LinkedIn Shares Its Steps Thus Far in Managing the Coronavirus Pandemic

The professional network will hold its first-ever virtual all-hands meeting for all 16,000 employees

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LinkedIn chief marketing and communications officer Melissa Selcher shared an overview of how the professional network has been managing the coronavirus pandemic internally.

She wrote in a blog post, “It’s likely not a surprise that we—at LinkedIn—believe in the power of navigating the Covid-19 issue together with our networks and communities. People coming together physically is how the virus we’re fighting spreads, and coming together virtually is one of the ways we’ll beat it. Beating it isn’t just stemming the disease’s spread: It’s taking care of our loved ones and peers, those in need and on the front lines, our businesses and our economy. Many of our customers have asked us to share how LinkedIn has approached managing this crisis, and in the spirit of sharing any information that might be useful to others, here’s what we’re doing, what we’ve learned, and how we’re thinking about the path ahead.”

LinkedIn’s executive team had been holding three daily standup meetings, including its regional managing directors, but as more processes were built out throughout the company, it was able to streamline its “gatherings” to a single daily stand-up, adding other employees within the company as necessary.

The framework LinkedIn used for every decision was based on these principles: protecting its workforce, starting all decision-making with the facts, partnering with industry peers and learning from one another, and ensuring business continuity.

Selcher said every LinkedIn region and office has an incident management team, made up of representatives from human resources, legal, communications, facilities and security, as well as the country or office leader.

She added, “As the virus spread to more countries, we had more local IMTs making decisions. We quickly felt the challenge of managing the different details and having consistency in our decision-making. We had never needed a global IMT but spun one up immediately. We also made sure the people who would be running the global IMT for the duration of the Covid-19 issue were fully dedicated and their full-time jobs were backfilled. The Global IMT is now responsible for maintaining a running list of all our offices, current status and impacts, and local health guidelines. They also play point on coordinating with the local IMTs, experts and local health officials. They join every executive stand up as the source of truth for us.”

The global IMT also created definitions and frameworks for each of the company’s locations, including a “green, yellow and red” status for each office, with clear definitions. Selcher wrote, “This enables us to be consistent in how we communicate with our workforce and how we manage our workplaces.”

She also described how employees are being supported throughout the crisis, including managing those without the proper setups to work remotely or with kids who will be home, as well as those with visa challenges.

LinkedIn joined parent company Microsoft in guaranteeing that hourly workers who support its facilities will be paid whether or not they are able to work.

Mental health support services were extended globally, and virtual mindfulness situations were established.

Selcher added, “We don’t know any other way, but a direct and consistent drumbeat of communications has proven particularly important, and our employees have been incredibly grateful. We’ve learned that in these times of uncertainty, our teams really want clarity and direction, and we’ve opted to overcommunicate in order to maintain trust.”

The professional network is also ensuring that regional managers have the information they need, holding regional manager question-and-answer sessions with hundreds of them and moving them to a regular weekly setup.

LinkedIn will hold its first-ever virtual all-hands meeting for all 16,000 employees next week, and its talent team has moved all interviewing to virtual.

On the infrastructure front, Selcher wrote, “It’s clear that we won’t have a break from this soon, and the teams who have been working around the clock need help and support. We’re quickly working to ensure that we have the right infrastructure in place to support a fully remote workforce and support plans for all the key functions and people leading the work and the business.”

She concluded, “While the challenges and hours managing this situation are significant, what we learn will benefit our companies for years to come. With that said, more than anything, we hope the moves being made around the globe will quickly stem the spread of the disease to save lives and help those suffering economically find relief. If you have anything you’ve seen work well in your organizations that will benefit us all, please share—we’ll get through this together.”


david.cohen@adweek.com David Cohen is editor of Adweek's Social Pro Daily.