Social Media and Compliance: What Companies are and are not Doing!

Social Media and Compliance: What Companies are and are not Doing!Social Media – it IS all the rage! So, to find out what effect the social media explosion is having in the workplace and how companies are responding to its use, the Society of Corporate Compliance and Ethics (SCCE) and its affiliated Health Care Compliance Association (HCCA) fielded a survey among compliance and ethics professionals. This is the second survey SCCE and HCCA conducted on business’ response to social media – the first survey was conducted in 2009 – and the research was designed to track how business has responded to the explosion of social media usage.

Survey respondents reported that discipline of employees for their activities on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn is on the rise. According to the survey results 42% of respondents reported that their organization has had to discipline an employee for behavior on these sites. That is up significantly from 24% reported in 2009.

Policies for Social Media Use Away from Work

Yet, while headlines tell of employee firings for Facebook or Twitter rants or privacy violations, only about one-third of survey respondents report that their organizations have adopted policies specifically addressing the use of social media sites outside of work.  The data reveals an increase from 10% in 2009 to 31% in 2011 of respondent who report that their employer has specific policies for social media use when away from work.

Social Media at Work

Companies often set site-specific policies for workplace access to social media. Forty-seven percent reported that “anyone” may access LinkedIn, while lower numbers are reported for Facebook and Twitter – 32% and 31% respectively – and 35% of respondents companies allow no access to those two sites at work. It is interesting to note here that “for profit” companies are more likely than “non-profits” to allow access to LinkedIn. Health care companies (40%) were far less likely to allow access than industry as a whole (77%).

Monitoring Social Media Use

In 2009, passive systems for monitoring social media policies – acting when appraised of an issue – was used by 32% of respondents and yet, despite the exponential growth of Social Media use, the availability of monitoring solutions, and the increase in company policies that restrict its use, passive system are now relied upon by 48% of respondents.

“Business has clearly awoken to the risks and opportunities posed by social media. The increase in business usage of social media sites has been accompanied by increased efforts, at least on paper, to control employee activity inside and outside of work,” said Roy Snell, Chief Executive Officer, SCCE and HCCA. “However, reliance on informal monitoring methods and lack of clear owners of monitoring suggest that many companies have a long way to go in ensuring that their policies are followed,” said Snell. “At the same time we must be very careful not to stifle one of the most effective business tool we have, social media.”

For the complete survey results, click here:



About the HCCA

The Health Care Compliance Association (HCCA), established in 1996 and headquartered in Minneapolis, MN, is a non-profit professional membership organization made up of compliance and ethics professionals working in the health care industry. HCCA is dedicated to improving the quality of compliance. Visit HCCA’s Web site at Tel: 888/580-8373.    

About the SCCE

The Society of Corporate Compliance & Ethics (SCCE) is headquartered in Minneapolis, MN. Its mission: SCCE exists to champion ethical practice and compliance standards in all organizations and to provide the necessary resources for compliance professionals and others who share these principles. Visit the SCCE Web site at, Tel: 888-277-4977. Society of Corporate Compliance & Ethics is located at 6500 Barrie Road, Suite 250, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55435. E-mail: