• Leadership, leverage and results


    With more than 225 million members in over 200 countries and territories - and new members signing up at a rate of more than two per second - LinkedIn has taken networking to a whole new level.  Connie Gibney, LinkedIn's Global Leader of Talent Technology & Operations, discusses how the world's largest online professional network defines and encourages high performance across its team.

    How do you define high performance?  


    At LinkedIn, talent is our number one priority and we are fortunate to have a business populated by high performers. This does, however, bring its own set of challenges in terms of how we motivate and reward, as well as help guide the careers of employees, who are all over-achievers.


    To stay true to our values and culture, we measure on three key performance indicators: leadership, leverage and results.  No matter what level or career stage our employees are at, we believe each of them can demonstrate performance against these metrics – and of course our managers can help to correct and encourage as necessary, by continuously reviewing their team against each of these three indicators.  The results are positive.


    How do you measure success?  


    It's very important to have goals and objectives to guide performance and to create clear expectations, for both the company and the employee.  It's a good idea to start by defining your performance management programme and reviewing what you hope to achieve by implementing it. Then, select and roll out tools which can help guide discussions between manager and employee, and provide benchmark data. 


    We use online and cloud-based tools to accomplish this. With our performance management tool, for example, employees write a self-evaluation – a valuable learning process in its own right – and managers can select individuals for peer or customer feedback to supplement that. It’s a very collaborative process.


    What can companies do to create an inspiring corporate culture?  


    At LinkedIn, we believe that our culture is who we are – and who we aspire to be.  That culture is driven by clear values which guide our decisions. These values are reflected in everything we do, from executive decisions on product to employee programmes such as onboarding, performance management and rewards.


    For example, one of our core guiding values is ‘Members first’, and this is especially important to us in HR because all of our employees are members. So when we talk about talent being our number one priority it truly resonates on many levels – our business is all about talented people. Any company, regardless of size, can foster a cohesive, effective culture by keeping its values in mind and interweaving those values into all employee programmes and general business language.


    What are the challenges in maintaining this long term?  


    One of the biggest challenges we face as we grow is managing scale. Our network is growing exponentially as we continue to connect the world's professionals and help make them more productive and successful. Managing the growth of that network is a challenge, and so too is managing our growth in terms of the increasing numbers of employees, and the complexity of operating in multiple geographies.


    But we see that challenge as an opportunity. Culture is very important to us, and we feel that each employee from each country contributes to that culture as it evolves. Transformation is a key element of our company and its continuing success, and that relates to our employees and their development too – but our core values remain steadfast.  We develop employee programmes that reinforce our culture and values – while being sensitive to cultural differences in different territories – and trust that by instilling our culture and values as early as the recruiting process that they will continue to be reinforced by talented employees and strong managers.


    What advice would you offer companies seeking to optimise performance?  


    The best piece of advice I have ever been given is that if you believe something will happen, it generally will! I apply this to business because success is really about problem-solving. You can’t just be defeated by the problems you will inevitably encounter – if you focus on envisaging a solution the journey to a successful end result becomes clearer and much easier to navigate.  



12/3/2020 8:21:56 AM