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Businesses Lag in Getting Employees to Use Social Networking

Though 90 percent of companies have some sort of social networking in place, efforts to get employees to use the social networking tools largely fail, according to a recent study.  Only10 percent of companies consider their internal social networking systems successful.

At a time when everyone seems to be friending, tweeting and linking, the vast majority of the more than 700 companies polled by InformationWeek Analytics for a research report on social networking usage and utility reported that they can’t get their employees to use social networking tools for the benefit of the business.

Attempts to get them to blog, use wikis, participate in discussion forums or take advantage of full-scale enterprise social networks fall on deaf ears for a variety of reasons. The key factors keeping employees from embracing internal social networks , the report found, are lack of a single sign-on, integration with e-mail, tracking of user activity and connection to external social networks.

Nearly four out of ten (39 percent) companies don’t offer any type of e-mail integration with their internal social networks and one-third of companies don’t provide employees with a single sign-on to their internal systems. Only 8 percent of companies approach their social marketing initiatives with a coordinated team from multiple disciplines; most efforts are led by the marketing department.

In addition, the report found, most companies haven’t created policies and procedures to guide employees in appropriate use of social networking systems and don’t monitor their activities when they do use them.

The most-used function of enterpriser social networking is the online directory with Facebook-style profiles (22 percent of companies reported heavy use, followed by team or company wikis (13 percent), discussion forums (7 percent) and internal blogs (5 percent).

“It seems ironic that people are so enamored of social networking in their personal lives yet so resistant to using it at work,” said Lorna Garvey, content director at InformationWeek Analytics. “But the reality is that, if we want people to use social networking tools to achieve business goals, we have to simplify the experience for them. Things like single sign-on and integration with e-mail would go a long way.”

Reach BusinessNewsDaily senior writer Ned Smith at nsmith@techmedianetwork.com. Follow him on Twitter @nedbsmith.

Ned Smith

Ned was senior writer at Sweeney Vesty, an international consulting firm, and was Vice President of communications for iQuest Analytics. Before that, he has been a web editor and managed the Internet and intranet sites for Citizens Communications. He began his journalism career as a police reporter with the Roanoke (Va.) Times, and was managing editor of American Way magazine and senior editor of Us. He was a Captain in the U.S. Air Force and has a masters in journalism from the University of Arizona.