Should your employer have input into your LinkedIn profile?

Great find from the awesome and always observant Ashley Motia: “Would You Let Your Employer Tell You What Your LinkedIn Profile Should Say?” from The Consumerist. Here’s a summary of the story:

[O]ne Consumerist reader[‘s]…employer recently told all staffers to edit their LinkedIn profiles to reflect the business’ very specific branding message. [The email came] straight from the top of the company, instructing everyone to change their profiles on the professional networking site so that the text describes the business in the exact same, sales-lingo-filled way across all staffers’ pages.

I’m interested in hearing your opinions about this practice. Since LinkedIn could be considered a more relevant workplace tool than, for instance, Facebook, is it reasonable that an employer would ask employees to follow a given set of standards? Or do you believe that what you say on LinkedIn should be entirely the employee’s choice, even when he or she is using LinkedIn on company time and using it as a representative of his or her company? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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6 Responses to Should your employer have input into your LinkedIn profile?

  1. Lacey Anderson says:

    I actually have first hand experience in something similar to this locally. The company I worked for wanted everyone to get one Linked In and update their information so it was appealing, I was tasked with editing profiles for employees with their help. They also wanted all of the employees to utilize some applications to upload sale sheets and input the company’s websites and blogs. I had mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, LinkedIn can be used as a business newtworking tool, but on the other hand it is a personal networking tool and I felt like I own my page. If that means I shouldn’t use LI at work, so be it!

  2. Andy Welfle says:

    Do you have an opinion about it, Anthony? And if so, are you willing to share it?

  3. ajjuliano says:

    Andy:

    My opinion (and I want to stress that it’s an opinion) is that organizations should focus on having a strategy for making use of LinkedIn and provide their employees with training in how to use it well, and then get out of the way. My strong sense is that anything an organization would do to “improve” or “standardize” its employees’ efforts would end up sounded too scripted. I still believe LinkedIn works best as a person-to-person channel, and once you take the personality and individualism out of it, it becomes just another marketing message that gets tuned out.

    I’d love to hear from anyone with a legal background, though. Does the company has the right to claim any “ownership” of an employee’s LinkedIn content? Does the answer to that question change if the content is developed on company time (and what does that mean for exempt employees)?

  4. Nancy McCammon-Hansen says:

    If your company doesn’t trust you to be professional on your LinkedIn page, then my feeling is you may not be working for the right people. Suggestions are one thing and I’m ok with that as a person who does marketing. But at a certain point “getting out of the way” is, and on this I agree with Anthony, the right thing to do. Good people don’t like to have someone babysitting them…and they’ll move along– when they have the chance– to someplace where they’re treated like adults.

  5. Andy Welfle says:

    Anthony, I totally agree!

  6. Snoglydox says:

    A LinkedIn user is there to sell him/herself, not the company; a company forcing an employee to fill in according to their wants, opens too many doors. What about our transportation; are they going to force us to paint our cars with their advertising? What if a company wants you to reduced your true value on LinkedIn, to make it harder for you to find a better position, so they get to keep you at a discount?

    Companies want a free market, but only if you do what they tell you to do.

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