Half of HR Managers Report Disciplining for Internet Use

January 2, 2008 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - Nearly 54% of HR professionals have had to discipline employees for wasting time on the Internet, according to recent research from content security specialist Clearswift.

In addition, more than 46% have encountered or had to discipline employees for accessing pornographic sites at work. According to a Clearswift press release, another 14% of HR professionals surveyed said they have had to discipline employees for confidential data leakage, and 7% reported having to do so for posting inappropriate content on social media sites, blogs, and wikis.

Sixty-four percent of respondents said their firms continue to block access to social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace (See Employers Restrict Workers’ Facebook Time ), 63% block access to wikis and blogs, and nearly 70% prevent their employees from accessing video or photo sharing sites such as YouTube and Flickr.

“While 87% of the people we surveyed reported that their organizations have a written Internet use policy, only 61% of their companies actually have a technology solution in place to enforce the policy – 20% of the respondents didn’t know if they have a solution in place,” said Stephen Millard, VP Strategy at Clearswift, in the press release.

Only 35% said their companies’ Internet usage policies covered the use of Web 2.0 sites and technologies, while 25% said they did not know.

When it comes to policy enforcement and monitoring, the survey found HR professionals are deferring to the IT department. Fifty-five percent of those surveyed said monitoring is left to the IT department. In the event of a violation of the acceptable use policy, 47% of respondents said they rely on their IT department to notify them if they believe a breach has occurred.

Only 3% reported that their HR department monitors employee Internet use and determines if a breach has occurred. In 15% of the cases, the HR department is automatically notified by the IT system of a possible breach. Almost a quarter (23%) reported that employee Internet usage is not monitored, but HR will investigate if notified of a possible breach by an employee or manager.

Nearly one in four professionals Clearswift surveyed said they do not understand Web 2.0 sites or have never heard of them. Only one third (34%) of respondents actively use Web 2.0 technologies (See Employers Use Social Networking Sites to Check Out Job Candidates ), and 42% said they are familiar with the sites, but do not use them.