The social workplace: Are you prepared?

Sometimes, as students, we take technology for granted because we do not remember a time where it was not continually improving to satisfy our needs.  Technology has evolved to the point that replacing a one-year-old device becomes a norm or necessity the following year.  For example, look at Apple’s iPad: the iPad was announced on January 27, 2010; since then Apple has introduced multiple iPad generations.   In less than four years, iPads have become a norm in the classroom as well as family homes, helping people everywhere communicate better. Social media has paralleled technology in today’s society.

This rapid increase in popularity of social networking websites will continue to affect the workplace in terms of communication styles, techniques, productivity, and the blurring of lines between business and personal communication. These social networking platforms are now powerful business tools when used correctly.

The rise in social media affecting the workplace is unlikely to slow.  The millennial generation is the main user of social media platforms, and according to Molly Rauzi’s article, by 2025, millennials will be 75 percent of the workforce. With social media becoming more popular in the workforce the line between professional and personal communication will continue to overlap.

To prevent workplace communication from becoming too personal, many IT leaders have created etiquette policies when it comes to emails. Although these policies are created to prevent inappropriate or excessively-personal communication, social media also has great benefits in today’s professional world.  According to  a McKinsey Global Institute study which surveyed 4,200 businesses, 90 percent say that there are some business benefits to using social media.  It can build brand awareness and increase sales while better connecting employees and suppliers within an organization. Along with these benefits, one of the greatest benefits of all is that social media can help you recruit new talent that prove effective future employees for company.

According to Mike Marcotte, chief information officer for EchoStar, “There are great rewards to promoting this level of accessibility and collaboration, but there are also inherent risks.” And there are definite risks to social media remaining a common means of communication:

  • The company loses control over information when it is put on a social media platform.  The information can be shared freely and the company cannot avoid that.
  • Brand can be compromised or hijacked by disgruntled customers or unofficial profiles
  • There can be a significant decrease in productivity by employees because they have access to social media and could use it for personal use and distraction as well.

Knowing that social media will continue to grow, as students and future employees to many different companies we have to be ready for the changes that are happening in the professional world. Make sure that the next time you apply for a position or interview, your social media platform is appropriate. Demonstrate that you know how to use social media networks to benefit your workplace.