Conference reviews

Strategic HR Review

ISSN: 1475-4398

Publication date: 22 February 2008



Millard, S. (2008), "Conference reviews", Strategic HR Review, Vol. 7 No. 2.

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Conference reviews

Stephen MillardVP strategy, Clearswift.

Clearswift, a specialist in content security, hosted this roundtable to discuss the effect of Web 2.0 technologies on businesses and the impact on HR professionals. The panelists at the event were:

  • Stephen Millard, VP strategy, Clearswift;

  • Alyn Hockey, director of product management, Clearswift;

  • Deborah Fernon, organization and resourcing advisor, Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development;

  • Penny Davis, head of HR operations, T-Mobile;

  • Peter Cunningham, UK and Ireland director, Viadeo; and

  • John Court, IT project manager, SJ Berwin LLP.

The discussion centered around Clearswift research that found HR professionals are still battling with the issue of employees wasting time on the internet as the lure of social-networking sites such as Facebook continue to attract users. As a result 50 percent of HR professionals have had to discipline employees for time wasting and two-thirds (65 percent) said their companies have implemented a blanket ban on all Web 2.0 sites to deal with the issue and avoid the perceived risks associated with its use. Blocking access to Web 2.0 sites, however, did not appear to be based on thorough experience and understanding of the business benefits as, despite the rise in popularity of social-networking sites, only a third (34 percent) of HR professionals are actively using Web 2.0 technologies and one in five are unfamiliar with them.

The research also highlighted a disconnect between HR and IT regarding where responsibility lies with regards to monitoring employee use of the internet. A total of 36 percent of HR professionals did not consider monitoring employee usage of the internet as their responsibility. Furthermore, only 44 percent of HR professionals are involved in developing an internet usage policy and only 21 percent are involved in monitoring it, as opposed to 82 percent of IT departments.

The discussion posed questions such as should staff be allowed to use such sites in the workplace and, if so, do restrictions need to be imposed to prevent inappropriate use or data leakage? Organizations looking for answers on blogging and social media have turned to IT and HR for help but is HR’s role that of a policeman? Does the HR community understand the potential threats and benefits of these technologies to the business? Innovative HR departments are already recruiting through Web 2.0 sites like Facebook, LinkedIn and Second Life, and by taking advantage of these technologies in a secure way they are gaining competitive advantage.