Raleigh, NC – June 05, 2012 – The growing trend amongst employers to enforce company-wide social media policies has sparked the birth of the Password Protection Act of 2012. The new legislation prevents companies from requiring employees to provide access to their personal social networking accounts. While many companies may create a social media policy to protect their corporate reputation, a new Workplace Options and Public Policy Polling survey of American workers shows that companies who scrutinize their employees’ personal accounts and social media activity may be doing more harm than good.
In general, respondents agree that social media policies in the workplace are necessary – however, their opinions quickly change once these policies become overbearing. The poll results, released by Workplace Options, a leading global provider of work-life programs and employee benefits, show there is a fine line between companies having a social media policy and social media policies that are too intrusive.
Survey results show that:
- Eighty-nine percent of respondents stated that employers have no right to demand personal social networking passwords.
- And, 68 percent of respondents said that forcing employees to hand over passwords to their personal accounts would harm employer-employee relations.
“Companies should protect themselves and their employees by setting clear expectations on proper social media use in the office,” said Dean Debnam, chief executive officer of Workplace Options. “However, employers must be cautious of how far they take these regulations. While social media policies themselves are not a problem, survey results shows that employees do not support any intrusive measures, such as demanding access to passwords.”
Survey results also show that:
- Fifty-three percent of male respondents stated that companies should hold employees responsible for posting inappropriate content on social networking sites – compared to only 39 percent of female respondents.
- Only 31 percent of respondents work for a company that currently has a social media policy.
- And, even if there is a policy in place, only one in four people (25 percent) use social media applications during the work day.
- Regardless, the majority of respondents (72 percent) reported that they never check social media during work hours.
“With the recent increase in technology and social media use, we anticipate more and more employees will be using social media at work, and more companies will begin creating social media policies,” Debnam added. “It will be important for employers to be mindful of the guidelines put in place, striking a balance between necessary regulations and intrusive demands.”
The national survey was conducted by the North Carolina firm of Public Policy Polling, May 17-19, 2012. The survey polled 522 working Americans and has a margin of error of +/- 4.2%.
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