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New Acas research reveals that employers have fears around social media use in the workplace

Monday 09 May 2016

New Acas research, published today, reveals that many employers are wary of using social media to communicate in the workplace because they are afraid it will be misused by their employees.

The study shows that many employers are keen to exploit social media to promote their business but far fewer use it to engage with their staff.

Employers' fears include:

  • online conversations getting out of hand
  • having to act on employee suggestions
  • employees not using social media for work purposes.

Acas Chair, Sir Brendan Barber, said:

"Social media is now being used everywhere in the UK and it has changed the way we communicate in our private lives. But only one in four people utilise social media for work compared to three in four using it in their private life.

"Bosses should take advantage of the benefits social media can bring in giving employees a voice, which also contributes towards a good working relationship within the workplace.

"Using social media more widely as a communication channel in the workplace can help staff work more effectively together and it offers opportunities to get colleagues talking and sharing ideas in real-time and in any location."

Acas has some tips on using social media within the workplace. Employers should:

  • develop a supportive culture of employee voice
  • trust staff and accept that they cannot control everything
  • ensure that senior leaders champion the positive use of social media
  • have a robust social media policy outlining acceptable and unacceptable behaviour.

The research paper pdf icon Going Digital? Harnessing Social Media for Employee Voice [1Mb] is available to download.

Notes to editors

  1. Acas stands for Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service. We aim to improve organisations and working life through better employment relations. We help with employment relations by supplying up-to-date information, independent advice and high quality training, and working with employers and employees to solve problems and improve performance. Acas is an independent and impartial statutory body governed by a Council made up of members from business, trade unions, academia and the law.
  2. The report pdf icon Going Digital? Harnessing Social Media for Employee Voice [1Mb] was commissioned by Acas and conducted by the Involvement and Participation Association (IPA).
  3. CIPD survey 'Social technology, social business' published in 2013 found that only 1 in 4 people are using social media at work compared to 3 out of 4 outside of work.
  4. For media enquiries or to request an embargoed copy of the report please contact Lou Owen, Communications Manager, on 020 7210 3920 or lowen@acas.org.uk. For out of hours media enquiries please call the out of hours duty press officer on 020 7210 3600.