Social media is now a workplace fixture, whether employers like it or not, according to a recent survey by recruitment giant Hays.


According to the Hays white paper Tomorrow’s Workforce, based on a survey of 870 employers and candidates, one in five job candidates would turn down a job if they did not have access to social media sites such as Facebook. Tomorrow’s Workforce looks at four key issues affecting the future of Australia’s workforce: the advancement in technology, globalisation of the jobs market, diversity and the rise of the ‘orange collar’ worker. (“Orange collar” workers are defined as those having specialist skills (e.g in the mining industry), who are willing to commit to long term projects and deal with the hardships of remote locations or “fly in, fly out” lifestyles.)

The survey found that half of candidates access social media for personal reasons, with around 13 percent accessing it daily, and 36 percent occasionally.

Most employers allow access to social media, with only 24 percent banning access at work.

Nick Delgiannis, Managing Director or Hays Recruitment Australia, observed, “It is important to have a social media policy covering how social media is 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”. “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.”

Hays recommend the following be included in social media policies:

  • Spelling out how social media should be used during work hours and if it will be monitored.
  • Requesting that work-related complaints are brought to the attention of the appropriate company person rather than being made via social media
  • Clarifying that company email accounts should not be used to sign up for social media sites used for personal reasons.
  • Explaining the consequences of misuse of social media

iHR Australia recommends that social media policies governing email, internet and social media use, should be part of the organisation’s broader HR policies and procedures, which document your organisation’s standards, expectations and responsibilities. Procedures also constitute tangible evidence that your organisation has taken reasonable steps to minimise business risks and unlawful practices or behaviours.

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