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Making Culture a Competitive Advantage


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LinkedIn's former talent guru, Steve Cadigan, shares how to maintain a focus on culture as your company scales – plus what that can mean for the bottom line. Presented at Goal Summit 2017.

Published in: Recruiting & HR
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Making Culture a Competitive Advantage

  1. 1. Culture as Competitive Advantage Steve Cadigan, @scadigan Winning in the New Reality
  2. 2. The answer to this question says it all Who is your main competitor @scadigan ?
  3. 3. Winning Today Ain’t Easy • Hard to predict the future • Who really believes a 5 year plan? • Barrier to entry lower than ever @scadigan
  4. 4. LinkedIn Story @scadigan • Create an amazing company • Transformation journey • Unexpected success
  5. 5. Results Do the Talkin’ @scadigan • LinkedIn grew staff from 400 to 5,000 in 5 years • Considered one of top IPOs of past decade • Doubled revenue while doubling employee base y/y • "Disrupted" an industry • $26B exit in only 13 years from birth • Built a "world class" company
  6. 6. The Billion Dollar Questions • How do you build a company when: all your leaders are recruiting most of the time? • How do you double revenues every year when: your employee base doubles every year? • How do you avoid suffocating from: the weight of your success? @scadigan
  7. 7. @scadigan The Irony of LinkedIn’s Success On paper this was not supposed to happen!
  8. 8. Big Challenges @scadigan • Scaling without crumbling • Culture, Communication, Org Layers, Titles… • Constant Changes, Growth and Complexity • New people, offices, countries, policies… • What business are we in? • How do I focus my team in chaos?
  9. 9. More Challenges • How do you beat the best companies in the world in war for talent: • Google, Apple, Facebook, Netflix, Amazon… • We had no brand!! • “Linked…What???” • And yet…..we succeeded @scadigan
  10. 10. The Untold Stories of Success @scadigan • Exec team “rookies”/first timers • First time CEO • Complex business model • Real competitive threats (Google, Facebook & …) • The “pain” of growth
  11. 11. Inflection Point @scadigan • Biggest impediment to our growth? • Hiring top tech talent • Our main business product? • Recruiting product • Our biggest pain point?
  12. 12. Career “Transformation” @scadigan
  13. 13. Culture was our Focus • “What kind of company do we want to be?” • Everyone builds a winning culture • “We want this to be the best job you ever had!” @scadigan
  14. 14. How Did We Achieve Success? • Listening • Culture++ @scadigan
  15. 15. Driving Career Velocity Delivering transformation @scadigan • Talent was our #1 priority as a company • Career velocity mattered • Career “bursts” • We tore up “one year before you can apply”
  16. 16. We Focused on our Brand @scadigan • Issue: we needed to stand out in a crowd • Solution: • Amazing experiences • Guest speakers • Work is an "adventure" • Virtuous cycle created • Message amplification
  17. 17. @scadigan If Talent is your differentiator then… • You must learn from your talent • Listening and collecting information is essential • Information informs strategy • Information provides insights to adjust course • You MUST have a Listening Strategy today New Assets
  18. 18. We won with Culture • InDays creation • Inspirational speakers • Creating – awesome experiences • Career transformation @scadigan …We listened to the stories and responded
  19. 19. The Path Forward • The world is increasingly transparent • You must have a great culture or great talent will not want to join or stay • Employer brand is real • So real you should not try to “produce” • Your brand must be authentic • Culture more critical than ever @scadigan
  20. 20. In Summary Culture can be your “competitiveadvantage" • Stories are your brand • Are you creating experiences worth talking about? • Is having an awesome culture a priority? • First step is building a listening strategy @scadigan
  21. 21. Summary Thoughts • You can win against better brands • With bigger arsenals • You can be world class as a first timer • Everyone engaged in building your company is powerful! @scadigan
  22. 22. Questions? Thank you!