Does your business suffer from social not working? asks Agile’s Richardson
11 November 2016 | 0
It’s 11am, do you know what web sites your employees are visiting?
It seems that many medium and large organisations can’t answer that question. We recently surveyed our customers – a broad base of large public and private sector customers, along with mid-sized technology companies, and four out of five said they allow employees to use social media during their working day, with just 20% saying they don’t. Almost half of the respondents (48%) see social media as a distraction, however. Less than one in five (19%) welcome it.
Straight away, these findings show a striking disconnect: high numbers of organisations allow social networking, yet almost half of them see it as an interruption to the business day. Also, not all social media is created equal: you could make a business case for using LinkedIn at work, and possibly Twitter at a push, but it’s harder to justify for Facebook, Snapchat or Instagram.
My suspicion is that many organisations feel they need to be seen as progressive in order to attract and retain employees – especially those who have entered the workforce recently. Unfettered access to social media is fast becoming table stakes as skills shortages begin to bite and recruits have their pick of employers.
“All social networks, all the time” might be the message being communicated to the world, but the survey suggests that many companies feel differently to their public posture. The biggest impact, clearly, is lost productivity.
But if organisations lack the tools to measure and report on the use of applications and who’s using which social media, they can’t possibly know what impact it’s having on their business. Our survey uncovered that 41% of organisations don’t have any application visibility on their network, with no way of reporting, prioritising or limiting access during the working day. A further 14% said they don’t know.
“Many organisations feel they need to be seen as progressive in order to attract and retain employees – especially those who have entered the workforce recently. Unfettered access to social media is fast becoming table stakes as skills shortages begin to bite and recruits have their pick of employers”
As the survey suggests, some organisations have already invested in some form of application visibility. This can range from very simple reporting on the top 10 applications being used on the network, to more granular analysis of web sites being visited and peak load traffic patterns. More advanced deployments assign priority over the network, so that designated business applications get preference whilst social media is throttled or only allowed at certain times of the day.
This doesn’t have to turn the organisation into the type of workplace where Big Brother is always watching. You can measure across the network, and produce an aggregate figure that shows, for example, 25% of network traffic is from Facebook or Netflix. There’s no need to drill down to each individual device and take a ‘name and shame’ approach. But the business will see a real benefit, because application visibility will reveal the true impact that social media consumption is having on the working day. In the absence of measuring, organisations are guessing or relying on hearsay.
I believe this is the ideal trigger for a discussion between HR and IT. By all means, let’s bring new recruits into the fold and make them happy, but at the same time they need to be productive. That starts with seeing if social media consumption is a concern, measuring it, and then deciding where the balance needs to lie.
Darragh Richardson is CEO of Agile Networks