Percentage of Businesses following Employees Tweets – 11/25/12

More companies are tracking workers’ tweets

Percentage of Businesses following Employees TweetsEven if you don’t follow your boss on Twitter, he or she may be following you.

Although the number of companies that feel favorably about social media is growing, more employers are monitoring employees on sites such as Twitter and LinkedIn, according to a new report on social media practices in the workplace from the global law firm Proskauer Rose.

There are some interesting numbers in the second annual report, which collected 250 responses from global businesses about their social media practices and attitudes.

Although companies need to be careful about being too restrictive in what they tell employees they can discuss on social media, more firms have decided to watch their employees on social media. About 36 percent of firms said they track staffers, up from 27 percent who did so last year.

The report found that about 69 percent of employers now have dedicated social media policies, up from 55 percent last year.

Another, perhaps troubling, finding for companies is that social media have increasingly become a legal issue for businesses.

In the first half of 2012, there were more than 300 published social media cases, according to X1 Discovery, which tracks legal databases.

“As social media use continues to grow exponentially, it’s raising a thicket of thorny legal issues for employers,” said Daniel Ornstein, London partner and co-head of Proskauer’s International Labor & Employment Law Group, in a news release. “Although many companies have put in place policies governing employee social media use, there are a number of other risk management measures companies should be pursuing to safeguard their businesses while protecting their employees’ right to privacy and freedom of expression.”

About half of all employers said they’ve had to deal with misuse of social media by staffers or former employees, per the report.

And while many of us freely tweet or post to Facebook during the workday, only about half of employers allow employees open access to social media sites for non-work purposes.

Just over 25 percent of firms out-and-out block employee access to social media.