Estimated reading time: 2 minutes, 29 seconds

A few years ago, there was a survey about the attitudes of younger workers toward potential employers. The survey, conducted by former Great Plains executive Bonnie Robertson,  showed a low score for ranking technology as an important factor in selecting a place members of this generation would want to work.

After Robertson described her surprise at the results, I responded, "To them, it would be like asking if they thought having electricity or running water would be important in a potential place of employment." In other words, they would assume, as most older job seekers would, that an employer would have these things. Social media has probably gotten to that point. And that's a lesson for those firms that bar employees from using social media while at work - the market sets its own expectations.

The repercussions of that attitude were discussed in a recent article on this publication by Kurt Siemers, CEO of Kennedy and Coe. His firm allows employees to use social media during the work day and has no doub that this is the right policy.  "It's available at work all the time just like the telephone is,." he says."It's a real negative impact to say 'You can't use Facebook.'"

There are a lot of things that can be abused. Workers can spend hours playing solitaire, talking on the telephone or just staring at the computer. The real solution is setting rules that deal with behavior. Employees can't run their own businesses from employers' premises. They have productivity goals that must be accomplished. They can't say negative things about the firm online. And there is a reasonable amount of social media usage that is acceptable.

As with many other behaviors, some of these are difficult to quantify and it takes judgment on the part of the employer in dealing with individual situations. In some cases, it may simply be if the worker accomplishes jobs goals that is really the important issue. But wherever the line is drawn, the market has a role in determining just what it considers acceptable no matter what individual employers think.

Make the wrong decision, and a business marks itself as a place that the workforce does not consider as an appealing career choice.

Bob Scott
Bob Scott has provided information to the tax and accounting community since 1991, first as technology editor of Accounting Today, and from 1997 through 2009 as editor of its sister publication, Accounting Technology. He is known throughout the industry for his depth of knowledge and for his high journalistic standards.  Scott has made frequent appearances as a speaker, moderator and panelist and events serving tax and accounting professionals. He  has a strong background in computer journalism as an editor with two former trade publications, Computer+Software News and MIS Week and spent several years with weekly and daily newspapers in Morris County New Jersey prior to that.  A graduate of Indiana University with a degree in journalism, Bob is a native of Madison, Ind
Last modified on Sunday, 02 June 2013
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