Social Media & Employee Productivity

When I think about the way that I use social media to collaborate, I automatically focus on the tremendous benefits it has for my business.  I’d like to think that I manage my time very well during the day to accomplish many goals, whether they are related to my agency Mango!, client work, my writing projects, speaking engagements, PR 2.0 training sessions or helping people with PR questions in my communities.  No matter how many goals I set and need to achieve in a given timeframe, I’m still really active in my favorite networks.  Why? Social media helps me with the incredible knowledge and information that I need to stay on top of my industry and client industries too. It provides with an abundance of research I need for my writing projects and presentations. I really enjoy building relationships in my communities whether it’s my own blog or Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn.  Social media is also my coffee break and sometimes my lunch.

If social media brings so much value, and I do see value through measurement, then why is it that some company owners, executives and/or supervisors get a slight feeling of unease when they see an employee participating in a social network during the work day.  I can admit that I’ve had, on occasion, a little angst over social networking and my staff, but only for the right reasons.

What are the right reasons? First off, as you read this, please try to keep in mind that every employee is different.  The goals for one employee do not necessarily meet the goals of another.  When we evaluate someone’s activities or performance, we should be basing our reviews on whether people are reaching their goals or if they are able to complete their work in a timely, satisfactory and of course, cost effective manner.

In the past, when I notice that employees are active participants in web communities during the day, my first instinct is that they are working and using social networking to help our Mango! community grow.  However, sometimes the social networking is constant, and it’s clear to see that the participation is not being used for knowledge or information for Mango!, I can then assess the situation and ask myself, “Is this employee completing work/assignments on time in a satisfactory manner or better?”  If the answer is yes, then social networking is helping this employee to break up the monotony or craziness of the day and keep this person happy.

The next scenario is the problem. When employees are spending a lot of time social networking and there is no connection to the company and their work is not satisfactory, then this is the reason for the angst and you would have every right to feel this way.

I’m all for communication during the scope of our days.  I’m very supportive of social networking and participating with meaning in communities.  I firmly believe this type of interaction can have many positive effects on a business.   If your employees are working hard and delivering results for the company, then it shouldn’t matter if they are visiting their social networking sites while they are at work.

Of course, there is a fine line that you cannot cross.  As an employee you can’t decide to social network all day and then complete you’re work at night, if your clients need attention during the day.  That approach leaves clients feeling neglected and clearly doesn’t work.  I’m familiar with this scenario too. In any case, I’ll continue to be fully supportive of social networking, as long as I see productivity and goals being reached for individual employees.  After all, employees were finding other ways to communicate during the day, pre-social media. As long as their work didn’t suffer, I was always the happy business owner and boss.

Here are some other posts related to Social Media and Productivity.  Let me know what you think about employees participating in social networks during the day.  As an owner, executive, supervisor or even co-worker, does it cause you any angst?


How Stuff Works

John R. Durant’s Blog

MarketingProfs Daily Fix


Wired Magazine