LinkedIn just launched a new service for job hunters. It's called Open Candidates. LinkedIn describes it like this:

Open Candidates is a new feature that makes it easier to connect with your dream job by privately signaling to recruiters that you're open to new job opportunities. You can specify the types of companies and roles you are most interested in and be easily found by the hundreds of thousands of recruiters who use LinkedIn to find great professional talent.

It's a nice tool for job seekers because it eliminates the need to change your heading to something like "Experienced HR Professional Seeking New Opportunities." It allows you to signal your availability and allows recruiters to focus their efforts on people who are actively seeking new jobs.

No one wants their bosses to know they are seeking new work, so LinkedIn added this security feature:

Who among us hasn't, at some point, tried to find work without our boss finding out? Now, you can privately indicate to recruiters on LinkedIn without worrying. We will hide the Open Candidates signal from recruiters at your company or affiliated company recruiters.

Should you be concerned about job hunters within your office? Should it be worrisome if you find out that people are looking to leave? Should you try to circumvent the system? (Which would be easy. Just have your recruiter not affiliate herself with your company, which is why job hunters shouldn't rely on LinkedIn's promises.)

The answer to that is no. You shouldn't panic when your employees are seeking new employment. When you find out that someone is seeking new work, it gives you a great opportunity to plan ahead or to fix problems.

Keep in mind, not everyone who indicates that he or she is interested in a new job actually wants to leave. Companies have little loyalty to their employees and employees know that. It's best to keep your options open.

But if someone wants to leave, knowing that can either bring you great feelings of joy (after all, no one likes to fire) or can indicate areas you need to improve. For instance, did this person just get passed over for a promotion? How does her salary relate to the market rate? Has she taken on more work lately without an increase in title or salary? Is there a bully dominating the office? How are your managerial skills?

You can take a look at all these things and work to make your workplace a more hospitable and fair environment. If you've taken a look (truly) and everything seems good, you still shouldn't freak out. You actually don't want people to stay with you forever. You want to bring in new talent from time to time. Your business probably doesn't have the needed positions to provide all the career growth needed for every person.

So, when you find out that an employee intends to move on, don't panic, fix problems, and when she finally resigns, throw a going away party. After all, if she's that awesome after she's learned new things at another company, you'll want her back. Make sure she wants to come.