Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Case For Facebook At Work or Do You Want The Good Talent Or Not?

Adobe Offices via Office Snapshots - this site is great if you want to see what companies are doing to make their offices a cool place to work.
Workplaces are changing big-time. Whether you are in one of the new guard or the old the truth is that the whole set-up of the workplace is not what it used to be. My college education didn't know it was coming, my parents didn't know, and a lot of my bosses didn't see (or want to see) it coming.
This is important.
Workplaces are becoming a group of individuals vs. a company entity.
A group of individuals that have LinkedIn profiles, Facebook pages, blogs and Twitter accounts. That can network more effectively in the online space than any other time in history. Individuals that don't want to work in any department specifically but want to be pushed on their strong points despite where the silos are in their office or what their job title is.
This idea is as scary for companies as getting into social media. Social media means that you have to LET GO of your message and let people do what they want with it. What happens after you let go of that is: conversations, connecting, sharing, and ideas. What also comes with that is a loss of power for the company (or the corporate entity in the case of the workplace). The same way that mass media with its one-to-many message is losing it's value is the same way that companies with a strong top down set up will lose their good talent.
Good talent and forward thinkers are looking for jobs in places that are going to allow them to use their skills. These skills, for the top talent these days, are in online networking. If the job in question isn't allowing Facebook because the CEO thinks it's about screwing around then your good talent is going to go somewhere else, I promise. Double that if you happen to have a cube farm and not ping pong tables and flat screens.
So should companies simply open the floodgates and allow online mayhem at work? No. Training should be used to educate employees on the best ways to network, what kinds of things the company is looking for in the online space, and some definite "dont's". Your new talent already has the tools to communicate online. Give them ideas on how you'd like to be represented and go with it. You'd be surprised how much new business you could possibly get from giving your company that many more online touch points.
Will people screw up a little sometimes? Yes. But for the most part it will be the equivalent of a typo and won't cause a huge scandal. The big scandals tend to come from the top down.


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