3 Talent Management Lessons We Can Learn from LinkedIn

LinkedIn often contacts people it seeks to recruit months before an offer is made. This allows it to communicate with potential new talent while educating the community and industry about the company.

Over the course of my career, I have gone years without a performance review. When I saw an article in Inc.by Marcel Schwantes, on how LinkedIn executives approach talent management, I was impressed. This company seems unusually good at hiring and developing employees.

Schwantes talks to Penry Price, vice president of Marketing Solutions at LinkedIn, who explains that LinkedIn often contacts people it seeks to recruit months before an offer is made. “U.S. Talent on LinkedIn engages with prospective employers nearly six months before their start date and 30 times along their hiring journey, offering businesses a long runway to communicate their values,” Schwantes quotes Price as saying.

An emphasis is placed on building connections with potential new hires. That sounds like an approach that could accomplish two goals at one time—reaching out to potential new talent while educating your community and industry about your company. You could do this by hosting monthly social events in your city for people in the fields from which you recruit. You also could host educational events for these professionals.

When you have a department with openings, or an area of your company that you are trying to build up with new talent, you could invite a dozen promising candidates to a lunch-and-learn event at your office to hear presentations from department executives on the new opportunities, inviting your guests to apply for the jobs.

If you get a good pool of potential new employees together, it gives you a chance to see the applicants’ personalities as they interact with both your executives and one another. You’ll get a sense of whether a person is an extrovert or introvert, and if you participate in group small talk, you can see if this is a person who is good at engaging others in group settings. A word of caution: Remember, not all people who become great employees do well socializing in large groups. I’m one of those people, so I know!

“Investing in internal employee retention and internal mobility,” is another tactic Schwantes reports LinkedIn is using. “Employees at companies with high internal mobility stay almost two times longer than those who don’t, and those who have found new roles internally are 3.5 times more likely to be engaged than those who haven’t,” Mark Lobosco, vice president of Talent Solutions at LinkedIn, tells Schwantes.

In my own career, I saw the power of internal mobility. If I hadn’t pushed myself forward, making as much of an ultimatum as I could without actually making it, I would have felt compelled to look elsewhere. How many other high-performing employees are like me? When this happened to me, the department head suggested he would have been glad to promote me, but never brought it up because he didn’t think I would be interested. I’m not sure I believe this excuse, but think about the lesson it imparts if he was telling truth.

If you don’t ask, you may never know what an employee wants for themselves. Annual reviews are common, but career planning, in which managers ask employees whether they would be interested in a promotion if a higher-level position becomes available, seems less common. When you pass over an employee for promotion and that employee stays with you, it raises questions about the employee and the company. Is this employee going to be engaged and satisfied with their job now that they have been insulted and frustrated by being passed over? If the employee does decide to happily stay, what does that say about their self-respect and dynamism? Do you want employees who are lethargic in their career progression, or those with self-esteem low enough not to be angered by being passed over?

The third tactic Schwantes shares from LinkedIn is to “empower employees to develop critical skills.”

LinkedIn data shows that from 2015 to 2021, skills for the same job changed by about 25 percent. “At this pace, by 2025 we expect members’ skills will have changed by about 40 percent—and that between 2021 and 2025, members may need to learn three more new skills, on average, to keep pace with the changing nature of skills required for their jobs,” Dan Shapero, LinkedIn’s chief operating officer, tells Schwantes.

Training can take an employee who starts out as a receptionist in your office and turn them into an account executive. You may find that your account executive may be better in a planning role in which they oversee the work of other account executives and create a long-term strategy to develop sales. You won’t find out any of these things without talking to employees about their career goals, and then providing them with training and opportunities to try out their new skills.

What is the current state of your talent management approach? Are you thinking of rebooting your approach to meet the expectations and needs of a post-pandemic workforce?