What LinkedIn means to paranoid employers (Week 10)
I’ve worked for the same company for seven years. Before that, I worked at my previous employer for eight years. It should be fairly clear that I’m a stable, loyal employee.
Our company had to lay off 50% of our workforce in June of 2011. It was a terrible day, because we are a very small company and our employees are a pretty tight bunch. I joined LinkedIn around that time to keep in touch with those who were let go and to see what kind of new jobs they subsequently found. Somehow, the senior company management caught wind that I had a new profile on what they considered to be a job-search website, and they questioned me about it within a few weeks of my joining. Why was I looking for a new job? Did I need to talk? Was there a particular individual layed off that I disagreed with?
Considering that was over a year ago, they are likely over it by now and realize I was honest in my reasoning behind creating an account on LinkedIn – that I simply cared about the people who were let go and wanted to see when they found new employment.
Apparently, a lot of people are annoyed by LinkedIn, judging by the 44% statistic at http://amplicate.com/hate/linkedin . Of course, this link should probably be taken with a grain of salt, since it seems to be a message board for complaints. Their complaints are relevant, though, especially those involving incessant e-mails from the company. Since joining LinkedIn, I get e-mails several times a week asking if I know certain people or telling me I should update my profile. To be quite honest, I’m hesitant to add contacts or add details to my profile because then the newly-added contacts receive e-mails telling them I’m expanding my network or that I’ve updated my information. My employer’s paranoia has made me paranoid, and I’m worried that another red flag will be raised and I will be considered “on my way out the door” at work. Maybe this would have a positive impact, and I’d get a raise or added benefits if they don’t want to lose me, but it’s probably more likely that I’d be considered disloyal.
The benefits of LinkedIn are fairly obvious to those actively looking for work or who work on a consultant basis. Those individuals need to create a large network and get the word out about their skills and what they can offer as an employee or consultant. Those of us with steady jobs, though, need to understand that from some employers’ perspectives, LinkedIn looks like a great website for headhunters and people “exploring their options.” Industries involving aspects of security requirements, employees in whom companies have invested time and money to train, intellectual property concerns and the like foster employees with incredible value, and they obviously don’t want them to go anywhere. I suppose LinkedIn could be seen as a threat to companies wanting to retain their workforce.