The Facebook at Work Dilemma & 5 Ways to Deal with It
It’s one of the hottest topics in the world. It’s also a touchy subject for employers.
Facebook reports that it has 2.27 billion users worldwide. In the United States, there are 214 million active Facebook users, approximately 2/3 of the US population.
Chances are most of your employees are on Facebook.
While Facebook is a great platform for various reasons it also comes with inherent risks to your business.
Many employers completely block social media sites like Facebook to prevent the risks. Many businesses completely ignore Facebook and the potential risks.
The risks are serious enough that it may cost you your business. Ignoring Facebook should not be a social media plan.
5 Risks to Your Business on Facebook
1. Leaked Intellectual Property, Proprietary Information or Sensitive Client Information
Sharing to social media is so easy. You can do it from your smartphone, tablet or work computer.
It’s so easy that information is often shared that should not be shared, and many times it’s not intentional.
The internet is great but it’s also permanent. Once information is leaked on social media it’s out there for potentially millions of people to see.
Employees might inadvertently share information on Facebook that could be detrimental to your business. What might seem like an innocent selfie at work may include HIPAA information and the employee might not even realize that he/she shared this.
2. Lost Productivity
This is a little easier to understand. If employees are on Facebook while at work, whether it’s their workstation or a personal phone, that means there’s lost productivity.
It’s difficult to completely discourage Facebook usage or internet browsing while at work. However, a strong social media policy will ensure your employees understand what is acceptable and what is not.
3. Network or Server Compromise
Facebook is great for so many reasons. Lost connections, communication, seeing what’s going on in family and friend’s lives, and sharing ideas are some of what makes Facebook so awesome.
It’s also no secret that bad things happen on Facebook. You have undoubtedly heard of an account compromise or a click to an unwanted website.
Well, an account compromise or click to an unwanted website can compromise your critical servers or business network. The seemingly innocent click may help a less than scrupulous person gain access to sensitive systems.
4. Inappropriate Conversations
Facebook Messenger is a powerful tool. It can be used to communicate with people all over the world. You can play games with others. You can market to people using Messenger. You can even request money from others.
That should be enough to scare you but imagine two employees chatting up on Facebook Messenger about things that should not be discussed in the workplace or sharing information that is not meant to be shared.
This information is now that much more easily compromised if a smartphone is stolen or a Facebook account is hacked.
5. Company Reputation
One of the things that make social media platforms so great is the ability to communicate with businesses.
It’s also one of the things that make social media dangerous.
I have seen disgruntled employees leave scathing reviews of a business that let them go, on Facebook. Once a review is left it is very difficult to get it removed, even if it is false.
While reviews are public, and you become aware of them almost immediately, you may not be aware of what your less visibly disgruntled employees are saying in Facebook Groups or other not as visible places on Facebook.
Your company’s reputation can take a hit, especially if social channels are not being monitored.
5 Ways to Mitigate Employee Facebook Usage Risks
1. Create a Strong Policy
This is one area that so many small to medium businesses fail.
Creating a strong social media policy that clearly defines what is and isn’t acceptable should be as important as an employee handbook and tax forms. In fact, include it with your employee handbook.
Every social media policy will be different. At Nwaj Tech we do believe that employees should share “some” of the work life. Clients and potential clients like to see this. But it might not be the right thing for your business. Create a policy for your business requirements, even if it means no social media while at work.
2. Block Social Media Sites
Another option is to block social media sites altogether. You should block certain types of websites anyway, so it might be best to block all social media websites as part of that policy.
This might seem extreme but in some cases it is necessary.
Another area that many businesses miss out on is education. The best defense in any information security plan is education.
Educating your employees on the dangers and pitfalls of using Facebook, especially at work, will help alleviate some of the potential risks that exists when employees use Facebook at work.
An added benefit to educating your employees might be that you also teach them how to be safe overall on Facebook.
At Nwaj Tech we offer Social Media Safety Courses for children. This would be a great idea for you to include in your social media education for your employees.
Monitoring social media should be a part of your business marketing plan. Monitoring also helps address any employee posts/shares that might go against your social media policy or worse.
There are lots of ways to monitor social media channels today. You can monitor from the social platforms natively, but this will prove to be tedious and time-consuming.
