Millennials Mix Their Social Media Use, So Remember These 3 Things

By Eric B. Meyer

Your Gen Y/Millennial employees love mixing business with pleasure online.

At least that’s what this survey from Millenial Branding says. (It’s also on this infographic if you’re lazy). According to the survey, which consisted of 4 million Gen-Y (ages 18-29) Facebook profiles from Identified.com’s database of 50 million, nearly two-thirds of Millennials fail to list their employer on their profiles. However, they average 16 co-worker friends.

Eve Tahmincioglu interviewed Dan Schawbel, founder of Millennial Branding, who told Ms. Tahmincioglu that while your younger workforce is primarily using social media for personal reasons, they are “inadvertently sharing too much with co-workers.” Ms. Tahmincioglu’s article also cites this study ($$$) from SHRM, which indicates that 33 percent of surveyed employers have disciplined employees for social-media policy violations within the past year.

What is an employer to make of all this?

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  • Your employees — young and old — use social media. Whether employees are allowed to social network at work on your network is up to you. (But remember, your employees have smart phones and they will be dialed in to Facebook and Twitter even if you firewall your network). So, consider whether it makes sense to restrict access.
  • Make sure that you have a written social-media policy. If nothing less, use the policy (and subsequent training) to educate employees about social media and responsible behavior online.
  • Inform employees that you have the right to monitor their social media use — whether in or out of the office. This does not mean that you will monitor. This does not mean that you won’t monitor. It means that you can monitor. I suspect that employees who are aware that their employer may be monitoring their social-media use are apt to restrict public access to their accounts (that’s a good thing) and behave more responsibly online (that’s good too).

Eric Meyer will be leading a group of HR pros in a panel discussion on Social Media in the Workplace – Where is it Today, Where is it Going Tomorrow? at the TLNT Transform conference in Austin, TX Feb. 26-28, 2012. Click here for more information on this event. 

This was originally published on Eric B. Meyer’s blog, The Employer Handbook.

You know that scientist in the action movie who has all the right answers if only the government would just pay attention? Eric B. Meyer, Esq. gets companies HR-compliant before the action sequence. Serving clients nationwide, Eric is a Partner at FisherBroyles, LLP, which is the largest full-service, cloud-based law firm in the world, with approximately 210 attorneys in 21 offices nationwide. Eric is also a volunteer EEOC mediator, a paid private mediator, and publisher of The Employer Handbook (www.TheEmployerHandbook.com), which is pretty much the best employment law blog ever. That, and he's been quoted in the British tabloids. #Bucketlist.

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1 Comment on “Millennials Mix Their Social Media Use, So Remember These 3 Things

  1. Timely topic, and potentially helpful post from a legal perspective, but the power of social media in the workplace is much bigger than this.  While companies need to consider protection of their IP, and employee productivity, the most powerful way to approach the topic is to USE social media to engage employees, drive referrals, measure impact and productivity, enable collaboration, provide and gather performance feedback, and more.  Companies shouldn’t view social media as the enemy, but rather as a new way to attract, develop, engage and retain their valuable employees.   

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