I am shocked to find out that some large companies forbid their employees to use LinkedIn. These companies worry that if they expose the names of the people who work for them, that the best of their crop might be pillaged and yanked from their ranks. Well, I can only imagine the kind of environment that exists inside of a company that tries to create a roadblock in front of their people.
Personally, I would be embarrassed to be in a senior management position at a company that used policies of secrecy and protectionism to retain employees. Maybe this story will help to change the minds of these management teams.
LinkedIn is a platform where business professionals around the world post their business and personal data in order to exchange information with one another. I’ve made a tremendous number of personal contacts who have come to me through LinkedIn. People review my profile; they understand something about my background; they may call me or e-mail me. I’ve engaged in dialogue with many people, some of which have actually become personal friends and/or business colleagues.
But some large companies are afraid that if their employees start posting their career information on LinkedIn that corporate recruiters will raid the treasury of these large companies and start stealing away their very best talent.
Is it really possible to protect your best talent from being known by the world and then being swept away or picked up by corporate recruiters? Is it really possible to keep these great assets that you have under wraps? I don’t think so. I think if you have great assets, the world’s going to find out that they’re great and they’re going to want them. What ends up happening is economics 101: you as a company have to work harder to keep those employees happy and engaged in your company so that they don’t leave.
Don’t bother keeping a people on digital lock down. It can’t be done so why try? The digital world has created a new playing field and management who is using the old playbook won’t be very successful for very long. Locking down LinkedIn is a good example of a bad play.
We live in a very competitive world; we live in a world where information is moving at the speed of light. And in our digital age, that information is more readily available now than it’s ever been available in the past. That puts companies in both an awkward and powerful position. If they do a wonderful job of creating an environment that their best people want to work in, stay in and compete in, then they’re going to build a fantastic base of employees, whether they’re internal people, sales people, executive people, or otherwise. If they fail to do that, then those people will be dissatisfied and will become the targets of corporate recruiters who will put them somewhere where they’re properly appreciated, properly compensated and enjoy the challenges that come with their jobs. It’s not always about money either. It’s about the work environment taken as a whole.
So, as you are working hard every day to build your company, or as you’re building your career, don’t be a company that forbids the use of products like LinkedIn; don’t be a company that tries to hide your best assets. Instead, be a company who treats your best assets with great respect and with pride so that these terrific people stay with you regardless of offers that come to them from other places. If you’re doing a great job of keeping these people engaged, the likelihood of them leaving goes away all by itself.