You Belong: LinkedIn Brings Diversity & Inclusion Home

Teuila Hanson, Chief People Officer at LinkedIn, shared this article as a companion to her podcast, You Belong: LinkedIn Brings Diversity & Inclusion Home, 

As ILI continues experimenting with Maureen’s digital twin, here is episode 5 of the “Faux Mo Chronicles” where you can watch this digital twin evolve and see what the institute is doing to learn more about the technology and entertain you.

If I had to describe the past three years in one word, it would be “change.” The global pandemic accelerated a shift in how, when, and where we work. This, combined with economic uncertainty, has made the job market volatile. Slower growth, inflation, and increased layoffs have put pressure on professionals to make important career decisions. Many professionals are aligning their ambitions with their values, seeking companies that prioritize flexibility, purpose, growth, and learning and development. As talent leaders, we must critically rethink the future of work. How can we redefine productivity and keep our talent engaged and inspired? Here are a few strategies to adapt and meet the challenges of uncertainty.


Embrace an Adaptive & Agile Leadership Approach 

Talent leaders who can successfully navigate volatile cycles in the market, often adopt an agile and adaptive leadership style. In fact, McKinsey research shows that adaptability is the critical success factor during periods of transformation and systemic change. Adaptive leaders constantly reimagine their workplaces – iterating, adjusting, and experimenting with new ways of operating. They listen to employee feedback and modify their approach as needed, whereas reactive leaders react and respond with haste when crisis hits. By maintaining clear and consistent communication, adaptive leaders nurture employee and stakeholder trust, ensuring that even in times of uncertainty, transparency remains a priority. 

Today, building an adaptable and resilient workforce must be a cross-functional effort. The onus doesn’t fall on one department to enact change. To be successful, leaders should work together to build an employee-focused, future-forward culture—one where professionals want to stay and build their own agile careers.


Prioritize a Culture of Flexibility at Work

According to LinkedIn’s 2023 Workplace Learning Report, flexibility is the #1 factor candidates look for when considering a new job. At LinkedIn, we understand that in order to be successful, we must adopt an approach that quickly responds to the changing needs of our employees. Early in the pandemic, we introduced a simple question: “How are you doing?” to our Employee Voice Survey, which helped us get a quick pulse on what our employees needed most. We changed our hybrid and flexible work policies to meet people where they were and launched innovative mental health and L&D programs like “LiftUp!” and Career Week. As the Chief People Officer at LinkedIn, it was important to establish frequent points of connection with employees to actively listen, over-communicate, and build trust.


Lean Into Skills-First Hiring & Development to Attract and Retain Talent

Skills have become an important currency in the job search today. This is especially true during times of economic uncertainty, when keeping your skills sharp and taking proactive measures, like career cushioning, becomes key to staying relevant and future-proofing your career. No matter your background or level of experience, even if you’re stepping into the workforce for the first time, your skills are an important part of your professional narrative. For companies, taking a skills first-approach carries many benefits. For example:

  • Companies become more efficient in talent attraction & development: When businesses know the skill sets they have and need in their workforce to be successful, they can hire candidates more efficiently and develop existing talent to better meet business needs. In fact, More than 45% of hirers on LinkedIn globally explicitly rely on skills to search and identify candidates on LinkedIn. 
  • Companies gain access to a wider, more diverse candidate pool: Skills-based hiring can be an opportunity amplifier for talent with transferable skills. When companies take a look at the skills needed to get a job done instead of the degree and years of experience that typically accompany a position, they often find they have a wider bench of qualified, more diverse, talent to choose from. In fact, skills-first hiring can increase talent pools in the U.S. by 20x for workers without bachelor’s degrees.

In addition to building a more agile workforce, focusing on skills can encourage internal mobility and give employees access to new career opportunities. At LinkedIn, as well as companies like Google, EY, and Penguin Random House, we have removed degree requirements from the majority of our jobs, while other companies like IBM, Microsoft, and Apple have focused on measuring skills through projects or tests. To create a future-proof, agile workforce, organizations must double down on adaptive leadership and investing in their talent. During these uncertain times, companies should implement strategies that allow them to react quickly, ensuring the workplace is an environment that allows employees to grow, develop, and learn new skills that will bring us into the future. 



Teuila Hanson is the Chief People Officer at LinkedIn. In this role she leads the team responsible for hiring, developing, and growing top talent, including all benefits, employee experience and Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging programs.

Prior to joining LinkedIn, Teuila was the executive vice president and Chief Strategy and People Officer at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. In this role, she led the strategy and people teams and served as chair of the bank’s management committee, creating an engaging workplace by driving bank strategy and integrating best practices in talent management, inclusion and diversity, learning and development, compensation and benefits, employee engagement and corporate culture. Teuila also held various leadership roles at AECOM Technology Corporation, a global professional services organization.

Teuila earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Sonoma State University, and her juris doctor degree from Golden Gate University School of Law. She is a licensed member of the California Bar.



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Check out the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-Creating Our Future via Apple PodcastsTuneInStitcherSpotify,  Amazon Music,  AudibleiHeartRADIO, and NPR One.

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