Creating a Culture Where Everyone Feels They Belong

October 10, 2016

employee resource groups

Talent is our number one operating priority and our employees take great pride in their ability to shape LinkedIn’s culture. It’s this amazing culture that sets us apart, defines who we are and shapes what we aspire to be. There are many places where we can see the strong, positive impact our employees have made on the company, but one of the biggest is in our diversity, inclusion and belonging programs.

Led by our six Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) and three functional, employee-led initiatives, our talented people play an integral role in helping us foster a diverse and inclusive environment, where everyone can feel like they belong. While we could not capture the full impact of these groups in a few sentences, we wanted to share some examples of how they are helping create change.

Black Inclusion Group (BIG)

BIG’s mission is to utilize LinkedIn’s data, resources, and employees to close the opportunity gap for Black people in the technology industry. Recognizing that the Black shootings in the United States have had a profound impact on the Black & ally community at LinkedIn, BIG, in partnership with Hispanics of LinkedIn Alliance (HOLA), organized an employee town hall. This structured forum directly addressed the issues of racial injustice and belonging with a goal of empowering our US employees to have constructive discussions. This was an opportunity for peer-to-peer education, healing and a chance to educate their fellow employees on the challenges their community faces. More than 500 employees attended and many of them said it was one of the most memorable and impactful events they had ever participated in at LinkedIn. For some, it was their first true moment of belonging in their professional space.  


This group is focused on generating awareness, fostering inclusion and driving hiring of people with disabilities at our company, in our communities and in the world. EnableIn has created a more human-centric approach to disabilities accommodations and has partnered with IT to bring closed captioning to our all hands meetings and Facilities in working out a plan to add Braille to our meeting rooms. This year, for the first time in its history, LinkedIn sent out a survey giving US employees the opportunity to anonymously disclose whether they identified as having a disability. By giving employees this option, not only are they able to be their true selves at work, but as an employer, we now have a better understanding of our own population of employees with disabilities. EnableIn is now able to generate awareness around the prevalence of disabilities within our own company and work in partnership with our recruiting team to increase representation across our company.  


Hispanics of LinkedIn Alliance (HOLA)

HOLA is focused on building and empowering the Latino community, by fostering and maintaining an inclusive, supportive and culturally competent environment. This year they partnered with BIG on the employee town hall on race and together organized a quarterly meeting with our CEO and executives to engage them in a deeper conversation to raise awareness and increase knowledge and sensitivity to these issues and opportunities.  

LinkedIn Engagement and Development Program (LEAD)

Launched in July of this year, LEAD’s mission, in building on the success of WiN, is to attract, engage and develop top African American and Latino talent at LinkedIn. While the program is still new, the results to date have been encouraging. In working with partners across the organization, BIG and HOLA, LEAD has helped to increase the overall hiring representation of African American and Latino employees in our Global Sales Organization by 4%. This was accomplished through three key programs: focused sourcing and recruiting efforts on underrepresented minorities across all roles and levels, identifying and investing in high performing and high potential employees to help maximize and realize their full potential and building a tops-down culture committed to Black & Latino/a inclusion.


Out@In’s mission is to engage, educate, and empower LinkedIn's LGBTA community, by fostering an inclusive and supportive environment. With 15 active chapters globally, Out@in has focused on raising visibility and engaging its members globally in 2016. Out@In partnered with The SF LGBTQ Center in April to host a Spring LGBT Career Fair that brought together 41 employers & community partners and more than 620 registered LGBTQ (and ally) attendees. In June, new a chapter successfully launched in Singapore with more than 50 members and allies participating in a fireside chat and showing support for Pink Dot SG, a nationwide movement promoting the freedom to love. Most recently, the Dublin chapter received an “Employee Network Group of the Year” award from the Workplace Equality Index, which is truly an honor, given the chapter’s only three years old.


Our Veterans ERG is focused on connecting veterans with allies and creating and fostering an environment of support and empowerment. In September, we hosted the first ever Vets2Business Summit in our New York City offices. This summit brought together more than 70 people, including business leaders, their veteran support teams and special guests from the nation's leading veteran-serving nonprofit organizations, to discuss best practices for attracting and retaining veteran talent. LinkedIn shared how to help employers find the 2.2M veterans through a new recruiter filter on our platform, and Florent Groberg, a Medal of Honor recipient, spoke to the importance and benefit of hiring veterans into businesses.

Women at LinkedIn (W@LI)

W@LI’s mission is to educate, inspire and connect women at LinkedIn and empower all of our employees to help cultivate an inclusive culture where people believe they belong. One of W@LI’s key programs are mentor rings. These small groups meet monthly to learn, grow together and leverage peer support. This year, mentor rings expanded to include both men and women with the goal of adding a more diverse perspective to the meetings. Of the more than 1,000 participants, spread across 10 countries, 67% choose to be in mixed gender rings. The women participating have found many benefits in these mentor rings and one male manager new to the mentor rings shared that is helping him “become a better leader at LinkedIn.”

Women’s Initiative (WiN)

Women’s Initiative focuses on developing an inclusive workplace for employees in our global sales organization. WiN has helped the Global Sales leaders to focus on creating an inclusive environment. They have created programs to help invest in high potential women leaders with skill building, coaching, visibility and opportunities to showcase talent through executive sponsorship. They have also helped to increase the efforts to recruit and hire qualified senior women. The global sales organization has seen a 44% increase in women Senior Directors since the launch of the program in 2014.

Women in Tech (WIT)

WIT is an employee-led effort to challenge the gender imbalance among software engineers and other technical roles. This summer, the WIT team expanded a high school trainee program from seven to 10 participants. At the end of the program, 100% of the 2016 trainees said they would recommend the program to a friend, every participant declared an intent to study STEM in college and 90% declared an intent to study computer science in particular. The team hosted eight WomenConnect events to bring together like-minded professionals with similar experiences and backgrounds with more than 400 women attending. WIT is also leveraging the success of the WiN Invest program with a new push to accelerate the growth of senior, high performing women across LinkedIn’s engineering and product teams. 93% of the women in the first pilot program said would recommend this program to someone else.

As you think about how to empower your own employees to do great things in your organization and beyond, we hope some of the great work these groups have done might be an inspiration. We recognize that our work is not done, we have more to do, learn and discover. But together we can help create economic opportunity for all.