National Instruments, we've been making continual tweaks to our Employee Social Media Guidelines. (As an FYI/heads-up, FTC requires any company participating on social media sites to have employee guidelines on social media usage. If you don't already have your own, you should seriously consider creating some soon.)


One of our guidelines that has generated more polarizing discussion than others is Guideline #6, which states:


6. If you participate on social sites, do so responsibly at work so they do not interfere with productivity.

You wouldn’t hang out in the breakroom all day, so don’t spend all day on social sites like Facebook either. It's fine to check your social media accounts occasionally as long as it does not interfere with your work productivity and job expectations. We also encourage you to create and participate in groups on NI Talk [NI's internal instance of Jive5] but again, be reasonable about the amount of time you spend on non-work-related groups during the workday.


This guideline is purposely open-ended, placing trust in NI employees to make the right judgement call on when and how much to engage on social media sites when at work. I know some corporations completely restrict any social media site usage by employees at work altogether.


However, a recent study article shows that more and more, employees will expect to have the freedom to use social networking sites in the workplace.


'I want my Facebook': College graduates say freedom to use social media at work is more important than a large salary


The article goes on to site some very interesting survey data from Cisco (2,800 students and young professionals surveyed worldwide on what they want from employers and what they consider to be an equitable work/life balance):


  • one in three college graduates said that freedom to use social media sites, like Facebook, at work was more important to them than financial compensation
  • over half the students surveyed said that if they were offered a job at a company that banned social media use, they would either turn it down or ignore it altogether
  • four in ten of those already in the workforce said their companies convinced them to take the job by offering friendly social media policies when recruiting them


So, I'm curious to hear the thoughts from you, internal community managers. Have you had this discussion with your leadership, HR and legal teams? What's your stance on social networking usage at work? And do you classify Jive as a social site? Have you seen any cases where you've had to draw some lines on employee usage of Jive's social enterprise platform?