There are plenty of third-party tools that allow you to monitor for brand mentions and keywords.
At Nwaj Tech we use Hootsuite to monitor social media but there are lots of great tools that can help you do the same.
5. Get Insurance
Cyber Insurance is a real thing albeit relatively new. This is something we would encourage any business to investigate.
Having insurance will help mitigate some of the risk involved in the event an employee causes financial harm with their Facebook activities. It might not help with your business’ reputation, but it could save your business financially.
Facebook is a great tool for so many reasons. We certainly enjoy using Facebook for our business and personal lives.
It can also be a very dangerous tool if used without regard for potential damage to a person or company, or if used to intentionally cause harm.
Like any other information technology, it’s best to address concerns and potential risk before they happen. A proactive approach in technology is always a better approach.
If you have any questions, please contact us at email@example.com. We’d be happy to discuss your potential risk with you (no obligation).
Fantastic post full of useful information. I work for myself and know what a distraction it can be! If I had a team though, I would definitely want to implement your tips.
Great content , i am however an employee how uses facebook at work and it actually helps my productivity as it breaks up the tedium of the day .
It’s not Facebook that is the problem it’s the 3:30 race at Kempton!
Only joking, it is a problem. Lost productivity probably being the main concern.
Some places I have worked at ban them but they do allow LinkedIn.
Good post with some solid points. An interesting read.
LinkedIn is a little tricky because of what it’s supposed to be for but it has the same problems as Facebook. I get more random messages on LI than I do on FB.
I have an app that actually blocks facebook from my computer during certain hours, it increased my productivity so much when I installed it.
That’s a good idea. Facebook can bring you down a rabbit hole sometimes.
Yeah, I wouldn’t think Facebook should be allowed at work. My husband is in the military and it’s frowned upon to be on there. Most people don’t risk it!
My problem is using my personal device that causes the loss of productivity. Where I work does not have it blocked, but I try to refrain from going on social media from my work pc. I have also never heard of cyber insurance.
Companies in this modern age depend on social media to generate leads for their business so blocking social media is not a very good idea seeing that every employee can improve the social reach of their organisation. Educating employees and having a strong policy is indeed a much better approach to this new challenge.
I think companies do need to block all social media as I can see that being a big time waster at work. My husband is not allowed to even check his personal email at work.
I worked for a company that blocked email completely and only allowed you to view Facebook (no comments, posts, uploads).
This is so true. My work is in facebook but still decreases my productivity when I start to use my own device.
I cant use facebook at work. It’s blocked. I guess this is why
When I was a manager, it was my biggest issue with my employees! Some things are meant to be kept for your own time.
This sounds like a serious risk ! I am really glad I work at home so I don’t have to worry about this.
It’s so easy when dealing with Facebook to forget how damaging you can be to your own business. I think we all get caught up in the fun social media stuff and forget just how far their reach is and how big of a bow it can be when you act professional.
Couldn’t agree more especially the risks of using Facebook while using the company server that could compromise the system in a big way. Big corporations have a very strict policy on this.
This is some good information but most companies these days already dont allow social media in the office at all maybe on your phone thats fine.
these are difficult decisions. I have been hacked several times on FB. I hate it. But I need it to reach my audience. It is a terrible dilemma. I hate being at their mercy, too.
This is so informative article. I am lucky enough we can access FB while working there is no such restrictions and yes many companies do not allow to access any social media site
Indeed such great compilation. People nowadays cannot live without gadgets and social media. Most of the time, companies lacks productivity due to employees using phones even during work. Creating security measures is a must for companies.
It’s definitely a point of contention and these are good pointers for minimising potential damage that Facebook could cause.
Definitely an informative blog! Social medias can waste a lot of time and productivity while working hours. That will be good to block social medias on companies.
Thankfully, when I was still working, Facebook wasn’t invented yet. . So that’s not my problem anymore. But if I am the employer, I would also be pissed if workers use FB during work hours.
I am not being careful with all my social media dealings. Before, I often connect at almost all sites using Facebook. I realize i should be more careful and diligent.
Hiring a reliable and reputable social media manager is a must for a business especially if your businesses are online. One false move and everything becomes a disaster.