How LinkedIn strengthens employee engagement

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For employers looking to attract and retain talent, LinkedIn has a simple recipe for success: Treat your employees well, give them choices, and give them opportunities based on their needs and desires.

“It’s the human you want to retain, not the skill,” Pat Wadors, LinkedIn’s chief human resources officer , said Monday at the Society for Human Resource Management’s annual conference. “If you aren’t looking at talent internally, in addition to externally, you are missing out on a big opportunity.”

Engaging employees and making them feel valued is more imperative than ever as the talent war heats up. According to SHRM, 90% of employed workers are looking for new opportunities.

“We as HR professionals cannot rest on our laurels,” Wadors told a packed room of HR and benefits managers. That’s why the social media giant focuses on compassion, career development and employee benefits that meet “employees where they are.”

Simply put, the company consistently looks for ways to “inspire [employees] to stay,” she said, noting that it’s important to understand that more employees are looking for a richer workplace experience than in years past. For example, she said, “millennials want to explore the world and their skills.” Career development opportunities can support both.

“Help them get on a career path,” she said. “Ask employees to have a career conversation every six months. [Ask them:] Are you mastering what you want to master? Are you passionate? Are you learning what you need to?” Employers also can support travel opportunities, promotions and opportunities to try out new jobs. Nearly 30% of millennials rank strong career development opportunities as one of their top priorities for finding a place to work, Wadors says.

Wadors said the company surveys its employees twice a year to better understand what they want from the employer — and LinkedIn tweaks practices and policies based on that feedback. Just as important, she said, is pulsing new hires on what they are hoping to get from the company, as well as pulsing employees who are leaving. “We ask them what we can fix to make the company experience better. I tell them, ‘It’s OK to move on; I just want to make sure we treated you as beautifully as possible when you were with us.’”

When it comes to benefits offerings, flexibility and benefits that support all employees are key, Wadors said. For example, generous parental leave policies may be all the rage, but they don’t have any value to employees who aren’t parents.

“Look at what’s going on in the market,” she said. “You want to keep up, but I don’t mind being different if it makes sense.”

Some of the company’s most popular offerings — dog-walking services for when employees are at the office, acupuncture, extra support for caregiving, a haircut van vendor that parks outside the office —cost little or nothing. But they do show employees that the company cares, she said.

These approaches have worked well for LinkedIn, which consistently is regarded as a top place to work. Wadors says the firm’s employee engagement and satisfaction numbers have grown higher than ever, as well.

“With higher engagement, there’ll be a higher intent to stay,” she said.

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Employee engagement Employee communications Benefit communication Workplace culture LinkedIn