Monday 9 January 2012

The Linkedin Dilemma

I read in the papers just recently that a Company Executive got fired due to ticking off the box specifying he was interested in ‘career opportunities’ on linkedin. In a public website the company in question claimed that they had a policy that specifically prevented its employees from signing up for the network and ticking the “career opportunities” box. It would be seen as a sign of disloyalty to your employer. The employee is bringing a case to court for unfair dismissal’

I found this article intriguing particular as a former Executive Search Headhunter. As far as the recruitment and headhunting industry is concerned, Linkedin was a very powerful tool to use to headhunt experienced hires. (Although not top or C hires, as they are less likely to publically show themselves,) I know some recruiters who purely rely on it. I remember using it back in 2002 when Linkedin was by and large fairly new for a large client and it worked wonders for me. Nowadays thousands of business executives or corporate employees have their profiles on it of which a very high proportion have ticked off the part ‘interested in career opportunities’ Clearly a significant statement for prying eyes, and hungry headhunters. We had therefore no inhibitions when headhunting as we knew that the employee was openly eager to receive our call.

As an employee’ what does that mean to be ‘interested in career opportunities. Effectively what the employee is saying is ‘call me because I am always interested in either hearing what is out there or for a better opportunity. Are you loyal to your firm? Clearly not. This therefore raises all sorts of questions such as. Are you satisfied? Are you not happy? Do you feel unfairly treated? What is the problem then? To always want more is a constant inner struggle in our nature whilst so many of us seem permanently restless and dissatisfied which is more acute in a time of change and uncertainty. The problem therefore lies in the combination on how the employer is treating you and how we feel treated by the company, our attitude and how we behave as an individual.

As far as employers are concerned this is a nightmare. They are regularly infuriated in some of their staff leaving for another opportunity. They have an excellent employee who ‘they believe’ is talking to headhunters simply because he had ticked off the career opportunities box whereby being enticed for a better paid and more responsible position. (this could also be the headhunter/recruiter selling hot air and/or talking them into a move) They are right to be irritated and somewhat infuriated. What do you do? You devise a policy to make it against company policy to fill in your details on linkedin. Good one.

Now that I have left headhunting and run an employment consultancy firm, I will be very frank. I think it is vital to re-instill loyalty back to a firm and work on bringing happiness in a company. It is essential that we look after our employees and do everything to keep them in maximizing their talents and gifts through every available opportunity. It is vital that the right people are working on the right things at the right time. Oh how our productivity could increase ! What we do not want is slave driving talented individuals or that they become codependent or using carrot and stick policy (offering extra financial incentives) If anything will have the opposite effect.

Finally as an individual we must also play our part, to regularly challenge and re-invent ourselves, to give ourselves time to invest in our own training and education in order to stay abreast. Let’s not get so caught up in our sole purpose for growth and profit in this fast changing ‘virtual’ world, this is only running away from own true talents, and let’s be open to change and have a positive attitude.

Ultimately there will simply be no need to tick the box ‘interested in career opportunities’ which is like living in a dream world for that eternal wish for something bigger and greater.

1 comment:

  1. Hi, George - is this the article you read?