Recruiting Enablement Blog



Q&A with Paul Lawrenson of Expedia Group

Charles Hipps December 18, 2020

In the run-up to the Christmas period, we are publishing the full transcripts from our interviews with finalists from the In-house Recruitment Manager (Individual) category at the In-house Recruitment Awards 2020.

Today, we profile Paul Lawrenson, Global Talent Acquisition Lead at Expedia Group.


Q1: 2020 has been an interesting year, tell us about your talent acquisition challenges and how you have been resolving these?

An interesting year indeed! With multiple factors at play, 2020 has demanded agility, grit and resilience like never before. Expedia Group, like the whole travel industry, has been hit hard by the impact of COVID-19. Whilst hiring volumes have fallen, the TA team at Expedia Group have used 2020 to seized the opportunity to think and operate differently. We’ve completely re-structured from a decentralised model with brand-aligned TA teams (each brand such as, Brand Expedia, Egencia, Vrbo, etc had their own dedicated TA Team) to a centralized model, to enable the us to attract, source and hire the very best talent functionally across the Group. The reduced hiring volumes have actually enabled us to move swiftly to put this new operating model in place, and importantly, the new model was designed and implemented by our own talented TA team.

Q2: What would you say are your biggest accomplishments this year?

Beyond re-organising our TA function, the biggest accomplishments are:

- Investment in Early Careers: pivoting our internship program to being virtual and at the same time building the business case for a programmatic offering and increasing the volumes of early careers to build the base of the organisation has been a great accomplishment. We’ve energised our executive leadership team to champion the importance of early talent and to put resource behind it.

- Building a Hiring Excellence program: with the goal of raising the talent bar, we’ve reviewed our global hiring proactively - enhancing our processes, introduced quality of hire measures and established business “talent champions” who play a critical role in ensuring every hire we make will contribute to the performance of Expedia Group as a whole.

- Implementing business aligned Talent Acquisition Plans: for the first time we’ve partnered with our business leadership and people teams to define the TA priorities that will best enable our business strategy. This has given TA a seat at the leadership table, whether that’s bringing market insight to inform strategic business decisions, defining the skills and capabilities we need in the future, or engaging leaders and employees in becoming brand ambassadors and talent scouts for the company.

Q3: What advice would you offer others for 2021 and the slow return to normal that we are hearing about?

I’d suggest taking the time to reflect on what we’ve learnt through 2020, and think about how this can be applied forward for success in 2021. Lets think through how we can leverage our ability to work remotely and flexibly to attract more diverse talent, how we think about wellness as a core part of our value proposition and how that enables performance, and how we align resource to business problems in a more agile way through internal mobility. I’ve also learnt the important of ruthless prioritization, that when we strip down the TA agenda to what is most important to enable business outcomes, we can make real progress swiftly.

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