When I first heard the news last week about Microsoft’s acquisition of LinkedIn for $26 billion, I was in a state of awe, especially after recently interviewing Kevin Delaney, the Head of Learning and Product HR at LinkedIn. To listen to our episode with Kevin Delaney, click here. shutterstock_333091820

LinkedIn has experienced major transformation from being recognized as a SaaS (Software as a Service) social people record system, to becoming a competitive Talent Acquisition provider, to then further expanding in offering learning solutions and more through their acquisition a little over a year ago of Lynda.com. Most of our discussion focused on how Kevin is leading HR and learning to organize these functions efficiently to support growth, and develop teams and individuals to be more adaptable, innovative and sustainable.

After the acquisition by Microsoft, Brandon Hall Group’s HCM Analyst Team deliberated about how Microsoft’s acquisition might impact the market. You can probably imagine the analyst speak with the different scenarios that we played out – who might be next for buyouts and how fast will these companies grow or even become obsolete if their technology and vision are not ready to immediately take on the future. The news articles coming from financial analysts on the LinkedIn acquisition – not surprisingly — revealed a broad mix of opinions:

You will find other insights from financial analysts in articles published here.

I’m anxious to see how quickly Microsoft will be able to integrate with LinkedIn and benefit from LinkedIn’s innovative and progressive talent.   Will Microsoft have a major impact on the HCM market or what types of plays will Oracle, SAP, and other major players make? What else may arise that is not on our radar to disrupt or level out the market?

Don’t forget to listen to our podcast that took place right before the acquisition with Kevin Delaney, who is an HR leader with 20 years of experience in Fortune companies, start-ups, and high-growth technology companies. During my interview with Kevin, I learned a lot about his focus in his current new role at LinkedIn, the corporate culture, and how LinkedIn was structured for hyper-growth. Some of the general insights I walked away with:

  • Talent decisions are highly data-driven
  • Learning products are designed, delivered and marketed similarly to how you would go-to-market externally
  • Audience experience is critical
  • Finding a balance between creative and sustainable is paramount to success

Furthermore, to be able to support and execute LinkedIn’s, Kevin shared the following three levels of engagement that are essential:

  • Stabilize – set proper expectations
  • Create and cultivate a highly creative environment for ideation
  • Sustain – always look ahead and keeping things moving in a continuous fashion

You can download the show anytime at the HCMx Radio site.

               –Rachel Cooke, Chief Operating Officer, Brandon Hall Group





Rachel Cooke

Chief Operating Officer Rachel Cooke Rachel is responsible for business operations including overseeing client services, research events and project management. Prior to joining Brandon Hall Group, Rachel was the Chief Operating Officer Co-founder of AC Growth. Rachel has over 15 years of experience in sales, marketing, business development, and sales performance management. Prior to AC Growth, she held several senior management roles and was on the leadership team at Bersin & Associates, a pioneer analyst firm in e-learning and now industry leading HR and talent Research Company. In her Senior Director role, Rachel developed the strategy and led the commercial execution of the solution provider vertical, and grew the vertical into the company’s largest market segment. In her role as Director of Sales, Rachel developed and led a team of senior account executives focused on acquiring global strategic accounts. Rachel was solely responsible for developing key business relationships with over ninety companies including industry icons, such as: Adidas, Hewlett-Packard, Toyota, Oracle, Starbucks, Avnet, Boeing, Kaiser Permanente, Safeway Inc., Wells Fargo, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Clorox and Affiliated Computer Services. Rachel began her career in the banking, media and hospitality industries. In these industries, Rachel held several key senior management and executive sales positions. Rachel received a BA in social science and interdisciplinary studies with honors from Florida Atlantic University. Rachel continued her postgraduate education by completing a series of executive management education courses from American Management Association.