Twittering the Day Away

As social media makes its way into the workplace, executives are weighing the potential risks and benefits. Approximately half (51 percent) of chief financial officers (CFOs) interviewed recently for an Accountemps survey said their greatest concern is that employees are wasting time during business hours using sites such as Facebook and Twitter. CFOs also expressed worries their staff may behave unprofessionally or post inappropriate information online. However, three in 10 financial executives (28 percent) said using these sites can improve customer service.

The survey was developed by Accountemps, the world’s first and largest staffing services firm specializing in accounting and finance. It was conducted by an independent research firm and is based on interviews with responses from more than 1,400 CFOs from a stratified random sample of U.S. companies with 20 or more employees.

CFOs were asked, “What is your greatest concern for your company regarding employees using social media?” Their responses:

Wasting time at work 51%  
Behaving unprofessionally 18%  
Posting financial/confidential company information 11%  
Posting negative comments about company 10%  
No concerns 10%  
Don’t know/no answer 1%  
  101%*  

CFOs were asked, “What is the greatest benefit to your company of employees using social media?” Their responses:

Provide better customer service 28%  
Enhance company’s reputation 22%  
Expand networks of valuable contacts 20%  
Can secure new business 18%  
No benefits 10%  
Don’t know/no answer 2%  
  100%  
     

“Many companies are still evaluating the risks and rewards of allowing employees to access social media websites at work,” said Max Messmer, chairman of Accountemps and author of Human Resources Kit For Dummies®, 2nd Edition (John Wiley & Sons, Inc.). “Firms with concerns about employees wasting time online while at the office can encourage appropriate online activity by developing and establishing a set of consistent guidelines.”

Messmer also pointed out, “More executives are seeing value in employees using social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter for business purposes like promoting a product or service or connecting with target audiences. Employees in customer-facing roles, for example, can leverage these networks to communicate directly with customers and quickly address service issues as they arise.”

About the Survey
The national study was developed by Accountemps, a division of Robert Half International and the world’s first and largest specialized staffing service for temporary accounting, finance and bookkeeping professionals. It was conducted by an independent research firm and is based on more than 1,400 telephone interviews with CFOs from a random sample of U.S. companies with 20 or more employees. For the study to be statistically representative and ensure that companies from all segments are represented, the sample was stratified by geographic region and number of employees. The results were then weighted to reflect the proper proportions of the number of employees within each region.

About Accountemps
Accountemps has more than 350 offices worldwide and offers online job search services at http://www.accountemps.com/. Follow Accountemps for workplace news at twitter.com/accountemps.