How LinkedIn Has Managed Employee Experience During the Pandemic

The Getting Hybrid Work Right call series has become a well-attended and wide-ranging discussion for HR leaders on all aspects of hybrid work. On this week's call, i4cp' s CEO Kevin Oakes and Senior Research Analyst Tom Stone facilitated a conversation with special guest Nina McQueen, VP, Global Talent – Benefits and Employee Experience at LinkedIn. Here are some highlights from the call:

  • Early during the pandemic, LinkedIn had a simple employee listening strategy centered around one question: How are you? McQueen said they received thousands of responses that covered the full spectrum of stress, burnout, isolation/depression, family responsibilities, and more. This provided key input for how LinkedIn responded to support their employees.
  • LinkedIn's key initiative for employee engagement over the past two years has been called LiftUp! It has included a wide range of programs and events, including some with celebrity guests like Mindy Kaling, John Legend, Jason Sudeikis, and Matthew McConaughey. Some have been learning focused, while others wellness focused.
  • Also included in LiftUp! was an experiment that quickly became a monthly feature: No-Meeting Fridays (first Friday of each month). These are still work days, but they are intended to let employees catch up on email, avoid being on camera, and reflect and think and catch their breath. This is a no-cost program, and one that leaders and employees have responded very positively too.
  • LinkedIn's approach to hybrid work centers on trust and care. They trust employees to continue to do their best work no matter where they are working. They are also focused on learning and adjusting as time goes on, with a lot of agile trial and error. Like many organizations, there is a mix of full-time in-office, full-time remote, and many who are hybrid (in a flexible way, with the days per week varying by role and team).
  • A major benefit of this approach, as other companies have seen, is the broadening of the talent pool that LinkedIn can now hire from (around the US and indeed around the globe -- any location where LinkedIn has an official legal entity).
  • LinkedIn provides a lot of support to their people managers, including niche-topic workshops and a standing once a month meeting to keep them updated on the latest policy shifts, best practices, etc.
  • LinkedIn has six wellness tenets that they focus on: thoughts, breathing, hydration, nutrition, movement, and rest. Each year they go very deep into one of these, leveraging a catchy phrase for internal communication, e.g., keep in mind, quest for rest, etc. The focus for 2023 is financial well-being, and its connection to stress and burnout.
  • McQueen said that a key aspect of an organization's culture is to see it as the "collective personality" of the organization. A key measure and enabler of culture is: can and do employees cite the organization's values with clarity?
  • A new employee program called Reconnect is focuing on bringing employees together to connect with each other and learn how to best collaborate. An initial event was focused on "re-onboarding" every employee to the organization. Each month there will be a different focus, e.g., decision making frameworks, lifting people up with random acts of kindness, etc. These experiences will continue into 2023, which is LinkedIn's 20th Anniversary as a company.
  • During the call, we asked the following participant poll: "Has your organization's culture changed since the onset of the pandemic?"
    • 13% Yes, it has become much better
    • 40% Yes, it has improved somewhat
    • 11% No
    • 34% Yes, but it has deteriorated somewhat
    • 2% Yes, but it has become much worse

Links to resources shared on the call: