The tide is changing on social media: survey

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Having moved away from outright bans on social media, the attitude of employers towards social media access at work is now impacting on whether or not a candidate will take a job, according to a recruitment survey.

The latest figures from Hays Human Resources* show that one in five candidates (19.7%) would turn down a job if they did not have reasonable access to sites such as Facebook at work - which means organisations should ensure they have up-to-date policies in place.

The survey results suggest employees now, and in the future, would expect to be allowed a reasonable level of access to social media at work for personal use. It found that half of those surveyed already accessed social media for personal reasons. Of these, 13.3% said they accessed it daily, while 36.4% accessed it occasionally.

Employers seemed to agree with the expectations of candidates – 44.3% believed that allowing employees to access social media at work would improve their retention levels. Already one third (33.2%) allowed their employees access at work, while 43.2% allowed limited access. Just 23.7% allowed no access at work.

However, more than half of those who said they accessed social media at work for personal reasons, did not use their own devices to do so, meaning they were using company equipment. And one quarter (25.3%) of employees said they did not have a clear understanding of how to represent their organisation on social media.  

It was important to have a social media policy covering how social media was used for work-related matters, the use of it for personal matters at work, and what employees can and cannot say about your organisation in the social media world, said Lisa Morris from Hays Human Resources. “If access to social media sites is allowed during working hours, the purpose of access should be made clear as should the acceptable level of use.”

Top tips for social media policies:


  • Spell out how social media should be used during work hours and if it will be monitored;
  • Make it clear that company email accounts should not be used to sign up for social media sites used for personal reasons;
  • Request that work-related complaints are brought to the attention of the appropriate internal person rather than made via social media; and
  • Explain how misuse of social media will be dealt with.



*From a Hays white paper, entitled "Tomorrow’s Workforce".



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