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Social network privacy at work

21 мая 2009

A majority of business executives believe that they have a right to know what their employees are doing on social-networking sites, but most workers say it's none of their bosses' business, according to a new survey by Deloitte.

The survey was conducted in April with about 2,000 U.S. adults. Of the 500 respondents with managerial job titles (vice president, CIO, partner, board member, etc.), 299, or 60%, agreed that businesses have a right to know how employees portray themselves or their companies on sites like Facebook and MySpace.

But 53% of employee respondents said their profiles are none of their employers' business, and 61% said that they wouldn't change what they were doing online even if their boss was monitoring their activities.

That disagreement, says Sharon Allen, chairman of Deloitte's board and the sponsor of the survey, is one that companies need to address, particularly as these sites have become part of younger workers' lives."It does, in fact, tee up the challenging debate or discussion that needs to take place to try to resolve both of their concerns," she said.

Few businesses are having that conversation, according to the survey, though many executives indicated that it was on their minds.

When asked what their company's policy was regarding social-networking use, roughly a quarter (26%) of employees said they knew of specific guidelines as to what they could and couldn't post. Similar numbers said their office didn't have a policy or they didn't know if their company had a policy - 23% and 24%, respectively.

"Establishing a lot of rules and regulations are probably not going to be very effective," Ms. Allen said."It could very well backfire on employers to be too regimented in that process. She said a better approach would be to set guidelines focused on company principles and ethical behavior, and to offer to help workers understand privacy settings on these sites.

That has implications for employers' brands as well as employees'-"their personal brand"- she said.

Some workers are aware that the wrong comment or photo can come back to haunt them, and 29% said the economy has prompted them to be more careful online. Seven percent said they knew of a co-worker who'd been let go because of "inappropriate behavior online" in the last six months, and 2% said that their Twitter, MySpace or Facebook page had kept them from getting a job.

Another difference of opinion expressed in the survey was how social networks affect work-life balance. Less than a third of employees (31%) agreed with the statement "Using social-networking sites helps me achieve better work-life balance," with 19% strongly disagreeing. More than half (56%) of executives said a little Facebook time improves work-life, however.

Источник: Total Telecom

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