Brand and Candidate Experience

3 Things Talent Teams Must Nail Following the 2020 Pandemic

Many talent teams had to reinvent themselves to get through the past year; in 2020, change was the only constant.

So what should talent acquisition leaders prioritize going into 2021? What are the absolute musts for their upcoming yearly plans? We heard from Expedia’s Senior VP of Global Talent Acquisition to answer those questions.

Current employees: TA’s best source of information

In one of his past roles, Stephen Lockhead, now at Expedia Group, witnessed the HR function work hard to push a workplace culture that is dynamic and network-oriented, one where employees could find many growth opportunities. And yet, after measuring the impact of their program on employee perception, the HR team discovered that after 3 years, only 56% of employees believed that they indeed had career growth opportunities within the company. Very few of them knew people outside of their immediate work circles, despite the company’s agenda to prioritize networking and cross-functional communication.

3-things-to-nail-for-2021-chart In order to push HR or talent agendas effectively, the people organization has to go back to the one stakeholder that truly has the best information: the employees themselves. When it comes to what employees want out of a workplace, the people function does not “know best”. As talent acquisition leaders gear up for 2021, it is important to build in space to get feedback directly from current employees on everything from talent attraction messaging to internal mobility programs.

When it comes to what employees want out of a workplace, the people function does not “know best” - Stephen Lockhead, Senior VP, Global TA at Expedia Group

Recruiters: a crucial stakeholder of TA transformation

A number of talent teams have implemented, or have immediate plans to implement, wide-scale transformation projects this coming year. Like every other part of the business, they found themselves facing pressure to demonstrate how they would adapt to the tumultuous changes of the past year. They now need to quickly demonstrate that unpredictable market conditions will not take them by surprise again, so they are rushing to implement technology solutions or organizational changes that are supposed to solve for every possible recruiting challenge.

Roughly 70% of talent transformation projects fail, and failing to secure the buy-in of the right stakeholders is one of the main reasons behind that number. The end users of a new technology, or the members of newly created teams, are probably the easiest stakeholder to overlook, because they rarely have the power to block the decision-making process.

As they are designing their masterplan to reinvent their talent acquisition strategy, it is absolutely crucial that TA leaders involve end users early in their process, and take the following into consideration:

  • Everyone resists change. This resistance is not an excuse to write off your end users’ input; on the contrary, it might be an opportunity to overcome some of the team’s biggest reservations, and make champions out of your staunchest opponents.
  • Underpromise and overdeliver. Your recruiters must not be set up for disappointment by being told the new system or new process will be a universal solution to all their problems. Your intention is to build enthusiasm and buy-in, but you will instead undermine the actual value of what you end up delivering.
  • Set them up for success. Training, forums, champions, badging and gamification… consider every trick in the bag when planning your implementation and ramp up. Your team must be given every chance to embrace this new transformation.

From diversity to inclusion: how TA can get it right

Diversity, equity and inclusion are top of mind for talent teams this year. However, while TA teams can directly influence the diversity of the talent they bring into the organization, it is harder for them to have an impact on equity or inclusion.

For Expedia, inclusion is getting to a place where every human being can feel comfortable and at ease in the workplace. So how can TA have a significant impact on that aspect of the employee experience? By rethinking TA’s ownership in internal mobility.

For TA leaders, this means creating an internal talent market where employees can feel well-informed, included in their workplace, and therefore excited to move around in the organization as their skills grow and new opportunities present themselves. TA teams who can crack this formula will provide their organization with a decisive advantage on the market next year.

diversity and inclusion


Expedia Group’s learnings from 2020 have been instrumental in their plans for the next few years, and have informed their outlook on anything touching on talent, from health to human rights to socioeconomic concerns. They are excited to see these plans come to fruition, and to keep iterating on them.

It often takes a crisis for a company to recognize what it is capable of, and many companies have gone through an internal discovery journey during 2020. The challenge is now to plan for 2021 using those discoveries, in order to become more agile, and ready for the accelerated unpredictability of the talent environment.

Nada Chaker

Content and Campaigns

Nada Chaker leads content and campaigns at Beamery. She writes and reads about the latest news in Talent Acquisition, but also about business strategy, startups, food and indoor plants.

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