Survey Of Compliance And Ethics Professionals On Social Media And Compliance

Monday, August 1, 2011 - 01:00

Social media is all the rage. To find out what effect the social media explosion is having in the workplace and how companies are responding to its use, the Society of Corporate Compliance and Ethics (SCCE) and its affiliated Health Care Compliance Association (HCCA) fielded a survey among compliance and ethics professionals. The research was designed to track how business has responded to the explosion of social media usage.

Survey respondents reported that discipline of employees for their activities on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn is on the rise. According to the survey results 42 percent of respondents reported that their organization has had to discipline an employee for behavior on these sites. That is up significantly from 24 percent reported in 2009.

While headlines tell of employee firings for Facebook or Twitter rants or privacy violations, only about one-third of survey respondents report that their organizations have adopted policies specifically addressing the use of social media sites outside of work. The data reveals an increase from 10 percent in 2009 to 31 percent in 2011 of respondents who report that their employer has specific policies for social media use when away from work.

Companies often set site-specific policies for workplace access to social media. Forty-seven percent reported that "anyone" may access LinkedIn, while lower numbers are reported for Facebook and Twitter - 32 percent and 31 percent respectively - and 35 percent of respondents' companies allow no access to those two sites at work. It is interesting to note that "for profit" companies were more likely than "nonprofits" to allow access to LinkedIn. Healthcare companies (40 percent) were far less likely to allow access than industry as a whole (77 percent).

In 2009, passive systems for monitoring social media policies - acting when apprised of an issue - were used by 32 percent of respondents, and yet, despite the exponential growth of social media use, the availability of monitoring solutions, and the increase in company policies that restrict its use, passive systems are now relied upon by 48 percent of respondents.