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LinkedIn is going with a widely applauded ‘We Trust Each Other’ approach for employees returning to work

August 8, 2021

LinkedIn is the go-to social media platform for career-minded white-collar professionals. The site caters to job seekers and people looking to expand their networks. It is the mandatory home for recruiters, human resources and in-house talent acquisition professionals to search and find candidates for their job openings.

In light of their preeminence in the job and career sector, LinkedIn is a bellwether for finding out new and emerging trends. As businesses of all sizes are planning their post-pandemic work plans, it’s natural that we would turn toward LinkedIn for its perspective.

Last week, LinkedIn CEO Ryan Roslansky wrote a post on its platform, detailing what the company plans for its employees’ work options. Roslansky wrote, “We trust each other to do our best work where it works best for us and our teams. We’ve learned every individual and every team works differently, so we’re moving away from a one-size-fits-all policy.”

He added, “We’re embracing flexibility with both hybrid and remote roles, expecting more of us to be remote than pre-Covid and removing the expectation of being in the office 50% of the time. [Eighty-seven percent] of our team told us they’d like to be in the office sometimes, so we’re continuing to invest in amazing workplaces for everyday work and those times when our teams come together.”

Roslansky felt that remote work proved successful during the outbreak. He said, “The incredible business results we shared this week [referring to quarterly financial results] are a testament to how successful our team has been working in new ways over the past year.”

Microsoft bought LinkedIn in 2016 for around $26.2 billion. Now, it’s the third $10 billion business acquired by Microsoft. Revenues for LinkedIn were up 46% compared to the same quarter last year. Microsoft officials say LinkedIn’s solid advertising business surpassed $1 billion in the last quarter.

“Leading with trust and flexibility is not new for us,” said Roslansky. The job-search platform previously initiated a number of worker-friendly programs. LinkedIn provided its workers an extra paid week off in April. Teuila Hanson, LinkedIn’s chief people officer, said about the decision, “We wanted to make sure we could give them something really valuable, and what we think is most valuable right now is time for all of us to collectively walk away.” She added, “I think the reality of the weight of the pandemic really took its toll during those months. That was a heavy time. That is when we were seeing: ‘wow there is clear burnout.'”

In a follow-up LinkedIn post after the time off, Hanson wrote, “It’s been three weeks since we all returned from our companywide RestUp! week and it’s so inspiring to see how our employees returned to work rejuvenated and recharged. It reminds me just how critical company culture and the wellness and mental health of employees are to any business.” It’s a smart move on the part of companies, as Hanson points out, “A supportive company culture not only attracts and retains the kind of talent needed to build the business.”

Last year, the company previously announced working from home less than half of the time would become the new standard, but the plan was open to change. With the sudden surge of the Delta variant, it is reasonable for LinkedIn and other corporations to remain flexible. Apple, Facebook, Google and Twitter pushed back their plans on having employees return to an office setting.

There could be concerns with decentralized manager-based decisions. For instance, if you are a single mother with young, preschool-aged children, it would be reasonable to ask for a remote option. What happens when her boss holds an old-school mindset and prefers his staff to be in the office? Similar issues could arise. There could be claims of favoritism or punitive actions based on the decisions made by supervisors around hybrid and remote options.

No program is perfect. It’s smart that Roslansky stressed flexibility and adjustments to the decision-making process. The comments from members on the site overwhelmingly and widely applauded the concept of trusting workers to self-determine what’s best for their specific situations.

Here are a few of the many comments, in response to the CEO’s message.

Kevin D. Turner, TNT Brand Strategist LLC
“Love this evolved approach Ryan Roslansky & Teuila Hanson. ‘We trust each other to do our best work where it works best for us and our teams.’ Kudos & #KeepRockingLinkedIn!”

Rajwinder Dhillon, senior principal at Guru Gobind Singh Public School-India
“Very exciting efforts! Kudos to LinkedIn Team for showing deep-rooted trust upon each other! Excellent policy to keep humanity on its priority!”

Michael Plis, founder and IT pro at Cyberkite
“Ryan Roslansky, good one man. Results-based employment is best. Nobody likes to be imprisoned in mandatory workplaces. The best results come from letting your staff have good planning and good reasons to work from anywhere. If a staff member performs the same or better working offsite than working in an office, why stick to old school? If a staff member has a big family and they can’t concentrate at home, then a smaller office or local rented workspace for teams is the right place and sometimes it’s just needing to meet in person with the team anywhere and then go off into the universe to do their great work.”

Liam Darmody, EQ-driven operations leader, LinkedIn branding pro
“Love the approach. Companies hire adults and should treat them as such until they’re given a reason not to—not the other way around.”

Olivia P. Walker, founder, O.W.B Public Affairs. public policy guru. strategic comms. and public affairs writer
“Ryan Roslansky, you had me at, ‘We trust each other to do our best work where it works best for us and our teams.’ As it should be. Well said. Great leadership.”

Kristen Ackerly, founder at Feeling the Vibe Media
“So smart that LinkedIn has decided to roll with the times instead of fighting them. So many are set in their ways, but seeing a powerhouse like LinkedIn making these ‘employees first’ motivated moves sets the stage for the company to become even more extraordinary.”

by Jack Kelly

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