In a case that highlights the ultra-competitive – and sometimes incestuous – nature of the IT channel, CRN has learned that one vendor recently considered forcing departing employees to purge their LinkedIn contacts.
Software asset management (SAM) specialist Snow sent a contract addendum to staff in the past fortnight stipulating that when they leave, they must hand over details of professional contacts generated during their time at the firm before deleting them on all their personal devices and accounts.
Employees moving from one competitor to the next – often taking contacts with them – is a long-standing issue for an industry as close-knit as the channel.
Snow's agreement stretched to contacts on social media sites and banned outgoing staff from reconnecting with them for a certain time period. The Sweden-based vendor also demanded proof that the departing staff had complied with the rules, according to the original draft.
Snow chief executive Axel Kling told CRN today that the original draft had not gone down well with its regional management teams and the firm had since decided employees do not have to delete social media contacts.
"When we have any agreement or policy, we listen to what people say and you have to bear in mind we operate in eight different countries so there are different cultures and behaviours of working," he said.
"Clearly [the] draft... has been sent out internally from us. We discussed it and of course listen to what people think."
He said he is focused on protecting the business and its intellectual property but that he has no desire to control staff's social media accounts.
"The draft that has been spread [around] does not reflect the intention of what we are and what we want to do," he said. "The company needs to know who we are conducting business with. Making ordinary records of business relationships... is a must [but] having people erase their phone book or anything like that is not the intention.
"But we of course need to make sure people are not copying our CRM system to bring it on to somewhere else – that is definitely something that has to be clear."
Kling would not comment on what prompted the firm to review its policy on departing staff, citing legal reasons.
According Paul Callaghan, a partner at law firm Taylor Wessing, asking staff who are leaving to hand over contacts' details is quite common, but how this relates to social media is still unclear.
"There has been no definitive case as to whether it can be required to delete contacts."
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