LinkedIn Talent Connect 2016 Recap: The 4 Tenets of Great Talent

“It all begins with talent. And talent begins with you.” This is the tagline of LinkedIn’s TalentConnect, a conference gathering 4,000 talent acquisition professionals for three days of learning, networking, and a dash of glitz and glamour—hey, it was held in Vegas, after all.

In addition to mainstage sessions featuring talent acquisition and product leaders from LinkedIn, GE, Amazon, OgilvyOne (to name just a few), and an inspiring appearance by Sir Richard Branson, more than 90 breakout sessions covered everything from finding purple squirrels to turning your brand from a bicycle into a Harley.

Despite the broad range of topics and presenters, some key questions began to emerge: What does great talent look like today, and how will companies approach talent acquisition in the future?

Of course there are many ways to answer those questions, but there were four themes that came up again and again throughout TalentConnect.

Want to know some of the biggest recurring themes from the event? Read on for the 4 tenets of great talent!

1. Great talent is diverse

Diversity was a big theme at TalentConnect. It’s a topic that’s significant both internally at LinkedIn and within the talent acquisition sphere in general: 37% of respondents to LinkedIn’s Global Recruiting Trends 2017 Report said hiring more diverse employees was the trend that would define the future of recruiting.

LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner spoke about the company’s commitment to more accurately representing its members by creating a more diverse employee base, and shared a story about a recent company town hall that provided a forum for employees to speak frankly about race. LinkedIn’s CHRO Pat Wador shared the company’s vision for DIBs (Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging). It’s no longer enough just to hire diverse employees, said Pat, but to show them that they can be their authentic selves in the workplace.

Gerald Chertavian of YearUp shared some eye-opening statistics, including the fact that only 9 out of 100 Americans has a four-year college degree that they earned between the ages of 18 to 22. He urged us to consider how we may be inadvertently discriminating simply by requiring applicants to hold a four-year college degree.

On the more tactical side, Lisa Lee, Director of Diversity & Inclusion and Marta Riggins, Director of Employee Experience & Marketing at Pandora shared some strategies they’ve put in place, including creating a podcast to showcase the diversity of their employees, identifying and correcting gaps in their benefits for LGBT employees, and offering bias and assumptions training in their management training program.

2. Great talent is purpose-driven

In order to appeal to great talent, it’s not simply enough to offer big salaries or flashy perks. The talent of the future is looking to connect with a greater purpose.

In his keynote address, Sir Richard Branson spoke about his desire to get into space (and create opportunities for everyone to get there as well) with Virgin Galactic.

Even if your company isn’t sending people into new physical dimensions, you should still have a clearly articulated purpose. This will be an essential component of your employer brand and your job descriptions. In his presentation on bringing the job description into the modern era with compelling content, Chris Mulhall of PointClickCare outlined job seekers’ top three priorities: learning about company culture and values, perks and benefits, and mission and vision.

In his talk, “Redefining employee growth and engagement: Using development to unlock employee potential and retain top talent,” Ron Storn, VP of People at Lyft cited the top three priorities for most employees: working with the best, the role and impact it’ll make, and connection to mission. Storn explained that starting with a clearly articulated mission is essential, but your company also needs to make decisions that support that mission.

3. Great talent is looking for growth & learning opportunities

Having a clear company mission and vision is a great place to start, but it’s important to show employees what they stand to gain personally from joining your organization. How will you allow them to grow on the job?

In the Future of Talent panel discussion, Brian Fetherstonhaugh, CEO of OgilvyOne Worldwide shared some scary stats about the automation of the workforce and the fact that millions of jobs will be rendered obsolete by 2020. However, there are some areas where humans will always outperform machines, and these include creativity, relationship-building, and making decisions with ambiguous data. If you can provide opportunities for your employees to develop these skills, they’ll be able to weather whatever changes occur in the market.

LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner believes strongly in learning opportunities, and the rollout of digital education platform LinkedIn Learning presents one option for companies wishing to support employees’ skill development.

On the practical side, Lyft’s VP of People Ron Storn outlined their comprehensive learning and development programs, including structured one-on-ones, peer-to-peer learning opportunities, and online learning tools for all employees. One of his key takeaways was that developing team members at all levels using diverse methods and tools can lead to impressive employee retention and engagement.

4. Great talent is attracted to greatness

“Great talent is attracted to greatness,” proclaimed Wade Burgess, LinkedIn’s VP of Talent Solutions.

So how do you ensure greatness within your organization?

One of the best ways is by creating an outstanding employer brand. Several presenters, including Stacy Zapar and Dave Hazlehurst, spoke about how to build an employer brand that differentiates your organization and attracts the best candidates. Anton Artemenkov shared how applying the concepts of design thinking to the candidate experience can help you better understand what job seekers are going through. And Nellie Peshkov, VP of Talent Acquisition at Netflix, spoke of the importance of building a recruiting culture by fostering recruiter/hiring manager partnerships.

And of course, one of the ways you can ensure greatness is by hiring the very best talent acquisition professionals you can find.


Many of these themes overlap exactly with what we’re talking about here at Greenhouse. To stay up-to-date on the latest industry trends and insights, make sure you subscribe to our weekly newsletter, The Modern Recruiter. Simply click the button below!

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Melissa Suzuno

Melissa Suzuno is Content Marketing Manager at Greenhouse, where she gets to share her love of the written word and endorse the use of the Oxford comma on a daily basis. Before joining Greenhouse, Melissa built out the content marketing programs at Parklet (an onboarding and employee experience solution) and AfterCollege (a job search resource for recent grads), so she's made it a bit of a habit to help people get excited about and invested in their work. Find Melissa on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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