What would you do if an applicant asked you if they could check Facebook on the job?
Nearly two-thirds of millennials said they ask about social media policies during interviews. Would that lower your opinion of them as a job candidate? If you’re tempted to say “yes,” first stop to consider the value that social media adds to the workplace. One estimation by the McKinsey Global Institute is $1.3 trillion globally.
Working Smarter, Not Harder
There are two aspects to these savings. The first is that social media can make us better at our work. The McKinsey report bases its $1.3 trillion estimate primarily on social media’s boost to communication and collaboration.
The group most likely to feel this benefit is the “interactions workers,” those who need to find information and share knowledge to do their jobs. Whether they’re managers or engineering teams, these employees need tools to help them consult with others, and social media—from chatting and searching to group posting—does just that. McKinsey estimates that it could make companies spend 35% less time on hunting down information.
And it’s not just that the workers are having an easier time doing simple tasks like looking up answers. Recent research also points to improved creativity and customer interactions. The enhanced communication could be helping employees improve their interpersonal skills and critical thinking.
Not Working Makes For Better Workers
Of course, social media use isn’t always about being responsible and getting more work done. Employees tweeting friends or checking their Facebook timeline aren’t helping the company’s bottom line. Or are they?
Taking breaks can help our brains stay focused and figure out problems once we get back to work. Social media specifically could make workers happier and better able to engage with their jobs. So even though it has nothing to do with work, a few relaxing minutes spent watching a friend’s latest uploaded video could be lead to more productivity during the rest of the day.
This isn’t news to millennials, who are able to bounce between social media and work—and are willing to turn down a job that won’t let them. So the next time a young interviewee brings up the subject, don’t think of it as them being lazy or disrespectful—they’re giving you the opportunity to make them more engaged and efficient. Saying yes doesn’t just help them. It helps your organization get a better return out of your employees.
After all, the McKinsey report cautions that the added value of social media will only be available to companies once they figure out how to leverage it correctly. Millennials aren’t hanging back and goofing off—they’re leading a charge in the right direction.
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