There’s a respected HR blogger on the market by the name of Suzanne Lucas. You may know her by the name Evil HR Lady. She’s an early influencer in our community — someone who is admired by dreamers and skeptics alike.
At the beginning of June, she wrote an article that criticized companies for getting political on LinkedIn. One example of politicization? Booz Allen Hamilton changed their LinkedIn banner to show their support of Pride Month.
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.
The article was published before the Orlando massacre, but even then it struck me as offensive and tone deaf. Supporting LGBTQ rights isn’t considered “social activism” by anybody except the most bigoted and vile members of our society.
Gay rights are civil rights. It’s pretty much a settled debate for corporate professionals under the age of 35.
There is a generational divide between those HR professionals who feel like politics should be discussed at work and those who don’t. But Suzanne Lucas is a seasoned HR expert. She knows the ins and outs of employer branding strategies. In the case of Booz Allen Hamiton and others who display the Pride Flag during the month of June, they’re telling potential candidates that bigots and zealots need not apply.
I think that’s a smart HR strategy.
I admire Suzanne Lucas. She has a smart take on all things HR. But this specific article is gross, and I hope she takes another crack at it. If supporting basic human rights on LinkedIn is wrong, I don’t think your company wants to be right.
Here’s my HR advice: Fly the Pride Flag. Fly it at work, fly it at home, and fly it on LinkedIn. And boldly ignore bad advice from HR ladies who tell you to take it down.