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Thursday, September 12, 2013

Quit Snooping on Your Employees on LinkedIn

By Jessica Miller-Merrell

LinkedIn, the recruiter’s social recruiting go to tool of choice is now over 225 million users strong. Social media and the Internet is a great way to stay up to date on professional information and news related to your job and career, but it is also a way to spy on your employees.

Having had resuming mining access to job boards for many years, I always cringed when hiring managers were allowed access to source using these systems for employees or worse I’ve had hiring managers' request to receive updates regarding employees who update their resume on a job board as well as LinkedIn. These databases and resources are not meant for spying they are for searching for qualified potential employees.

As the use of social recruiting and online tools grow, I become increasingly concerned about employee privacy and data not only for individuals but when employers use access for big data analytics and information as a way to predict an employee’s resignation or the beginning of their job search activity.

I speak out of experience I was nearly fired for recruiting on LinkedIn. And I plead. Quit snooping on your employees. Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Four Square, access to employee information shouldn’t be used as a productivity-monitoring tool. Employers, particularly managers should focus on measurable results like meeting assigned expectations, deadlines and production metrics than social media activity.

Ever since social media came an important workplace topic the idea of privacy has been thrown out the windows. From employers wanting to gain access to employees' social media accounts to recruiters now trying to predict an employee’s next move. We’ve become so focused on the possibility of employees leaving that we forget to implement programs that focus on overall retention.

To me, the importance should be put on the actual culture of the company instead of all the moving parts that are being scrutinized in this technology age. The use of obtaining employee social media passwords and recruiters snooping on employees on LinkedIn would cease to be an issue if the culture was one that encouraged employee growth and opportunity.

Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a workplace and technology strategist specializing in social media. She’s an author who writes at Blogging4Jobs. You can follow her on Twitter @blogging4jobs

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