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This Is How Social Media Engagement Can Impact Your Work Culture Indulgence in social media and the resultant slacking is a testimony of pastimes

By Baishali Mukherjee

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With mobile internet penetration surging, potentially every educated adult has a bevy of social networks at the fingertips. The use of social media in the workplace, and the resultant slacking (neglecting work) is more rampant today than ever. While many employers have policies in place, and some employers are actually innovating and leveraging social media to their benefit, most are clueless about how the menace could be handled.

According to Kunal Sen, Managing Director, Korn Ferry Futurestep – India, while social media may be the most sought-after employee engagement and marketing tool and organizations want to tout them as "social", the unrestricted use of it is having a negative impact on employee productivity.

"An average of 2.35 hours is spent accessing social media at work every day and around 32% of the total time spent on social media during working hours is used entirely for personal work indicating a huge loss of official resources and productivity. In fact, 13% of the total productivity is lost owing to the social media indulgence alone," he warned.

Apart from the loss of productivity, the extensive use of social media by employees has also resulted in an increase in loss of confidential information, defamation, misinformation and most importantly employee solicitation.

"Facebook is the most visited social media platform and the most-handy outlet to relieve stress. Out of the 62% employees who accessed social media during working hours, nearly 83% of them spend significant time browsing on Facebook," notified Sen.

What can organizations do about this?

Social media comes with its own inherent merits and demerits. In fact, indulgence in social media and the resultant slacking is a testimony of pastimes getting more interesting than work. Rather than blindly instituting rules, Sen is in favour of organizations identifying the root cause of the misuse and devising suitable policies to make work more fun and challenging and the work culture more aspirational.

Social Media Comes With Natural Risk Of Attrition

There are many who use social media to engage in sharing their work experiences with one another and to maintain a professional network outside of their organization. While this sounds like a good advantage of work productivity, experts say that employees also leave a job due to social media. Anviti Sangwan, HR Director, Adecco Group India, feels, while the power of social media today is used to create and build great work connections in an organization, it also comes with a natural risk of employee attrition.

"More social media exposure, the better the quantity and quality of connections and the better the quality, higher the chances of having a network that lands you a better job. Secondly, another aspect is when employees spend more than a certain threshold of time on social media, they tend to become less productive at work. And it is a well-known fact that dips in performance only contributes to dissatisfaction at work leading to attrition," she elaborated.

Many large sized organizations today have dedicated resources for putting up a lot of content on their respective social media channels. Sangwan believes, it is because of such, "over-socialization" that employees of other small-to mid-level organisations feel left-out and the likelihood of them shifting their job becomes inevitable. "Furthermore, with "FOMO' (fear of missing out) fast evolving as a bane of today's millennial generation, employees tend to develop a bias even faster and decide career tenures based on such trivialities," added Sangwan.

With internal communication fast moving to external communication, there is now a lot of flux that happens in the overall communication that an employee sees from an organization's point of view. Sangwan identifies this as the reason for employees aspiring and thereafter switching jobs to the seemingly most lucrative employer.

Can Use Of Social Media Really Impact Attrition?

There is no denying that social media today, is all pervasive. Ignoring it would be like being an ostrich with its head in the sand! There was an era when you couldn't access social media at work. The advent of smart-phones, various smart devices and the concept of BYOD (bring your own device) have ushered in a change in company culture.

Data itself is getting more and more affordable, enabling many more users to access social media than ever before. Companies have now started rethinking their social media policies towards employees.

Arpita Kuila, Head – Human Resources, NEC Technologies India, firmly believes that in an era when we talk of bringing our whole selves to work, the fact that we all use social media for work is also more or less established. "Employees who use social media for work are likely to be more engaged. Instead of restricting usage solely for personal interactions, they have opted for using it for work. It is at the end of the day - a choice," she asserted.

Would someone who uses social media for work be more likely to leave their job? Kuila doesn't see any correlation. "Choosing to leave a job will have a lot more to it than anything social media can do. A job with a particular company can be more aspirational because of what someone may have heard through social media. The ability to hear about potential openings can also be done with more ease. However, I don't feel that any of this would necessarily impact a person's decision to leave. There are far more important factors at play when deciding to leave a job," she maintained.

Zairus Master, CEO of, on the other hand, feels there could be a correlation between someone who wants to leave his job and someone who browses social media. However, he is not ready to generalize the fact that social media causes job switches.

"When we conducted a survey asking people, whether they apply for jobs at office or work, 43% said that they did so at both places, but when we asked how many of them found jobs through social media, only 9% said that they did. Hence, it is likely that a person who is already thinking about a job change would browse social media or other job sites for jobs, but it is not necessarily true that it causes people to leave their job," he enunciated. does not block social media access for the employees. "Given that majority of the working people today are millennials who are used to staying connected to social media through their phones, we don't think it is even possible to stop them from using it during work. The reality is that they are 24/7 connected people and we can't expect them to change their behaviour for the 8 hours they are in office," concluded Master.

Baishali Mukherjee

Former Freelancer

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