A reminder before getting started that I am not an attorney, I do not play one online and anything I say here is not legal advice rather the opinions and thoughts of a recruiter and soon to be company owner.
Do you see the storm clouds on the Social Media horizon? HR pros, recruiters and yes marketing, public relations and sales folks should be seeing them for sure.
You own them right?
Not so fast.
If you are using your personal accounts during business hours, doing company business and on company resources (computer and internet) you may be opening yourself up to some issues.
Better stated, your employer may be thinking that they have some claim to your profiles.
While I am specifically thinking about the non competes many recruiters on the search and consulting firm side have to sign we are now seeing policies being put in place for employees of all skill sets.
Sales: when a prospect or lead connects with you on LinkedIn do you add them to your CRM?
Recruiters: are you adding Facebook and Twitter followers who maybe or are possible candidates to the applicant tracking system?
Marketing: are you adding contacts met during a networking to your company database or newsletter?
In 2010 there was a lot of buzz in the national legal and HR community about a case here in Minneapolis between two consulting firms and a recruiter(s) about a non compete and use of LinkedIn connections:
While a confidential settlement was the result you can get some idea of the result by clicking
As we start our consulting shop I am already thinking about our policies and procedures for our future recruiting and sales teams.
There are four articles I have linked to below written by attorneys who all take a bit of a different angle on if policies should be written and if so how specific.
We are working on a session or webinar on this topic with Teresa Thompson of Fredrikson & Byron for the Minnesota Recruiters group. Teresa spoke at one of our events in 2009 and also was an attorney for the defendants of the case linked above.
As companies many of us are looking for staff who have a following, reputation, book of business and database of names/contacts/companies that can help grow our companies.
What I find ironic is that while we want to recruit those kinds of folks we want to lock that material in when they leave.
Surely a reasonable middle ground can be found.
I also think about companies who will write draconian policies and procedures and wonder if they will be able to attract the staff they need.
What I mean is… if a company wants to hire a recruiter, sales person, online marketer and tells them that any contacts they make must be left behind when they leave, why would they want to work there?
I know I did not settle anything with this blog post and it was not my intent. This is something I have been thinking about for a few months and know many of you should too.