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How LinkedIn Can Raise Its Value

Take a wild guess: How many people in your company are on LinkedIn?

My best guess: almost all of them. I’m fairly certain your employees and recruiters are avid LinkedIn users. Imagine what would happen if LinkedIn decides to capitalize on their popularity in matching jobs and profiles by taking it one step further: develop a Workforce Admin module and become a full cloud HR and talent solution. It would not be the easiest module to add (involving local legislation which is not needed for talent), but it would make LinkedIn more versatile and a strong contender in the contingent workforce space.

LinkedIn is the only HR system that I know where users voluntarily and frequently update their profile so it reflects the latest status. According to their latest numbers, LinkedIn has 364 million registered members, so they register a substantial part of the global workforce. From a talent perspective, LinkedIn likely holds more up-to-date information than your in-house talent system; because there’s nothing better than showing off your latest promotion, acquired certification and other career successes to your network so they can congratulate you. The activity feed allows you a bit of insight into personal opinions. And while I don’t think the Recommendations feature provides valuable info, as this is usually quid-pro-quo and as such meaningless, Skills & Endorsements offer insight in what others think a person’s qualities are.

For those of you who think it is a competitive problem when talent information is available online, trust me when I say your employees live in the “sharing” age and have already made their info available to every recruiter who sends a Connect request. So rather than trying to dam the river, go with the flow and imagine ways to benefit from all that talent information.

In the 2020 economy, where supposedly everyone will be contingent workforce, LinkedIn serves as the great Talent Broker. Instead of adding workforce information to your in-house HR system, imagine that workers have a current LinkedIn profile and – for the duration of an engagement or a project – allow you to add them to your Org structure (also offered by LinkedIn). And once the work is done, you simply sever the connection and release them back into the LinkedIn resource pool.

With the Lynda acquisition, LinkedIn seems to signal they are ready to branch out into the talent space through offering learning and training. It’s not a far stretch to imagine that they extend their offering by incorporating basic HR data. With Workforce Admin plus an API for the release of payment data to either finance or payroll, they could develop this into a full blown HR system that covers the needs of the 2020 workforce.

Question is: how comfortable will employers be when employee data is stored in the cloud, employees own it themselves and access will only be given for the duration of an engagement? Or is it simply unavoidable and we just don’t have the right tools yet?

So could you imagine LinkedIn as your HR System?