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We’ve all received one. We get the invitation by someone we met on the airplane, in the office building lobby, or in a recent meeting, to connect. It’s usually coming through a social networking site called LinkedIn. LinkedIn is the business person’s or professional’s rendition of social networking which compares to FaceBook allows you to connect with friends and see the latest pictures, thoughts, videos and just about anything else you want to know about them.

What is
LinkedIn (LI) allows you to do some of the same things. The difference is LI pushes you to put in work history, certifications, and other CV/resume type information. If you do so, then your profile is “complete”. It’s not about the company, it’s about the individual. This is probably why they have failed to catch on in Japan.

Why Are Companies Concerned?
If you look at the actually use and business model of the site, LinkedIn is an online resume service. This brings the question for c-level management running businesses, “Should we embrace or avoid LinkedIn? “ The answer to that question can be addressed by five concerns that AINEO partner clients have brought up about LinkedIn.

1) LI is a recruiter’s mecca.
Besides some sales people, the majority of the paid subscribers are recruiters with additional access to LI user date

2) LI will send job mails to your team who are members

3) LI is insecure and has been hacked

3) LI management believes that a person should only work a job for 2 to 3 years.

4) LI is all about marketing one’s self, not promoting your company or services.

5) LI users can spend hours at the office looking through members to connect to rather than servicing customers.

In conclusion, the service is wonderful if you are a recruiter flipping resumes, but not if you are a CFO spending tens of thousands every year training your team to do their jobs. No company wants to invest in the team just to have them lured away to another company or worse yet, a competitor.

What Should We Do?
Should a company embrace or avoid The answer is for you to decide but from what we hear from our partner clients, having your team spending time on connecting with people online will not translate to sales. More and more firms are completely blocking the site.

Business is about connections but it’s also about emailing, calling, visiting and talking with people to see what their needs are at that time. For a business who is running the B to B (business to business) model, both Facebook and LinkedIn are probably not things you want people in your office spending much time on. In the end of 2012, LinkedIn became such a nuisance in several industries that Americans there started deleting their profiles to avoid the recruiter rush.

Is it good or bad? The answer is in the eye of the beholder but we’ve not met a c-level boss at any AINEO partner interested in having people working at their firm for just 2 or 3 years.

AINEO also recommends that you implement a Social Media Policy. One famous policy has been done by IBM. You can get an idea of that here. However, rather than mimic another company, we recommend you think about what would be good for your business and your team and make decisions based on that experience.

Comments? Let us know. Or drop us a line here.