The majority of employees in the United Kingdom have not
been provided with clear guidance on using social media networking sites,
according to a study from Protiviti, a business consulting and internal audit
Of those with access in the workplace, almost 39 per cent
indicated there is no policy in place regarding social media networking and 24
per cent are unaware of any such policies, found the survey of 1,038 adults.
“The global social media landscape has changed so
dramatically and so quickly that many companies are struggling to keep up.
We’re seeing a growing number of cases where firms have vague or out-of-date
social media policies that are unenforceable if inappropriate activity takes
place,” said Jonathan Wyatt, managing director at Protiviti UK.
Social media usage in the workplace has grown enormously in
recent years, according to Protivity, with more 51 per cent of workers claiming
to engage with a social networking site while at work. Almost one-third (30 per
cent) of workers use sites such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn on a daily
basis, while more than five per cent do so several times an hour.
Workers aged 18-24 years are the most regular users of
social networking sites, with one in five (21 per cent) claiming to engage with
them several times an hour. This generational divide in the workplace poses a
threat to firms as senior managers are often unaware of whether their company’s
HR and IT policies are adequate, said Protiviti.
“Many senior managers assume that their less experienced
colleagues would not post inappropriate comments online and that they would
think about the risks involved, but time and time again they are proven wrong,”
While 35 per cent of U.K. employees said social media
activity is not allowed in the workplace, staff are still able to access social
networks from home, posing the same potential risks to the company’s brand.
“We recommend that companies have very clear policies
targeted at issues specific to social networking,” said Wyatt. “For instance,
they should consider providing guidelines regarding the sharing on Facebook of
photographs from corporate events and measures to mitigate potential
accusations of favouritism resulting from a senior manager linking to one
employee but not to another. Likewise, guidance should be provided as to when a
blog might be perceived to be a corporate forum.”