Woman checking her social media.Social media use is a fact of life for many jobs. Businesspeople need to get the word out and keep an eye on trends, and social media is great for staying connected with customers and clients.

But social media also has a great potential for addiction, defined as “impaired self-control over a specific behavior.” Employees with a history of checking their phones every 5 minutes or who have been caught more than once on their favorite social media sites during work hours may be showing signs of social media addiction. Unfortunately, this obsessive behavior could be damaging more than just the company’s productivity and includes risks such as:

  • Exposing company networks to malware attacks
  • Fostering resentment when the more productive employees are fed up with their distracted colleagues
  • Damaging the company’s reputation with negative commentary
  • Breaching company privacy and confidentiality

The task of controlling social media usage in the workplace often falls to the human resource department. Policies and guidelines need to be established and shared with all employees, and regular reminders are a must. How can you help to ensure employees use social media responsibly? A few options to consider include:

  • Developing and promoting a formal social media policy and incorporating it into the new employee onboarding process
  • Holding social media etiquette training
  • Working with the IT department to understand (and then communicate) primary security issues
  • Conducting time management and productivity seminars
  • Communicating potential legal consequences if the company is put at risk

There is no doubt that social media can also play a very positive role in an organization–especially in terms of marketing. However, clearly expressing and continually reinforcing the company’s social media policies is the best way to keep employees focused, regardless of how blurry the lines between professional and personal lives become.

If you’re interested in starting or advancing your career in human resource management, continue your reading with “Top 5 Degrees With a Focus on Human Resource Management.”

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