Your employees are a honeypot
This post was originally posted at LinkedIn, October 31st, 2016: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/your-employees-honeypot-tom-laine Why support your employees to build better online presence, help them update their LinkedIn profile or to let them write blog posts during office hours and share their knowledge (for free)? What if someone identifies them being as good as they are, and attracts them to change jobs, headhunt them from us?
Standard questions and argument I've heard so many times during even the last few years. Or "Why build online presence or update LinkedIn profile, when I'm not looking for a job?"
Only during the last few years organizations have started to think about how their employees have slowly become more credible advocates of the company brand than the company itself. Or how their expertise may actually attract even better job applicants or new customers. Or how they reach more people than the company does. Or how some of them have become influencers, thought leaders even. What's the value in that? How could we leverage that network / expert status / credibility to make better business?
Let's face it, our employees are the honeypot for new customers and better job applicants!
So instead of being afraid of them leaving, let's try to make the best out of the situation while they are with us, let's try to keep them happy. Let's give them the freedom of speech to talk about their expertise, the company, their work. After all, we've hired them, so they should be smart enough to let them do that, right?
A top expert doesn't want to work in a team where they don't have positive challenges, or where they have to drag the other teams members behind, or for a company that doesn't support their personal development.
They want to work with the best, people who are at the same level or even better than they are, so they can learn. And the higher the level of expertise, at a decent salary level, they are no longer motivated by the money, they may work for less if the tasks are interesting and the team is great!
Make your best experts' skills visible. Support them to build better LinkedIn profiles and to write the blog posts. Let them share whatever they want, trust them to be smart enough to know what they can and what they can not share. Internal communication should support this, train them to build better profiles or to write more engaging posts.
You can't make everyone a blogger or push them to LinkedIn, just don't restrict them. Support them if they want to network or write or engage into interesting conversations online. Those that feel comfortable with it need support and guidance, let the other's stand back and learn. Perhaps later on they feel the need to express themselves, too. To have them like and share stuff is a good start.
Some companies go as far as hiring ghost writers for their employees' LinkedIn profiles, but I would avoid that. The profiles should be written by the people themselves, they need to stand behind it and it needs to sound like them. But training never hurt anyone. Supporting is very different to doing it for them!
If you forget the rest of this post, just remember this one line.
The best employer brands are built on employee brands.