LinkedIn is the social network where people go to find jobs.
But it’s also one of the hottest Valley employers in its own right.
One reason: LinkedIn goes out of its way to keep its workers inspired and engaged.
The company has grown its roster to 4,200 people worldwide and these folks are treated well, even by Silicon Valley’s over-the-top employee perk standards.
A lot of companies have a gym where employees can work out for free.
LinkedIn does it one better. It offers all kinds of free classes at the gym like Tai Chi, Zumba, InShape (a bootcamp class), BOSU, TRX, Power Yoga and strength classes.
Employees can earn points that can be traded in for LinkedIn shwag.
Idea to steal: Healthy employees are happy, productive employees. Offer affordable on-site exercise.
A lot of companies offer their employees free time to work on projects outside their normal daily grind.
For LinkedIn, these are called 'inDays' and they happen one Friday a month.
LinkedIn's spin is to give each one of them a different theme. For instance in July, the theme was 'LinkedIn for Good' where LinkedIn employees worked on 54 projects that got them out volunteering in their communities.
Idea to steal: try the occasional 'themed' creative time.
LinkedIn is also known for its Speaker Series, which it makes available to the everyone via YouTube.
Every month, LinkedIn hosts up to three of these lectures. Past speakers include Seth Meyers (head writer at NBC's Saturday Night Live), Fred Kofman (the author of the book, Conscious Business), new age guru Deepak Chopra, even Martin Luther King III.
Idea to steal: Bring in speakers, lecturers that inspire people.
All companies want their employees to grow and acquire new skills.
LinkedIn backs up that desire with some serious cash. It offers U.S. and Canadian employees a $US5,000 stipend, per year, to spend on education related to their job.
It also has online training tools like 'LearnIn' which offers all sorts of courses, and 'ManageIn' which is a months-long manager trainee program.
Idea to steal: Fund ongoing employee education.
Another thing LinkedIn does to inspire creativity is something called 'Incubator.'
Once a quarter, any team of LinkedIn employees can pitch an idea to executives. If the execs like the idea, the team gets to spend up to three months of dedicated time working with a mentor to develop the idea.
That's how UI designer Hans van de Bruggen got to work on on his project called 'Hopscotch' which gives step-by-step tours of new features on LinkedIn.
It was launched in August when LinkedIn introduced a new search tool.
Idea to steal: Have a formal process where employees can pitch their ideas.
A big sense of humour permeates the LinkedIn culture. One of the oddest things the company does is its annual 'Space Lift' cube-decorating competition.
People go all out. This year included a an 18-hole mini-golf course, swing sets and a series of cubes decorated to mimic the movie 'Up.' Employees win various prizes.
Idea to steal: Spice things up with the occasional contest or game.
A lot of companies offer some kind of charitable donation matching process. LinkedIn's twist is something called an 'Innovation Grant.'
Employees can champion a grant of up to $US10,000 from the LinkedIn For Good foundation to help their favourite charity or to start their own.
LinkedIn will also help the organisation with training and access to LinkedIn products.
Idea to steal: Contribute back in a way that is meaningful to individual employees.
The Linked In For Good foundation offers employees another chance to get money for charities. This is called the 'transformation' grant.
For instance, in 2013, a LinkedIn employee Joe Roualdes got a $US3,000 grant to go to Indonesia and teach scuba diving skills to the youth there. He wanted to help them become professional divers.
Idea to steal: find a way to support employees' passions outside the office.
Most companies offer a monthly employee meeting where the CEO shares info about the business.
LinkedIn doubles down.
Every two weeks, the CEO and executive team meet with all employees for an hour to answer questions.
Idea to steal: Make execs uber available in a relaxed, fun atmosphere.
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