A Free Night with Hotels.com - tips for more balanced teams.

  • Lisa Hon
  • AUTHOR: Lisa Hon
  • Posted: 21/08/2017
A Free Night with Hotels.com - tips for more balanced teams.

Thanks to an exceptional turn out, we managed to cover lots of seemingly uneasy ground with discussion lead by a diverse and engaged group of people on what makes a balanced workforce and what this means for the needs of a business as well as how we can all benefit from each other’s experiences. 

Hosted at their Expedia office in London, Hotels.com is the leading global travel brand leveraging advanced technology in the travel industry.  They’ve worked to make travel easier through the power of technology and now they are working hard to revolutionize their tech teams through the power of people.

We discussed how a balanced workforce brings more creative teams, different schools of thought and of course profits! for an organisation.  A quick Google search will show that there are lots of online and company specific initiatives out there, as well as groups and forums whose efforts are aimed at addressing the tech workforce shortage and the engineering field in general.  The UK faces a shortage of skilled engineers, which is estimated at a whopping 20,000 annually, and more engineers need to be generated. 

What can we do about this, Thierry Bedos, CTO at Hotel’s.com asked; responding that the answer doesn’t have to be ground-breaking and can remain quite simple, “if we share what we are doing and include the failures we experience along the way.”  Instilling this as a part of any organisation’s priorities when it comes to diversifying the talent pool could, and is, slowly but surely making all the difference. 

The following are a few tips we picked up on how we can engage as management.

 

Talk about it!  

Just doing a google search on the topic will show that there are lots of advice articles on team building and diversification out there.  But if those articles aren’t getting you to talk about it with your team, then what’s the point?  It’s more than generating discussions on the topic of gender, it’s about the business and is a conversation meant for everyone. 

Host debates, join conversations, forums, educate those within your organisations. By starting the conversation and engaging your teams, it’s possible to harness their enthusiasm and reach better outcomes together. 

 

Make gender balance part of your company goals.

This one is important to remain competitive.  Don’t just drive to meet numbers or tick boxes – think about the value of the workforce.  A ‘target’ is the mechanism to keep these steps in mind year-round and should not be a ‘quota’ with a box to tick. 

Show initiative and show leadership when recruiting for talent.  Adam Kinder from Oliver Bernard said, “I think an important point made was not to lower the bar”, when it comes to recruitment standards and increasing diversity within a team.  We can also revisit the language we use when writing job ads – have a look at what you’ve written and ask yourself ‘is this neutral enough to speak to the diverse group of people I’m looking to reach?’

   

Organise your initiatives.

Focus efforts on three main areas: keeping talent in house, bringing in more talent and growing the overall talent pool.  To increase staying power, staff retention and nurture existing tech talent, mentorships and sponsorships are great options.  Flexible working and return-ships should also be available to the entire talent pool. 

“We need more role models and to show people the options,” said Su Crighton, Senior Director Technology at Hotels.com.  This is especially important when developing future talent, companies could be investing in scholarships or apprenticeship programs in addition to working with local schools or even hosting industry meetups such as this.  

 

Not everyone will always agree with each other on gender balance topics but we can all learn from each other’s successes and failures in talent development, it’s a long-term goal, a marathon not a sprint.  Another big discussion point from the night was to pay attention to people that are passionate because they’re the ones that will stay if given the support and means; and Hotels.com must be doing something right as they have been named the number one company for work-life balance in the UK for 2017. 

CTO’s in London is aimed at Technology leaders and was designed to foster discussion of trends in best practices, the UK market and what works and what doesn’t when it comes to team building – Hotels.com “Women in Tech” Meetup at their Expedia office was that and more. 

CTOs in London – Women in Tech August 2017

#womentalktech #lifeatexpedia

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