In one of the more troublesome developments of the modern working work social media has become something of a head ache for employers. From requiring a whole new section of the employee handbook detailing the dos and don’ts of social media what about Snow software recent attempt to make ex-employees delete LinkedIn connections. In the incestuous world of IT sales where contacts made whilst employed for one brand can be just as worthwhile and valuable once you have moved on this is a headache for all IT sales companies.
Snow Software’s idea was to make people leaving the Swedish company, especially for a competitor, to hand over a list of all professional contacts generated during your time with the brand before removing them from your LinkedIn network. In addition you were not allowed to reconnect to said ex-connections during a specified time frame. The proposed contract amendment was applicable to other social media websites not just LinkedIn however the reaction from middle management and other staff has been such that plans to enforce it have since been dropped.
Unfortunately with social media an ever changing landscape it it’s impossible to keep ahead or control your employee’s connections. As long as there are rules people will find ways around them. That’s not today both parties have a point but it does smack of desperation when you hear about proposals such as Snow’s. In the past it has been standard for companies to request the handing over of business cards from networking connections generated but this practice has been outdistance by modern technology. Indeed the safest way for business to protect the networking done by staff who are leaving the business is the removal and wiping of any allocated mobile phones and computers – But if the individual knows they are leaving then how do you know they haven’t copied it for safe keeping beforehand?!
The protect for networking connections made by the law since we have moved to a more social media focused environment is very much a grey area however I am sure this is not the last attempt we will see by a company to try and control connections generated by departing employees.