This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.Find out more here


To discuss how you and your organisation can get more involved with The Work Foundation, please contact our partnership team.

Call 020 7976 3509 or email


David Shoesmith
Programme Manager
T 020 7976 3574

Social media and employees

Employees' social media use is currently the UK’s fastest-growing area of HR disciplinary procedures. This suggests that many organisations see social media use by employees as a threat to productivity and engagement. And yet, at the same time, leading organisations in both the public and private sectors are gaining major advantages through strategies that harness social media use as a crucial link to customers and service users – and as a driver of innovation.

At their best, it seems organisations with more enlightened social media strategies are developing what research at The Work Foundation has always shown to be beneficial for organisations: employee empowerment, autonomy, teamworking and voice.

This joint research programme between The Work Foundation and Lancaster University will consider the variety of social media strategies across organisations and answer these key questions:

  • How can organisations harness social media technologies in order to make best use of employees’ potential for innovation?
  • What are the implications of the decreasing control over social media use in the workplace for HR and people management?

Related Reports

Letting the Barbarians through the Gates: Harnessing the power of social media
Instead of seeing it as a threat, organisations and HR must develop smart strategies to harness social media use by employees – it can be a crucial driver of innovation.

David White, Ksenia Zheltoukhova, Benjamin Reid and Mike Chiasson
05 October 2011

Changing Relationships at Work
This report demonstrates the importance of workplace relationships to job satisfaction and highlights the role that technologies can play in creating and maintaining these links.

The Work Foundation
27 January 2009

The definitive analysis of current internal communication practice
IC:UK builds on previous research by The Work Foundation into the hidden or intangible factors of productivity and performance. In 2005 our report, Cracking the Performance Code: How Organisations Succeed, outlined the several factors that high performing companies require in order to be successful.

Michelle Mahdon and Professor Stephen Bevan
29 July 2007

Related Events

Employment Law Seminar: Social media and HR practices
This session included a review of social media in the recruitment process and advice on monitoring e-mail and internet use at work; as well as advice on ensuring compliance with data protection legislation which touches on all aspects of HR management from the maintenance of HR files, handling grievances and disciplinary issues through to the provision of references.

Wed, 27 June 2012
09:00 - 12:00

Related Blogs

Facebook is now 'in a relationship' with Instagram
Facebook's billion-dollar valuation of Instagram makes the less than two year old startup more valuable than the 161 year old The New York Times Company. Only yesterday it had a closing price on the New York Stock Exchange of $946m...

10 April 2012

How Social Media can open organisations to innovation?
Yesterday, The Work Foundation hosted a roundtable discussion of 15 business leaders from both the public and private sector discussing the implications of open innovation for people management - and potential strategies for building effective workforces through open innovation.

Andreea Moise
24 February 2012

Technology and Innovation Centres: In conversation with Dr Hermann Hauser
The UK must develop a better system for transferring world-class science and technology into commercial enterprises or it risks falling behind many competitor nations...

Ben Reid
13 September 2010