LinkedIn hosts first non-technical hackathon focused on diversity

“It was fun just watching them realize the complexity of a global workforce and thinking about culture within the workplace,” said Pat Wadors, senior vice president of global talent organization at LinkedIn. “I wanted to give them a meaty goal that would require all 30 (human resources interns at LinkedIn) of them to come together and design and implement a major initiative. … What better way to engage interns from around the Bay Area to dive into talent issues that affect all employees and therefore companies?”

Undergraduate and graduate students interning at Bay Area companies were invited to participate in the hackathon. The other benefit of this non-tech hackathon was that it had approximately 50 percent female representation at the event, Wadors said. More than 100 different companies participated, with students that came from more than 82 schools.

The winners?

Interns Lakshman Somasundaram’s and Summer Wu’s “[In]finitity” project, a strategy and personalized mobile app that maximizes intern engagement through machine learning and increases the conversion of interns to full-time hires.

The machine learning-based mobile app allows interns to give and receive feedback from management, learn about opportunities that are related to their interests and connect with employees and other interns who can help them achieve their long-term goals.

“It was great to be surrounded by so many creative and friendly interns who were all working toward the same goal of taking HR to the next level,” said Somasundaram, an intern at the VC firm First Round Capital and an incoming junior at Yale University. “I’ve done a couple of case competitions before, but this was the first one that was formatted like a hackathon where we only had a small amount of time to come up with a solution. It’s pretty fascinating to see how your mind works differently when you’re under a time pressure. There’s no overthinking or overanalyzing.”

Wu said that as an engineer, she was excited to have the opportunity to design an app that increases engagement for interns like herself.

“The process taught me to think strategically about how to preserve a company’s most valuable resource: its people,” said Wu, a rising sophomore at Yale who is interning at Google this summer.

Second place went to a group seeking to increase employee engagement by creating an “Impact Dashboard,” a scalable tool that engages employees with the long-term company vision, motivating them to increase performance that can drive employee engagement and business results.

The first-prize winners received a $5,000 scholarship (to be split among the team members) and a $200 Southwest gift card.

Wadors is planning on experimenting with some of the ideas, LinkedIn said.

LinkedIn has about 300 interns globally this summer. It hosts three public hackathons a year: the Annual Intern Hackday, DevelopHer Hackday and for the first time, the LinkedIn Festival: A Non-Technical Hackathon.

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Source: LinkedIn hosts first non-technical hackathon focused on diversity

Via: Google Alert for ML

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