LinkedIn Discusses their Ethics & Compliance Program

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To read or scan the full interview, check out the transcription below: 

Introduction

Amyn: Hi. My name is Amyn Thawer. I’m the Vice President of Global Compliance and Integrity at LinkedIn.

Interviewer: Tell us a bit about LinkedIn.

Amyn: LinkedIn is the world’s largest social media network for professionals. Today, we have over 550 million members around the globe. Our business has grown quite a bit since its inception, and we’re slated to do more than $4 billion of revenue this year.

Interviewer: Wow. That’s really amazing. So we’re talking a lot here about the ethical transformation happening and how such strong values and ethics are no longer nice-to-haves for companies. Senior management is being held to a higher standard. What’s your experience with that? What are you seeing in the industry with that shift from reactive compliance management to more proactive ethics and compliance management?

Amyn: So what I see in the industry is there’s a great deal more transparency into what’s going on in companies. And so that level of transparency also means there’s more accountability. The industry is really this gravitational pull towards ascribing a set of values to a company and using those values as the blueprint for achieving a mission. In addition, in the Valley in particular, you know, everybody wants to change the world and make an impact as quickly as possible so we really see a strong set of ethics, culture, and values as a competitive advantage, a competitive differentiator.

An Executives Role in Ethical Transformation

Interviewer: Right. Do you see that CEO’s and CCO’s have a particular responsibility – a new role now that ethical transformation is happening and what’s their new role?

Amyn: I actually don’t think this is a new role. I think with ethics, if you want to be a company that goes from good to great, you need to have a strong set of core values. And those companies have withstood the test of time. They have always cultivated and grown their value system and evolved it over time. It’s not something that’s static. And so a good CEO or good compliance officer or C-suite executive, they know that they are really looked upon to lead the way, set the tone from the top. But it’s more about showing, not telling.

Interviewer: Yeah, we’re hearing that a lot. So can you tell us a bit about your program and your team?

Amyn: I joined LinkedIn about three and a half years ago, and my remit was simply to start a compliance program at LinkedIn. The reality was we hit puberty as a company and, you know, the acne was becoming a bit of an operational distraction for us. I think people really realized that it was important for us to move from a fast-growing company that had a lot of tribal wisdom, and really migrate towards a business that had institutional knowledge so we could scale more quickly. So my goal really has been to build up a program, but really, that’s centered on our culture and values to help strengthen that.

The Role of Tech in Influencing Ethics and Values

Interviewer: Great. So let’s shift and talk a bit about technology or the role technology plays. How important is the role of technology in this shift to more of a focus on ethics and values?

Amyn: Technology is an enabler. It’s not an answer, but technology certainly helps us scale and become more efficient and proficient in our jobs. And so if you look at the great data analytics that are coming out of financed organizations, even HR organizations and strategy organizations, I think there’s a real role to play for technology to help us build that narrative based on data.

Interviewer: Great. Why did you guys select Convercent for your ethics and compliance platform?

In choosing Convercent, we were enamored by the fact that it was a different approach to dealing with a known product.

Amyn: You know, in choosing Convercent, we were enamored by the fact that it was a different approach to dealing with a known product. The innovation and thinking behind it is what captured our imaginations. So we took a bet, you know, we call those intelligent risks that your team could deliver on a product that would meet our needs as a technology company. And if you can be as agile and as innovative as we are, then you’re a great partner.

Interviewer: So fast-forward to today.  How has the Convercent Ethics Cloud Platform helped you elevate your program and especially focus on ethics and values?

Amyn: We chose the Convercent Ethics Cloud Platform because we really wanted to ensure we’re building organizational fairness at LinkedIn. And in order to do that, you need to have a good handle on all the issues that surface at the company. You need to understand that the decisions you make in terms of corrective actions are consistent and you’re building precedent. And so the technology we implemented helps us achieve that mission.

Interviewer: Great. Are there any other benefits in particular, like increased employee engagements, streamlining processes, risk communication, or cost reduction?

Amyn: Yeah, I think as we think about how we can benefit from implementation of technology, it really is to allow us to scale our business and scale our efforts so we’re focused on the higher risk areas. And so, with the right solution in place, we think we can get there.

Interviewer: Great! So you’ve been with Convercent for awhile, so you’ve definitely been engaging with the customer account team and customer success manager, customer support, and the executive staff. What can you say about working with those different groups at Convercent?

Amyn: Working with Convercent has been really interesting because we’ve been with you as you’ve developed your product set. And so that hasn’t been without its issues, but we recognize that we have the same objectives. And I think the one thing that we appreciate most is that your team takes the time to listen and understand our concerns and then react to them in a way that meets our needs. So while it hasn’t been perfect, you know, we’re on a journey together and we’re building that trust together.

Bringing Millennials and Ethics to the Center of Business

Interviewer: Do you mind if I ask one more question? You had a great comment on the panel talking specifically about millennials and how you communicate with them. You had a different take on making it more about skills. So if you could talk a little bit about millennials and how to get them engaged.

Amyn: Sure. So one of the notable features of our employee base is that a good majority of them are millennials. In fact, the average age of a LinkedIn employee is roughly 28 or 29 years old. And so that allows us an opportunity to really engage with them in different ways in terms of what their expectations are. The first thing that I would note in terms of millennials is that they’re really inquisitive. They have the tools, they have the Internet to help inform their decision-making, and I think they really wanna see that a company aligns with their own values. And so we spend a lot of time talking about what our culture and values are at LinkedIn. And our job as compliance officers really is to operationalize what those values are from a legal and compliance perspective, and, of course, in an ethical way.

Interviewer: You mentioned how your corporate leaders are really engaged in the ethics and the values. And maybe you could just make a comment about how bringing ethics to the center of the business has helped your business grow?

Amyn: I think the one thing that I find really refreshing is the level of transparency we have in the company. And our business plan, really, is a vision-to-values statement, which nests our business goals in our culture and our values. And so that’s a role that our leaders take very seriously. And it’s a very thoughtful approach in terms of how we are going to achieve our business objectives by leveraging the values that we’ve set out for ourselves. So those things are intricately tied together, and that’s what makes LinkedIn a great place to work. It creates a lot more cohesion with the workforce. And I think everybody feels proud of being part of something bigger than themselves.