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Social media still not widely used for work, says CIPD

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A CIPD report into social media at work reveals social media is still not widely used for work, despite employees reporting the benefits it brings.

Putting Social Media to Work: lessons from employers is based on case studies across Uk companies including rail operator Southeastern and retailer Marks & Spencer.

Employees say it is an important tool for internal communications, as it is interactive, immediate and more democratic than some traditional processes. The report claims social networks offer a 'safe place' for open discussions, which staff contribute to of their own accord.

Jonny Gifford, author of the report and CIPD research adviser, told HR magazine the way people are introduced to technology has changed drastically over the last five to 10 years.

"We used to be introduced to technology first through the military and then in the workplace," he said. "With social media it's very much geared for the personal so employers are playing catch up."

Gifford added that the lack of social media at work "isn't an issue to access or knowledge".

"Our studies have shown that if you just place social media into a work context it's not going to be effective," he said. "It has to have a purpose. If it doesn't, it's not going to work well."

A previous CIPD survey of 2,000 UK employees was conducted in December last year. It found that only about one-quarter (26%) of employees use social media for work purposes, despite 76% of employees using it regularly in their personal lives.

Of those who do use social media for their work, 47% reported seeing a real benefit for their organisations.