Onboarding With Expedia: Mapping the Employee Learning Journey

An interview with Michael Godfrey, Global Head of Learning & Development/Media Solutions at Expedia




Meet Michael

Michael Godfrey, Global Head of Learning & Development/Media Solutions at Expedia has 20+ years of experience in leadership roles in start-ups and Fortune 500s.

He’s lived and worked in four countries and is a seasoned global leader with deep expertise in leadership development, culture, organizational design & change, talent management, executive coaching and building learning architectures.

Michael excels at establishing environments of trust in which learning & change can happen effectively, and his techniques around leadership development & onboarding have been particularly successful with organizations undergoing transformation.

His well-honed consulting and coaching skills and a record of delivering people-oriented, business-focused leadership & learning solutions across multiple functions and industries are a result of leading HR & Learning functions in a variety of organizations and industries including technology, travel, retail, healthcare, nonprofit and family businesses.


Q: What is the most important component of an effective onboarding program?

A: We’ve found two things that make onboarding successful.

(1) Set expectations on time to proficiency–meaning we ask our existing leaders/employees, “how long did it take you to get to proficiency?” and then share with both hiring managers and new hires (as it gives both a much better idea of what to expect from “onboarding” (i.e., it’s an introduction and not a class on mastery!)

(2) Giving new folks a dedicated “buddy” (not their manager) who they can ask
all the questions–from “do we reply all on emails” to “where is the bathroom?” to “how does my boss like information.”

Giving new employees a ‘trusted advisor & confidant’ gives them a safe harbor (and an immediate new work friend!)


Q: How do you leverage learning to build and maintain a culture of trust in a global organization?

A: We make "trust" core to what we do, whether it’s learning about trust on
your first-day to making it core to our people leader curriculum and how we
built relationships. Ssometimes I think organizations ask L&D to focus so
much on the business result, building technical/functional skills, etc. that
we forget some of the most impactful work we can do is to help humans be
better humans.

Q: What do you think is the most important thing a person can learn during their career?

A: Grit. Hands down. In the face of adversity, setbacks, reorgs, etc., the ability to persevere, learn from the situation and move forward in a positive direction is paramount in an ever-changing world.


Q: Why are you excited about speaking at the February Chief Learning Officer Exchange?

A: Transformation & change are quickly becoming the norm, almost business as usual. I am excited to nerd out with other learning thought-leaders as we
explore the common challenges we face, talk potential solutions and
learn from one another’s successes (and failures).


This Q&A by Paris Armstrong originally appeared on the CLO Exchange website here.

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