Employees disapprove of employers asking for social media passwords: Survey

Two-thirds say demanding for passwords would harm employer-employee relationship
|hrreporter.com|Last Updated: 06/05/2012

While many companies may create a social media policy to protect their corporate reputation, companies who scrutinize their employees' personal accounts and social media activity may be doing more harm than good, according to a survey by Workplace Options in the United States.

In general, workers agree that social media policies in the workplace are necessary; however, their opinions quickly change once these policies become overbearing — there is a fine line between companies having a social media policy and social media policies that are too intrusive, found the survey.

Eighty-nine per cent of the 552 American survey respondents said that employers have no right to demand personal social networking passwords. And, 68 per cent of respondents said that forcing employees to hand over passwords to their personal accounts would harm employer-employee relations.

"Companies should protect themselves and their employees by setting clear expectations on proper social media use in the office," said Dean Debnam, CEO of Workplace Options. "However, employers must be cautious of how far they take these regulations. While social media policies themselves are not a problem, survey results shows that employees do not support any intrusive measures, such as demanding access to passwords."

Fifty-three per cent of male respondents said that companies should hold employees responsible for posting inappropriate content on social networking sites, compared to only 39 per cent of female respondents.

Only 31 per cent of respondents work for a company that currently has a social media policy.

And, even if there is a policy in place, only one in four people (25 per cent) use social media applications during the workday.

Regardless, the majority of respondents (72 per cent) reported that they never check social media during work hours.

"With the recent increase in technology and social media use, we anticipate more and more employees will be using social media at work, and more companies will begin creating social media policies," Debnam said. "It will be important for employers to be mindful of the guidelines put in place, striking a balance between necessary regulations and intrusive demands."

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