Open Internal Talent Markets Promote Opportunity and Employer Sentiment

Ryan Johne | Reporting & Analysis Manager, Expedia Group in Bellevue, Washington

One of the most stressful events in a professional’s career is changing jobs. In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average US worker will have ten different jobs before the age of 40 – and that number is projected to rise!

Personally, I fall right into that average. I’ve had seven different roles across three different companies, and let’s just say I’m a far cry from my days of being 20-something. Each of my transitions has been for different reasons as well. I’ve left because I wasn’t happy, and I’ve left because I needed more money to support my growing family.  My most recent move in July was for a yet another new reason – more on that in a few paragraphs…

I’ve been with Expedia Group for over six years now, with no plans to go anywhere…from a company perspective. Expedia Group has a unique benefit that offers their employees a gargantuan pool of job opportunities across job functions, businesses units, and experiences.

At Expedia Group, we have an Open Internal Talent Market, which allows hiring managers to approach employees from other teams within the company. It also gives employees the chance to apply for internal jobs without the (sometimes) awkward conversation with their manager about looking for other opportunities. It may sound a bit unproductive to have several different business groups pining over the best talent in the organization, but it’s not. It gives employees a great opportunity to develop their skills while avoiding ramp-up time with a new company.

Most other large companies offer an open talent market as well, but together with the work/life balance and the rockstar benefits at Expedia Group, being able to try new roles and/or teams is, well…butter-cream frosting on an already delicious baked good (sorry – I’m such a dad).

Back to my most recent transition…

The past four years of my career, I was on Expedia Group’s Global Brand Marketing team. I ran ROI analytics for a large-budget TV advertiser. My college degree is in advertising and the bulk of my career is in analytics, so as one could infer, I had a BOAT-LOAD of passion for the role. To be frank, it was my dream job. I worked with wonderfully smart and fun people who had a similar passion for the advertising world, which led to excellent cutting-edge work, in my humble opinion.

A few weeks before my 4-year mark with the Brand team, I received an email from my [now] manager asking me if I’d be interested in exploring a new opportunity on her team. It was in the HR organization, which, to be frank (again), didn’t seem like a great idea given my history of being less than politically-correct at times. However, as she explained her vision for the team and for my role, I realized something: It’s not advertising I’m passionate about, I’m passionate about using analytics to solve complex business problems. This was a perfect opportunity to challenge myself and apply that mindset to a function with which I am not familiar at all.

So, I jumped, leaving the comfort of Brand Marketing for HR. I jumped, hoping a bungee cord made of analytics experience and dad-jokes would keep me from crashing into a rocky outcrop of uncertainty and potential HR nightmares, given my periodically insensitive humor. I jumped, and I’m so glad I did.

Something I learned along the way is taking risks, in general, to promote health and growth (actually bungee jumping, however, might not prove to be “healthy”). Someone once told me, “If you’re comfortable, you’re not growing” – I’m a firm believer in that mentality. As we all know, growing up is a part of life. But it took this experience to make me realize “growing up” is one of the biggest parts of life…and it never really stops. Thankfully though, “growing up” during adulthood doesn’t include nearly as much voice change.

Let’s be realistic; all jobs eventually run their course and we all move on to the next challenge (remember, I still need three more jobs before I’m 40 to beat the national average!). However, given how many unique opportunities there are at Expedia Group, I have no reason to look anywhere but internally when the time comes, making those risks a lot easier to handle…and hopefully there’s no bungee jumping involved.

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