SHRM Survey: More than Half of Employers Will Increase Social Media Outreach in 2012

Jan 12, 2012

SHRM Survey: More than Half of Employers Will Increase Social Media Outreach in 2012

Alexandria, Va. – In the next year, 55 percent of surveyed employers plan to increase their social media efforts, according to a survey released today by the Society for Human Resource Management.

The survey — “An Examination of How Social Media Is Embedded in Business Strategy and Operations” — found that 40 percent of organizations have a formal social media policy. More than half (56 percent) of social media policies include a statement regarding the organization’s right to monitor social media usage. Other common policy components include:

  • a code of conduct for employee use of social networking for professional purposes (68 percent),
  • a code of conduct for employee use of social networking for personal purposes (66 percent),or
  • guidelines for social media communications (55 percent).

More than half (52 percent) of organizations include social media as part of their marketing strategies, and marketing staff in 35 percent of organizations lead social media activity.

“Right now, HR is often the go-to department for creating and enforcing social media policies,” said Mark J. Schmit, Ph.D., SPHR, vice president of research at SHRM. “As social media becomes more defined in business beyond marketing activities, HR’s role will continue to grow and evolve as well.”

Other key findings of the poll include:

  • More than one-quarter (28 percent) of organizations have a social media strategy. Larger organizations and those with multinational locations are more likely to have a social media strategy than smaller employers and those with U.S.-based operations.
  • Organizations with social media policies rely on their HR department to create (43 percent) and enforce those policies (44 percent).
  • Besides marketing departments, information technology (17 percent), HR (14 percent), and management (14 percent) lead social media efforts at organizations.
  • More than a third (39 percent) monitor their employees social media use on company-owned computers and handheld devices.
  • A third of employers (33 percent) with a social media policy have disciplined an employee who violated the social media policy in the last year.
  • Almost a quarter of organizations (21 percent) use analytics or reporting tools to measure the return-on-investment for their social media efforts.

The survey is fourth in a series looking at the role of social media for employers. The previous surveys can be found at

For more information, visit the research section of at Follow SHRM Research on Twitter @SHRM_Research.

About the Society for Human Resource Management

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) is the world’s largest association devoted to human resource management. Representing more than 250,000 members in more than 140 countries, the Society serves the needs of HR professionals and advances the interests of the HR profession. Founded in 1948, SHRM has more than 575 affiliated chapters within the United States and subsidiary offices in China and India. Visit SHRM Online at and follow us on Twitter @SHRMPress.


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