Echo is Spotify’s newly launched Internal Talent Marketplace. It includes matching technology so our talent can be matched with growth opportunities based on their skills, experience and development goals.
It enables hiring managers, project owners and mentors to expand beyond traditional backgrounds, meet other band members (who might not have met without it) and work with talent from all over the world. In a distributed-first culture Echo continues to drive forward the career development and growth of all Spotifiers and fill important talent gaps.
Why an Internal Talent Marketplace?
We’ve seen an incredible uptake in registrations since the launch of Echo in September this year, which further confirms our knowledge that our people were hungry for such a solution.
Having a distributed-first strategy Working From Anywhere means the workplace, the workforce and HR is changing dramatically. One of the most significant changes, which was already in the works and now compounded by the pandemic and new ways of working, is the career shift that Johanna wrote about: We’re in the 4th Revolution. We’ve moved away from the old model of learn, work, retire, to a continuous learning cycle. We’re beyond the cusp of a new revolution. And let’s be clear – we are not on the cusp, this change has already happened.
With all of this in mind we knew we needed to challenge the status quo when it comes to making it easier for Spotifiers to drive their development and career growth, and to do this in a way that matches our values and culture. That’s what drove our decision to create Echo – our internal talent marketplace, where opportunities Echo.
Internal Talent Marketplaces drive Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging
Woven into everything we do at Spotify is our ongoing commitment to Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging (DIB), and Echo is no exception. Having an internal talent marketplace means being able to showcase more varied development opportunities to all of your employees.
This can only happen if the marketplace is designed as an environment where everyone can thrive, be seen and access opportunities from wherever in the world they are. And if it exists in an environment where other initiatives support an inclusive culture. We can use this technology and set up to remove biases, and make sure that opportunities are inclusive for all.
That’s exactly how we approached this challenging task. In fact, we understood that if the process was not inclusive for all it would be damaging to our work to create an inclusive environment, that’s why this element of DIB is actually not just an element – it’s absolutely paramount to our approach. There simply was no point in building Echo if it could not be inclusive and grounded in matching talent based on their skills, experiences and aspirations.
Making Opportunities Accessible to All
An internal talent marketplace, grounded in AI technology, helps us amplify growth opportunities and match talent to these opportunities based on their experiences, skills and aspirations. There are so many use-cases for the benefits of Echo, from all over the business. Here’s adjust a few for examples including:
- Recent college grads find mentorships and get invaluable advice early in their careers.
- A marketer in a regional office gains the skills and experiences to transition to product management.
- An ambitious engineer sees a gap on the team for data engineering skills. They quickly access an opportunity to learn that skill with a hands-on project and reinvest those new skills to their own job increasing the productivity of the whole team.
- A first time manager has a very high performing team that needs a new challenge and stretch assignment. Together they explore Echo and find a high-impact Company Bet project that has an immediate need for their skill set right, which fills that time gap.
- A busy recruiter with multiple key hires partners with the hiring managers to source internal talent.
- A senior leader wants to give back. They become an active mentor on Echo and find a new energy and fulfillment in their work.
Having an internal marketplace like this is hugely important from a DIB perspective, and it’s also incredibly significant in a learning environment like Spotify’s, where change is the only constant. With a fast-moving business, in HR we continuously see opportunities for employees to be able to make a side-step or develop their career. However, it’s really hard for the employees to spot and take advantage of them. Although some people are really proactive, we can’t expect everybody to spend their time mining the business for these opportunities, even if they know where to look. We are also realistic about the equity issues in this approach – not everyone will have access, or will be in a set-up that allows them to seek out or create their own opportunities. And, of course, it’s simply not scalable for HR to have a hand in every employee’s development and growth.
Thinking Beyond Traditional Growth Opportunities
With Echo we can expand beyond traditional concepts of growth opportunities from new roles to part time projects and mentorships to start. We had seen success in our Engineering organization with embedding engineers on high impact work for short periods of time. This is one of the inspirations to develop Echo for the entire business. We wanted to have one platform where all short-term opportunities across multiple disciplines could live. So, in addition to new internal job opportunities, Echo has also introduced a Spotify-wide platform to highlight part-time projects and mentorship at scale. Anyone can be a project owner or a mentor now.
All growth opportunities take advantage of the matching technology built into Echo where our talent is matched based on their skills, experience and development goals. This enables hiring managers, project owners and mentors to expand beyond traditional backgrounds, meet other band members (who might not have met without it) and work with talent from all over the world. In a distributed-first culture Echo continues to drive forward the career development and growth of all Spotifiers and fill important talent gaps.
The Launch And Beyond
Launching Echo required significant change management work that was enabled through our Echo ambassador network, soft launch participants and executive sponsorship. We also focused a lot on making Echo welcoming, low friction and easy to use.
We set out to align distributed-first with an internal-first investment strategy for the business, in a way that works well for our culture and our environment and in less than a month after launch we have seen mentorship matching at scale. The first big win for Echo. The opportunities seem endless and the data captured from Echo will also enable us to draw profound insights into our business planning. Right now, we’re focused on weaving Echo across all aspects of our employee value proposition from new hire onboarding to our bi-annual development talks. And,in future, by using the data from the skills and matches we see on Echo we can better inform the business when it comes to identifying gaps and making investments in the right places.
Echo is an example of thoughtful use of artificial intelligence and we have done the groundwork to scale value matches with opportunities and our talent. Of course, we will not rest on our laurels but we’re excited to see the fruits of our labor and to make the necessary tweaks along the way.
We will continue to nurture the wealth of opportunities, work to ensure employee engagement with the platform, and insist our tech platform partner carries out ongoing bias-testing and builds out their roadmap based on our needs. With this, we anticipate being able to continue to connect personal aspirations to business needs not only amplifying those exchanges but also those of our core values of innovation, collaboration, sincerity, passion and playfulness all throughout so all opportunities can echo.
Organisations that do not grasp this need for presenting a range of growth opportunities, and internal-first and accessible approaches will struggle in this next revolution. Laying the groundwork to scale opportunities in an equitable and accessible way is the future. Without this approach many firms will find talent retention and business innovation an unsolvable challenge. Regardless of industry, HR professionals around the world need to understand that learning continuously is a necessity to thrive and stay engaged in today’s workplace.