I am a huge fan of Linkedin. Its the most fantastic platform for anyone to use at work. With that being said, there are a ton of pros and cons to having employees use LinkedIn at work. That is the real reason your reading this blog. I am going to do the best job I can to explain why I agree and disagree with this statement.
Before we get into the pros and cons, I feel the need to share my story and how I used the platform.
At one point not so long ago, I was an employee of a small company. I started as a computer technician and worked my way up to a leader in sales. I was an avid user of LinkedIn, and it was awesome. While I was an employee, I would spend maybe a few minutes a week on the platform. My goal was to keep a finger on the "pulse" of the IT industry. I would see what competitors were doing, and because I was a happy employee, I never thought about leaving my company or reaching out to recruiters. After I got into sales, I began to use LinkedIn for creating content and making sales. I would do a lot of prospecting on there and figure out who could and would be a good potential sale. I would find prospects and connect with mutual connections to introduce us. That was tremendously successful. As time went on and the company began to mess with my compensation, I became a disgruntled employee. From there, I began to use LinkedIn to find recruiters and potential employers to hire me. I was highly successful with it and got some amazing offers. Instead of leaving my company to work for someone else, I decided to go and start my own business. This was my evolution of LinkedIn and how it was at first a recreational website to a selling tool and then an escape to leave my company. Since then, its one of my lead prospecting tools to this day helping me land some of my largest clients to date.
First: Employees are mainly going to be updating their profiles and spending time engaging with content. Getting more eyes on employees and having people see your company and what they are doing.
Second: Employees are engaged with company culture, they will more than likely share the company content. This will help to get it out to their network. Once again, it's more eyes on your products or services that are going to help.
Third: It allows them to see whats going on in the "outside" world. Employees don't have access to see what competitors are doing, and they aren't attending networking groups to hear what people are working on. This is an employee's way of staying on the pulse. They can check in to see what is going on in the business world and learn from it. Linkedin is full of information and news in so many industries that the learning can be endless. Valuable employees love knowledge, and when they are highly engaged, they can learn and grow as a person in my option. It's a huge benefit.
Forth: They can leverage it for sales or work to further the company. Linkedin can be a powerhouse for salespeople or HR professionals looking to hire new employees in an organization.
Fifth: there are groups on Linkedin full of other professionals in similar industries that you can ask for help or bounce ideas off of.
First: It's a huge distraction. I have seen employees spend an endless amount of time on the platform claiming it's for "work," and they get nothing done. You pay an employee to work not to go on social media. There is endless content on there and, therefore, an endless amount of time to be wasted.
Second: They can look for a new job on company time. If you, as a business owner, just yelled at a new employee and they are disgruntled. Linkedin is a great place to spend some time and look for new jobs. This could lead to an employee leaving when its something that could be so minor. If they can't use it at work, chances are good they will forget to look later in the day when they get home.
Third: Employees aren't using the platform correctly. I see salespeople and HR people spend hours on LinkedIn a day, and their efforts are highly ineffective. If that's the case, then there is time being wasted when an employee thinks they are doing the right thing. Improper training or use of the platform can be costly.
Fourth: Employees can post things that they may not realize could be detrimental or exposing to the company. If you have a "secret sauce," and the employee shares the company secrets on accident, it could give competitors an edge or an inside look at what you're working on.
Those are the main reasons I love LinkedIn, but it can be bad for employees. My recommendation is to make sure employees are doing the right thing. Limit their time on the platform and make sure they have training on what they should be doing to help themselves and the company. Happy employees will never leave, and the happiest of employees will become evangelists for the company. Take the above pros and cons with a grain of salt. Every company is going to have a different situation. Take the time to figure out what is going to work for you, your company, and your employees. If you need help learning the platform, please reach out!