Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Social Media : A productivity juggernaut v/s enhanced communication platform

When I read a discussion of my professors on policing Social Media where they discuss Infosys's decision to introduce social media policies, several questions were raised in my mind. The wings of social media has spanned to unchartered territories & dimensions. Will any policy to monitor employees’ social activity be a success??? Will it stop employees from expressing to the world online??? Will it allow the organization to make its brand SUSTAINABLE??? And the most important question of all – Will it improve the productivity of the employee who is refrained to express/communicate???

Earlier organizations used to ban the utilization of social media websites during work hours as employees tend to spend most of their time lingering over at these sites. This was genuine to an extent as the percentage of employees visiting social networking sites at the workplace globally raised to 24 per cent this year from just 18 per cent in 2008, even as more companies are restricting access to such Web sites.

Later employees’ online behavior was monitored as there were several complaints on employees’ passing personal comments online about their colleagues and company. This made it an issue on a personal front rather than considering it a professional case. Hence unruly behavior like these HAD to be monitored to deploy decorum within the workplace. As we all know there is a thin line between airing opinions and passing personal comments – “which shouldn’t be crossed”.

A lot of information can be availed online. Consider LinkedIn – An employee while describing his experience may reveal out company’s several sensitive and confidential information. May be his/her intent would not to disclose this data; but at the end of the day the company may lose heavily due to the mistake of its employee. Similar confrontations are possible in platforms such as Facebook or Orkut, where a employee may end up sharing sensitive data over social media networks.

So – Is Infosys right on its stand? I say, YES. Every technology has its pro’s and con’s. Same is the case with Social Media. Organizations must leverage on its benefits and should use it to effectively communicate and collaborate within. At the same time it must curb the misuse/inappropriate use of these platforms. And taking this as the stand point, I believe Infy has stepped the right foot forward. I hope this policy will not hamper the freedom of speech of its employees and at the same time wouldn’t allow exploitation of Social Media Platforms for personal confrontations/abuses with no literal background.


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