A company handbook is an important and effective communication tool between an employer and employees, and it sets forth the company’s expectations.
Even though the content of an employee handbook may vary from business to business, it can often include a welcome/mission statement, company overview, policies and procedures, holidays, dress code, benefits, legal obligations as an employer, employee’s rights and more.
More recently, social media policies have become part of employee handbooks and detail acceptable and unacceptable work behavior or Internet usage. Unfortunately, the social media policies too often contain a very long list of things that employees should avoid doing and don’t provide clear direction on how employees should represent themselves or the brand online.
Nowadays, what’s one of the first things someone does when they start a new job? They update their LinkedIn profile. If we give five new employees an employee handbook with no clear direction on how to approach updating LinkedIn, we may end up with five different company name variations, five different company descriptions and roles that are in paragraph form, when the employer actually prefers them in bullet point form.
According to an employee activism global online report conducted by Weber Shandwick and KRC Research, employers are not effectively communicating to employees. The research revealed that only four in 10 employees can confidently describe to others what their employer does.
That’s an issue! So, why not provide recommendations in the handbook? Sure, we can’t tell employees what to do on their profiles, but we can definitely make suggestions to encourage consistency.
Here are a few LinkedIn recommendations that should be added to an employee handbook under the social media policy section:
Headline. Headlines are one of the most prominent parts of a LinkedIn profile and they show up in LinkedIn’s newsfeed and in search. We’ve seen @ symbols instead of at, the wrong variation of a company name and even phone numbers (which I despise and is against LinkedIn’s User Agreement under the LinkedIn “DOs” and “DON’Ts” section). As a best practice, “Title at Company Name” works just fine for a headline.
Company Name. You’d be surprised how many variations of a company name are on LinkedIn. Let’s take Starbucks (one of my favorite brands) for instance. Some Starbucks employees on LinkedIn refer to the company as Starbucks, Inc., while others refer to it as The Starbucks Company, Starbucks and The Starbucks Coffee Company. Which one is correct? No one knows. Be sure to also recommend that the company name under the Experience section links to the correct company page.
Role and Company Description. Under the Experience section of a LinkedIn profile, we recommend adding a summary of an employee’s role and an approved description of your company (think boilerplate).
Once the employee is properly on-boarded, we can now start empowering them to become brand ambassadors and share company content on social media!
If you have other LinkedIn recommendations that should be added to an employee handbook, share them in the comments.