Friday, August 7

Fearing Social Media: Executives


According to a new survey by Minneapolis-based Russell Herder and Ethos Business Law, fear continues to underpin companies considering social media.

• 51 percent percent of executives fear it will be detrimental to employee productivity.
• 49 percent fear that participation will likely damage company reputation.

Among companies that have not considered social media as part of their communication plan, it's much the same.

• 51 percent said they did not know enough.
• 40 percent said they are concerned with confidentiality or security.
• 37 percent said they worry it will be detrimental to employee productivity.

The reality of misplaced fear in the modern workplace.

As the adoption rate of social media as a critical component of any communication plan increases, all the attention seems to have catapulted social media to the top of many corporate fear factor lists. And, with the recent ban by the U.S. Marines, considering it the number one concern for decision makers certainly feels justified. Or is it?

While our company has long maintained fear itself is the underlying cause of most corporate meltdowns and lackluster results, placing social media at the top of the corporate fear list is preposterous. Here are the leading causes for lost employee productivity, reputation damage, and security threats:

• According to the Annals of the American Psychotherapy Association, low employee morale and depression are the leading cause of lost employee productivity.
• According to an abstract by Elsevier Ltd. and several other studies, management credibility is the leading cause of reputation damage among companies.
• According to several studies by Deloitte, human error remains the leading cause of security threats over technology, with employee misconduct being the number one concern.

Are any social media fears justified on any level?

Not knowing enough about social media may be temporarily justifiable for slow moving companies (as too many jump in without any semblance of a plan), but the root cause for all other fears — productivity issues, reputation damage, and security threats — are almost always symptoms of internal communication problems and/or bad management.

In other words, the reason for not engaging in social media might even communicate more about a company or organization than had they ever engaged in the first place. How about your organization?

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