9

Say a company has no company policy for giving its employees business cards, is it acceptable for employees to make their own without telling his company/boss?

And if one wants to only use said cards for giving to people of their society, not business purposes, does one need to inform their boss/employer?

  • 3
    You do not mention the reason why your company does not issue business cards. Often only a limited number of 'client-facing' employees have business cards. An intermediate solution is having business cards without the employee name, only containing the general contact information. – Jan Doggen Jan 9 '15 at 15:47
  • 1
    Are you talking about business cards for "Waleed, Software Developer, somebody@gmail.com" or the like, or "Waleed, Software Devleoper, XYZ Corp, waleed@xyz.com" with XYZ's logo? – Monica Cellio Jan 9 '15 at 16:09
  • 1
    I think the edit #2 "pasteurized" the question too much. Moving the "inform employer" from the first to second paragraph softened the question and weakened Joe's answer. – Mindwin Jan 9 '15 at 17:07
  • Things are sometimes (not always) just a matter of transparency and simply asking. I guess what you're talking about could easily fit in that category. I mean, if you can't even talk about it with your company, this is a sign there must be other serious problem besides this one. – Jivan Jan 9 '15 at 19:49
39

should the employee print business cards on his own without telling his company/boss

The fact that you include the phrase "without telling his company/boss" leads me to suspect you already know this isn't a good idea.

You do not have the right to print and disburse business cards that would lead the recipient to believe you are representing your company, without gaining their permission first.

You could instead produce personal cards, leaving off all aspects of your company affiliation, if you choose. Omit the company name, address, phone number, email, logo, etc. You could include your title, website URL, personal email and home phone number.

Then you could hand those personal cards out whenever you desire (such as at a networking event or professional society meeting), without asking your company for permission - not on company time, or on the company premises, of course.

If you really want to know if your company would let you do something - ask them first!

  • 9
    Right on the money. One more point to consider: Trademarks. A company's name and logo are usually trademarked, and you could be (as in "probably are") violating that trademark with unauthorized use, even if it is truthful. – Wesley Long Jan 9 '15 at 17:05
  • 2
    I actually printed off my own personal business cards with my personal information. Great for networking at conferences and such. Nothing in the way of business information but I included URL's to my linked in profile and personal website (both easy to type in). – RubberChickenLeader Jan 9 '15 at 17:33
  • 3
    "you could hand those personal cards out whenever you desire, without asking your company for permisson" -- although if you hand them out to people you meet at work (especially clients or suppliers), when your company clearly has a policy that you don't hand your employer's business cards to those people (since you don't have any), then you're probably doing something wrong. – Steve Jessop Jan 9 '15 at 17:57
  • 2
    @JoeStrazzere: I think many employers would be concerned about an employee trying to get their personal contact details into as many clients' and suppliers' address books as possible on company time. YMMV :-) Of course the question isn't about company time, but nevertheless I think "whenever you desire" warrants that qualification. – Steve Jessop Jan 9 '15 at 19:49
  • 1
    Handing out your own personal business cards on your employer's clock and on your employer's premises? Be careful with that concept. – Vietnhi Phuvan Jan 9 '15 at 19:59
2

Everyone making their own business cards is definitely not a good idea. Your business cards represent your company, so everyone should use cards with a common corporate design.

When there is no official policy for business cards but employees frequently find themselves in situations where it would be appropriate to hand them out, then maybe it is time to create one.

Do you have a PR department? Then these would be the people to ask to create a business card design which reflects the corporate identity.

When your company is too small to have a PR department, then you could do this yourself. Create a template for the business card design and ask your management if it is OK to post it on the company network so everyone can use it.

Should your attempts be blocked by management, then they likely have their reasons why employees shouldn't hand out business cards with the company logo and you should definitely not argue with them. All you can do in this case is print your own cards without the company logo or any other sign of your affiliation with the company.

1

There is nothing wrong with making a personal "business" card, as long as it contains only information that's not related to your employer. In the US, you can get a box of 250 cards printed up very inexpensively.

Making non-official business cards that represent your employer is not a good idea. That you know you have to go behind your employer's back indicates to me that you already know you shouldn't do it.

0

You need to expand on what you mean by "people of their society". Are you referring to society in general or do you mean something like a professional society?

If you're attending meetups, conferences, etc, in your field, I'd say you're representing your company just because people know you work there. You don't have to be a designated spokesman to be perceived as the face of your company at that event. People will form opinions of your company -- and whether they want to do business with your company -- based on their perceptions of you.

If you're totally keeping your company affiliation secret, and no one else at the meeting could be aware that you work there, that might be a different matter. Though you'll then run the risk of an awkward moment when someone who met you at one of these meetings ends up with business at your company and runs into you at work.

On the other hand, if you meant that you were using your cards for personal reasons at social gatherings that have nothing to do with your profession, go for it. Unless you're a salesman or trying to impress someone, why would you use a company business card in such a situation, even if the company gave them to you?

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.