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Under-24s alienated by strict policies on social networking in the workplace

Like it or not, social media is here to stay. However, its potential impact on productivity has led many employers to take an increasingly strict stand on its use in the workplace. But could a ban on social media actually put younger employees off working for you altogether?

A new survey of 1,000 people by recruitment provider Hyphen has found that nearly half of under-24s would not work for a company which banned the use of social networking tools. While the attachment to social media drops off sharply for older generations, researchers believe that employers are becoming increasingly out of touch with their younger 'Generation Facebook' employees - with potentially damaging consequences.

Employers may also be missing a trick in failing to realise how social networking can actually help their employees to work more effectively. Six out of ten (59 per cent) of the same age group believed that using social media increases their effectiveness as an employee and that banning it hampered their ability to communicate.

The research suggests that businesses wanting to attract young talent may need to rethink their social media policies and allow the use of social media in a professional content, while imposing reasonable restrictions on personal use. Flexible policies towards social networking use at work have been shown to be effective and can bring benefits to businesses through improved communication and greater potential for networking.

Acas provides useful information on developing policies on social media use in the Acas social networking guide.

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