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It's Like Alanis Morissette Was Using Her iPhone in her Government-Issued Cube...

Why? Because it was IRONIC...

I'm strolling through the office of fine, employment-focused government agency one recent morning, and what did I see?

A government worker hitting Facebook from her iPhone within her cube.  So I did what any visiting HR pro would do - I asked her if the agency blocked Facebook and other social sites.Alanis-Morissette----Ironic

She said, "Mmm hmm. All of 'em. And Hotmail too".

After fighting off the urge to ask her if people still use Hotmail, I went back to my conference room and thought - How many things that organizations try to control are actually the illusion of control?   Employee handbooks the size of phone books.  Wellness programs designed to control medical claim costs.  Headcount budgets when you know the freeze will come in October.

Social media is just one example, but it's easy, so let's take a closer look.  Many companies still block some or all social media outlets from employees, and the reasons generally circle around one of the following themes:

1. There’s too much liability related to opening up access for everyone; and/or

2. We can’t open up access for everyone, because our overall productivity would take a huge hit.

Note to employers: As you were providing this rationale to a person like me, at least 15 of your employees were bent over in their cubes, openly accessing their smart phone to transact the social business you believe you are preventing them from performing at their will.  Just like marge@hotmail.com who works at the government agency.

"It's a traffic jam when you're already late
It's a no-smoking sign on your cigarette break
It's like ten thousand spoons when all you need is a knife.."
And isn't it ironic ... don't you think
..."

It seems wireless networks trump corporate will when it comes to an employee’s use of social networks in the workplace. Ironic. At least I think.

If you’re still blocking access and patting yourself on the back, remember the image of your employees dialing their favorite social network up on their smart phone. You’re not managing liability, you’re transferring it to a network that you don’t control.

The illusion of security. It's a black fly in your Chardonnay. Well played, my friend.

Comments

KH

So true! The hotmail comment had me laughing as well!

Lawerence Schweitz

Love the post. I think this hits the nail on the head. With so many people with smart phones now, its nearly impossible to control access to social networking, even if it is a policy to block it at the company level.

GTBakker

We need to start using technology in the workplace the way that our employees already use it. Work with staff instead of encouraging their workarounds.

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