3 Questions LinkedIn’s Head of HR Asks in Team Meetings

February 25, 2015

Team meetings can be a snooze-fest. Admit it – you’ve cringed at the calendar invite, yet still made your way to the half-empty conference room to sit through a series of monotonous, boring updates. It’s like pulling teeth to get people to participate, only to hear crickets over a table of blank stares. Ultimately, you walk out of the room feeling like the “important” meeting was a huge waste of time.

But the staff meetings held by LinkedIn’s Chief Human Resources Officer, Pat Wadors, are far from that.

Being head of HR, Pat indexes very highly on inspiring and motivating a team of 13 direct reports spanning talent acquisition to talent management, HR business partners to comp and benefits globally. She creates a culture of cohesiveness by asking the right questions that maximize time and streamline discussion, yet still strengthen colleague camaraderie. Because of this, we asked Pat to share her go-to staff meeting questions and how they drive passionate conversations and enhance team dynamic.


Here are three thought-provoking questions CHROs should consider asking in their next team meeting:

Question 1: Who do you depend on to do your job well, and why are you grateful for that person?

OK this question is two packed into one, but the goal is to show gratitude and emphasize the importance of relationships. Pat wants her direct reports to share a story that demonstrates the invaluable role relationships play into their careers. From collaboration on a project to influenced decision making, she wants her talent leaders to realize that interactions with colleagues in and outside their teams play a huge part in their long-term success.

Question 2: What are 1-2 things you are working on that will impact the business?

There are two reasons why Pat asks this question. First, is to increase awareness and transparency into each group’s objectives and key priorities. Each person shares what he or she is focused on, why it’s important, who they are working with and when will be accomplished. This type of roundtable information sharing increases visibility into each group’s priorities and projects, identify areas of collaboration and strengthens relationships between colleagues.

Second, and more importantly, Pat always wants her team members to think strategically, and position themselves as key partners to the business. Traditionally, HR has been very tactical – the heavy-handed reactive executioners focused on operationalizing, resolving issues and enforcing policies, compliance and discipline. Today’s HR leaders go well beyond that, but this needs to be demonstrated. Therefore, she constantly reminds her team to consider the business issues and goals, and how their work is driving business impact.

Question 3: To achieve your goals, do you need any additional support from this team?

No matter how senior, every manager is responsible for helping their team do their jobs more efficiently, effectively and ultimately be more successful. Part of Pat’s role is to break down barriers and enable opportunities to simply get stuff done. Asking this question allows her team to bring up dependencies in a safe space, and offers colleagues and her the chance to find solutions together. Oftentimes this brings more opportunities for collaboration, counseling and camaraderie. 

Ask these questions in your next meeting and see how the team dynamic is improved. Any other questions worth considering? Let us know by tweeting to @HireOnLinkedIn.

*Photo of Pat Wadors speaking at LinkedIn Talent Connect.

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