barbed wireI never thought I had a problem with rules. Most of the time I like rules. Until I find one that doesn’t make sense to me. Like the removal of the strings on my windbreaker. If you are someone who got your strings caught in the bus door or merry go round, I am sorry, but I miss those strings because they kept my hood on my head when it was windy.

Recently we have found that a lot of companies have rules about LinkedIn. It has been a bit of a challenge with more than a few clients who say they can’t look at LinkedIn at work because of some kind of restrictive employee LinkedIn policy.

Really? I guess in the age where most people carry multiple electronic devices with them, I thought we were done with that sort of restriction. I guess I was wrong.

I came from a large health care company and only in 2013 were we given access for any kind of social media, but I thought that was because we were so large and slow moving where technology was concerned. Apparently there are more companies like that than I thought.

A friend who is on a board with me does have access to LinkedIn, but ONLY at the office, which is pretty different. His company claims ownership over its employees’ profiles (which we know is a big LinkedIn no-no) and states that they are not allowed to access their profiles, except from the office.

Another woman I know has to have everything she posts, likes, or comments on approved by legal first. The problem is, once legal finishes black lining and approving, it’s no longer relevant.

A great post came out on LinkedIn recently discussing this specific topic. Here are a couple of points that I thought were just common sense.

  1. Your employees are your brand ambassadors. If your employee is on LinkedIn, then so is your company’s name. Get them to follow your company page, it’s free advertising!
  2. Trusting your employees is a morale booster. If you show them that you trust them that goes a long way. Information is for everyone. If the employees aren’t using LinkedIn or social networking sites on their company computers, and they’ll do it on their phones anyway.
  3. It’s just good business. If you (and your employees) don’t connect with your customers — through LinkedIn — someone else will.

It is in a company’s best interest to have its employees engaged and active on LinkedIn. Employees with strong networks who use LinkedIn will share frequently and push out content about the company, strengthening the brand to all of their followers.

Most of the time there are rules in place to keep people safe. I know for a lot of companies this is all still new and scary. What’s the worst that can happen if you relax that employee LinkedIn policy? You could lose a good employee to another company. But in the process you could gain a great employee because they found your company on LinkedIn. I know the world won’t change overnight, and it will take a while before the free flow of information travels easily through the corporate channels. ‘Til then my hood will keep blowing off and my ears will get cold. Guess I better invest in some earmuffs.

Want to know more about using LinkedIn for your business? Get in touch — we can help.