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Ask Dan
Q.
My staff wastes a lot of work time on Facebook and Twitter. How can I curtail this?

A.
According to a Salary.com survey, 64 percent of employees visit nonwork-related websites every day. But the real problem may not be staffers wasting employers' time on social media so much as undermining them on it. For example, Proskauer Rose LLP's research found 80 percent of companies reported that employees misuse confidential business information online, and 71 percent misrepresent their company's positions on social media.

I recommend a written policy addressing three main points. First, the policy should forbid employees from using social media on company equipment, unless such activity is otherwise authorized as part of their role. Second, it should prohibit them from using company email addresses to register on social networks, blogs, or other online areas, and thus representing the company whenever they perform any activity on those sites (unless, again, they're specifically authorized to do so). Lastly, the policy should instruct employees to refrain from using personal devices to access social media except on their own time, such as during lunch breaks.

Today, no policy can absolutely prevent staff from accessing social media, but the one I suggest here can help inhibit them from damaging your business, restrain personal use at work to some extent, and prevent anything from happening online that might have your company "a-twitter." E



Dan Lumpkin, organizational psychologist, is the president of management-consulting company Lumpkin & Associates in Fairhope, AL. Need answers? Email your career-related questions to askdan@exhibitormagazine.com.
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