October 2020

Life at LinkedIn - Catching up with Senior Employee Communications Manager Katy Davies

Katy Davies

With companies across the world adopting new working practices to combat the effects of the Coronavirus pandemic, the role of internal communications has never been more important. We caught up with Katy Davies (Management Studies 2003), Senior Employee Communications Manager at the global professional networking site LinkedIn to find out more.

Woman working at laptop while wearing headphones

Tell us about your role.

I’m the Senior Employee Communications Manager, which means I’m responsible for shaping some of the most important decisions taken in the company, and communicating the outcomes of these decisions to all our colleagues. At LinkedIn, there really is no average day, and that’s even more so in the Covid world. I love the breadth of my role - it’s so varied that it’s really a juggling act.

Working in Employee Communications, I might be writing a communication on behalf of one of the senior business leaders, or I could be working on a newsletter or in a meeting to communicate an update to the company. Seeing some of the most important decisions being made and being able to influence how the message is communicated is really rewarding. Ultimately, all the work we do is about ensuring our colleagues are informed and engaged, while having some fun along the way.

Talk to us about the working environment at LinkedIn, and how you’ve adapted to the challenges of 2020.

Throughout the turmoil of this year, LinkedIn has supported colleagues as they shifted to a new normal, but I don’t think anyone expected the world to change in the way that it did.

We were able to offer financial support to colleagues for the practical things, such as desks, chairs and internet costs, but we also offered other benefits such as leave for parents who needed to take time off for childcare, or policies to allow emergency working from other countries so employees could return to their families. These were all put in place quickly to adapt to the needs of our teams.

From an Employee Communications team perspective, we are a global team and were already pretty used to working remotely with each other. We have shifted a lot of our communications to virtual, whilst being mindful that people’s attention levels have changed too. There are lots of distractions, so the key is to recognise this and to do fewer things, but to do them better.

Laptop on table displaying LinkedIn webpage

Diversity in the workplace has been an ongoing discussion in many organisations over the last few months. What have you learnt personally, and how have you worked to create more inclusivity and belonging in the workplace?

Being an inclusive workplace has been something that has been at LinkedIn since way before I joined. We have a number of Employee Resource Groups to help create a culture where people feel like they belong. From gender diversity to race and ethnicity, it’s about creating an environment where people can be their true self at work. There are also many new and existing programmes being put into place to ensure that everyone is able to succeed.

Over the last six months, I have learnt that it is not good enough to be non-racist, but that I actively need to be anti-racist, so I have spent a lot of time reading and educating myself to feel equipped to have conversations about race. Something that particularly resonated with me is about getting comfortable being uncomfortable. Traditionally, race in the UK has been an uncomfortable topic, and this has held us back from making progress. It’s now time to discuss topics that aren’t easy to talk about, and I recognise that I can use my communications role to make a difference by elevating Black voices and sharing content about our Black history.

You studied management at Leeds and graduated in 2003 – what do you remember about your time in Yorkshire?

I have the best memories of life in Leeds. There are just too many good times to talk through, and I made life-long friends who I still see now. My only regret is I probably didn’t see much of the countryside, as I was far too busy partying!