30 Nov, 2011

UK employers out of touch with Generation Facebook

Employers who impose strict policies against the use of social networking tools designed for business are at risk of alienating ‘Generation Facebook’ from joining their organisation. Nearly half (47.8{6060b2de664e4eaa3e7b7e86961ce2c4bbd7a29b6c1097abf8257a4e5b07383e}) of  younger workers (aged 16 – 24) claim they would not work for companies  who impose such measures, according to new research from hyphen, the recruitment solutions provider.

The research finds that the use of online networking sites such as LinkedIn while at work is now an expected norm for younger people. Nearly two thirds (58.7{6060b2de664e4eaa3e7b7e86961ce2c4bbd7a29b6c1097abf8257a4e5b07383e}) of ‘Generation Facebook’ believe that having access to social networking tools at work actually increases their effectiveness as an employee.

The poll of 1,000 workers shows a clear discrepancy of attitudes to social media between young and older workers.  Less than a third (28.3{6060b2de664e4eaa3e7b7e86961ce2c4bbd7a29b6c1097abf8257a4e5b07383e}) of 35-44 year olds say they wouldn’t work for companies that banned social media and this drops to a fifth (19.8{6060b2de664e4eaa3e7b7e86961ce2c4bbd7a29b6c1097abf8257a4e5b07383e}) in the 45-54 age bracket.

The research also suggests that employer concerns over employees wasting time on social networking sites could be ill – founded with over half (55.5{6060b2de664e4eaa3e7b7e86961ce2c4bbd7a29b6c1097abf8257a4e5b07383e}) of the total workforce claiming to spend less than 10 minutes a day on their personal affairs and, of this, close to a third (31.3{6060b2de664e4eaa3e7b7e86961ce2c4bbd7a29b6c1097abf8257a4e5b07383e}) not spending any time at all using social media for personal use during work time.

It is evident that the UK’s ‘Generation Facebook’ has a very clear set of expectations from their working life, counting holidays for birthdays and duvet days, gym membership and social events among their top choices for employment benefits. This contrasts with 35-54 year olds who rate pensions, flexitime and medical insurance as more important.

Zain Wadee, Managing Director at hyphen said:

“The impact of social media on the UK’s younger workforce is very evident and is something that should be both accounted for and sufficiently appraised by businesses. ‘Generation Facebook’ has grown up with 24/7 social media access and they see no reason why LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter should not also play a part in their working life.

“Tailoring benefits and office policies for the younger generation and making adequate provisions for the use of social media in a professional context is a worthwhile consideration for all businesses wishing to attract young talent.

“From my experience with clients, they are increasingly adopting flexible policies towards social media use, which is the right approach. For some organisations, there are benefits to having their employees use social media in a sensible way. There are several potential business development opportunities that social media channels could also present and managers may in fact benefit from listening to ‘Generation Facebook’, whose insights into the new shape of business to business communication could be hugely valuable for their organisation.”

Credit: onrec.com

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