I spend a good deal of time on LinkedIn, and find it a valuable site, but there are some things that bother me, like the time they wanted people to bring their mommies and daddies to the office. (Just say no!) The other thing that bothers is me is that they are constantly asking me to include what causes I care about.
Knowing what I care about does not indicate my ability to do any particular job, and it can bring up controversy that most people would rather not inject into the networking process. Not everyone likes the same organizations and wants to support the same agenda. Activism of all sorts can make a future employer nervous. Are you going to come into work for me and, instead, be focused on your pet cause?
But, what if the company you work for decides to make your LinkedIn profile part of their activism? Consulting Giant Booz Allen Hamilton, as part of Pride Month has changed their LinkedIn logo to include a rainbow overlay.
Is this proper on LinkedIn? I contacted Booz Allen Hamilton, and asked what the employee involvement was in this change and received the following response from Kimberly Schrader West,
We have not changed our logo; we've included a temporary overlay on our LinkedIn profile--a common practice on social media channels--to highlight the first week of Pride Month. Booz Allen uses a variety of different approaches on social media and in other channels as we acknowledge Pride Month, Black History Month, Women's History Month and takes other opportunities to support our employees and attract and retain a diverse workforce. Booz Allen is a great place to work because people from all backgrounds and walks of life come to the table to help our clients solve their toughest problems.
I don't like to put words in people's mouths, but since I asked about if their employees were included in this decision and got a "rah-rah we're awesome" response, I'm guessing the answer is no.
They certainly have the right to add a rainbow overlay to their logo on LinkedIn. And most people won't think that it's the employee (and former employee) who has turned their LinkedIn profile into an activist site. But, Booz Allen (poor Hamilton gets left out a lot) is a technology and engineering focused consulting firm.
Do you want your firm to be known for your social activism or for your business services and products? Just like clicking that I support "poverty alleviation" and "science and technology" on LinkedIn's list of things that matter doesn't indicate that I know anything about how to alleviate poverty through science and technology, changing a logo doesn't indicate that a company is an expert in this area.
So, just as I'd recommend for people to leave their activism, their religion, and their hobbies off their LinkedIn profiles, I recommend that businesses do the same.