You should already have some form of social media policy in place that you can refer your staff to when there are disputes about what can or cannot be published in a public forum. But one of the things that is often forgotten is the ownership of and access to a LinkedIn account.
It is important to realize that a LinkedIn account belongs to the individual and not to the company. There are ways of ensuring that a company still has access to the corporate relationships developed by the staff member when they leave.
But the account still belongs to her.
A problem I encounter far too often when I communicate with people via LinkedIn, is when I receive a note back that they no longer work for that company. Or worse yet, the time I read “We deeply regret to inform you that [our staff member] has passed away.”
Why its a problem
The relationship that we develop on LinkedIn is between two individuals. They happen, at this point in time, to represent the company that pays their salary. But we want to stay in contact with our contact, the individual, even when she leaves this company. That is one of the benefits of using LinkedIn for sales. A satisfied customer can move to another employer and then recommend your services to a new client.
But when they don’t update their accounts properly, access to that person is cut off. And the relationships created there, as well as all correspondence and personal information captured in LinkedIn’s CRM system, is lost.
How to avoid this
When a staff member sets up their LinkedIn account,they should load 2 email addresses – their own personal one, as well as their company one.
While working for your company, they should have the company email address as their primary address. That keeps the company brand front and center, and looks professional.
Their personal address, for example, firstname.lastname@example.org, will be kept private.
When they leave your employment, they must update their profile and remove the company email address. But they still have access to their account via ‘fuzzy bunny’.
And the ultimate resignation?
It is a difficult time to deal with the unexpected death of a colleague. Ideally we should all have a will, and our modern wills should also outline what should be done with our digital estate. But failing that, a next of kin can inform LinkedIn of someone’s death, provide a certain amount of proof, and LinkedIn will close the account down. If the family have access to the email and passwords, they can do it themselves. Far better to do this than to have someone endorsing a deceased person for skills! LinkedIn outlines this process here.
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net