture
Unfettered Facebook time is a productivity drain, but taking it away altogether might hurt the corporate culture you’ve worked so hard to establish. How do you marry your culture with the new social reality? Here are some policies you might want to put in place to keep things running smoothly even if your employees are taking breaks to tweet away:

Short Social Breaks: The recent study citing Facebook time as a good motivator of employee productivity didn’t say those who spend all day updating their statuses were better workers. It said 10-minute breaks helped employees clear their heads and get back to work refreshed. So make sure your workforce knows it’s fine to check social media during the day, but these should be short breaks instead of hour-long social binges.

Keep it Professional: Many companies have gotten into hot water because of something negative their employees have posted on social channels. This is unlikely to bolster your corporate culture and will make job seekers less likely to want to send in an application for your open positions. Let employees know an unprofessional demeanor in a public forum will be noticed and could lead to trouble.

Utilize the Tools: Social sharing has become a great way to keep in touch with friends, family and even your professional network. So why not utilize these tools to improve your own corporate culture? Look into using the same social tools employees use to waste time and put them towards better and more productive uses. For instance, instant messages can become a great way to share information across departments and across the office without leaving behind your workload.

Social media can actually be a useful tool to improve your corporate culture and even get employees more motivated and productive. If you implement smart social policies, your office will be able to harness the power of this new technology to make employees happier and better workers.

What are some social media policies you use in the office to improve corporate culture? Share in the comments!

IMAGE: Courtesy of Flickr by JOHANNES FUCHS.