SI Review: July 2010

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Last Words, SI Review July 2010

Tweet This, Not That
Social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook allow people to communicate more loosely, but many companies are tightening their grip on how employees use these channels at work. Thirty-eight percent of chief informationofficers (CIOs) polled in a Robert Half Technology survey have implemented stricter social networking policies, more than twice the number (17%) who say they have relaxed the rules.

A larger percentage (23%) of technology executives are tightening the reins on personal use of social media than are placing limits on social media use for business (15%). A previous study found that 55% of companies have social networking policies that ban the use of social networking altogether.

"The challenge for companies is balancing the benefits of social media in the workplace with the risks," comments Dave Willmer, executive director of Robert Half Technology. "Firms are evaluating how to help employees use social networks to keep pace with developments in their industries, stay connected with business contacts and promote their organizations without sacrificing information security or employee productivity."

Role of Administrative Professionals Expanding
Administrative professionals are moving beyond their traditional roles to take on responsibilities in such areas as cost control, technology/the use of social media, hiring and corporate social responsibility, an OfficeTeam survey reveals.

Key findings:

  • Sixty-three percent of administrative professionals have assisted in hiring other support staff at their teams.
  • Fifty-five percent of administrative professionals have managed volunteer activities for their employers.
  • Forty-seven percent of administrative professionals have coordinated fundraisers for nonprofit organizations at work.
  • Half of managers indicated that support staff play a role in helping their firms reduce spending.
  • Forty-four percent of support staff use social media for professional reasons, but only 22% promote their companies' products or services with these tools.
  • Thirty-two percent of supervisors said they have turned to administrative personnel for help with technology.
  • Thirty percent of administrative professionals have been tapped to assist with environmental initiatives.

"Administrative professionals are doing more than ever to help companies cope with business challenges, playing an instrumental role in their organizations' recovery and growth efforts," comments OfficeTeam executive director Robert Hosking. "Managers may be overlooking a valuable resource if they aren't tapping support staff to take on new projects."

Financial Services Execs Must Improve Teamwork
The financial services industry wants its senior-level executives to sharpen their team-building skills more than other capabilities, while pharmaceutical/biotech and healthcare industries say their top-level executives most need to improve their leadership abilities, according to a survey by outplacement and executive coaching firm ClearRock.

"Financial services is one of the industries that has been affected the most by the recession, and has made among the deepest workforce cutbacks. Financial services companies want their top executives to be able to pull together those who have survived the layoffs and downsizings, motivate them, and move them forward by building teamwork," comments Annie Stevens, managing partner for ClearRock.

The survey found:

  • The top three skills that financial services senior-level executives need to improve are team building, leadership and strategic thinking.
  • Pharmaceutical/biotech senior-level executives need to sharpen their leadership, communication and employee engagement skills.
  • Healthcare industry senior-level executives should work on their leadership, communication and employee engagement skills.

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