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Thursday, May 9, 2013

To 'Office Facebook' Or Not -- That Is the Question

Like people in most offices around the world, we face a dilemma about the use of Facebook by employees when they're on the job at Inward Strategic Consulting.
Should we be annoyed at the prominent role that Facebook has come to occupy in our work environment, often distracting employees when they use the site for personal reasons?

Or should we be embracing Facebook as the next major tool for gaining still more engagement by our employees?

We're coming down on the side of harnessing Facebook to boost employee engagement, particularly as the site's operators continue to evolve it.

The coming debut of Facebook Home may be the tipping point on this question, for our company and others, because it will encourage separation of personal and enterprise use of Facebook -- and provide an easy way to bifurcate them.

Already, we're hearing about the trend among our clients to find ways to use Facebook as a medium for communicating with and among employees. A major retailer, for example, has newly launched local-store Facebook pages for store managers and associates to communicate with one another. In turn, this new use of the outlet presumably gives them more reason to become brand advocates.

We also are seeing more businesses make Facebook an integral part of the "Start" menu on employee desktop computers. Clearly this reflects the fact that, to many Millennials now entering the workforce, continual access to social media ranks as a huge priority whether they're on the job or at home.

Sure, we continue to wonder whether employees really need to be tethered to Facebook and Twitter all day, making status updates and checking others' -- sometimes literally by the minute. We continue to believe that it's simply rude, maybe even insubordinate, for employees to mentally and physically "check out" of meetings for a social-media update.
But on balance, we think it's incumbent upon enlightened employers to pull a jujitsu move on Facebook and find a way to make it their friend instead of an annoyance.

What do you think?

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