The views of this article are the perspective of the author and may not be reflective of Confessions of the Professions.
Ireland is 3rd Highest in the EU For Social Media Usage in the Workplace
Ireland is the European HQ for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google. Yet, the Irish Data Protection Commissioner Office provides very little information on the subject of using social media in the workplace.
Ireland ranks higher than the EU average when it comes to social media usage in the workplace. 48% of Irish enterprises employing 10 or more employees use some form of social media.
The EU average rate is only 30% by comparison. Ireland is the 3rd highest for social media usage in the EU, following on from the UK in second place at 42%, and Malta in first place at 55%.
As there is little information provided by the Data Protection Commissioner Office, the usage of social media in the workplace is at the discretion of the company. Best practice procedures suggest that a company should create, implement and actively adhere to a social media policy.
Only 3 in 5 Irish companies have a clear and formal social media policy in place, less than 1 in 5 have an informal policy in usage and another 1 in 5 companies have no policy at all or completely ban its usage in the workplace.
Interestingly, the number one reason companies use social media in the workplace, is to develop the enterprise’s image or market their products, but almost 1 in 3 organisations have to take formal disciplinary action with an employee over their inappropriate use of social media.
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Social Media in the Irish Workplace
Ireland is the European HQ for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google.
The Irish Data Protection Commissioner Office provides very little information on the subject of using social media in the workplace.
In other countries, clear guidelines are set down.
Where does Ireland stand?
The purpose of social media in the workplace
- 36% Developer the enterprise’s image or market products
- 26% Respond to customer feedback
- 15% Recruit employees
- 11% Involve customers in developments
- 11% Exchange views
- 10% Collaborate with business partners
Social media channels that organizations use to recruit potential employees
- 9% Google
- 35% LinkedIn
- 8% Facebook
- 4% Google Plus
- 17% Other
Employee social media access and management on company equipment
- 60% A clear and formal policy exists
- 18% An informal code exists
- 15% No policy or code exists
- 7% All access to social media is banned
Inappropriate use of social media in the workplace
More than 1 in 2 organizations have to speak informally with an employee.
Almost 1 in 3 organizations have to take formal disciplinary action with an employee.
Ireland vs EU
Where are we in comparison to our peers?
- Ireland ranks higher than the EU average with 48% of Irish enterprises employing 10+ employees using some type of social media.
- The EU average is 30%.
- Ireland ranks 3rd highest in the EU.
- Malta is the highest at 55%.
- The UK is 2nd at 42%.
- Latvia ranks the lowest at 15%.
|Enterprise use of social media analysis||Ireland||EU|
|Use of social networks||46%||28%|
|Use of enterprise blogs or microblogs||20%||10%|
|Use of multimedia content sharing websites||14%||11%|
|Use of wiki-based knowledge sharing tools||7%||6%|
Note: Enterprises could use more than 1 type of social media, which is why the sum of the different social media types does not equal the total use figure.
Best Practice: 10 Steps to implementing a Social Media Policy
- Include the social media policy in the employee handbook.
- Ensure that each employee signs a copy of the handbook.
- Notify all employees of the policy.
- Train all employees on its usage.
- Specifically address if a certain level of use is allowed and how much e.g. ‘use of LinkedIn to make new business connections for a maximum of 30 minutes use per day.’
- Give written examples of the type of behaviour that is unacceptable on social media.
- Apply the policy and any subsequent disciplinary action that needs to be taken consistently to every employee.
- If an employee breaches the policy, take swift but reasonable action.
- Take all of the surrounding circumstances into account including the employee’s length of service, previous disciplinary record, and the gravity of the breach.
- It is strongly recommended to consult with a Solicitor who specializes in employment law to review your policy and the employee disciplinary action procedure.
About the Author
Anne O’Connell is a Partner with Sherwin O’Riordan Solicitors in Dublin and is Head of the Employment Law Department. She lectures extensively on employment topics and has been published widely in trade publications as well as national Irish newspapers.