In 2020, in the middle of the crisis, the Lufthansa Group launched its digital talent marketplace CanDo. Today, nearly 4,000 employees use the software to network, collaborate on projects, or exchange knowledge. Recently, CanDo was launched for the cabin crew as well. Other divisions and companies are to follow. How did the company achieve this within a year? And how has the new level of internal networking changed the way people work at Lufthansa? – We asked Katja Müller (Manager Performance & Potential) and Charlotte Krische (Manager Recruiting & Sourcing) from the Lufthansa Group about their motives, challenges, learnings, and successes around the software rollout with Tandemploy. These are the results:
The idea behind the talent marketplace
A digital talent marketplace was supposed to help the Lufthansa Group get a comprehensive overview of the existing skills within the organization. In the past, talents, skills, and interests were mainly visible only to employees in certain areas. At the same time, Lufthansa wanted to push “New Work” forward, and not just for a few departments, but for all employees.
How would the Talent Marketplace be received?
The concerns were minimal, but they existed: Would the software be generally accepted by the workforce? What if, in the end, only the “usual suspects” from marketing and HR, who are already well networked, use the marketplace? And would it be distinguished from the internal applicant market, which Lufthansa continues to operate?
One thing was certain: They would only find out if they tried.
What requirements did the talent marketplace have to meet?
The goal was to get as many employees as possible excited about the talent marketplace right from the start and to motivate them to actively participate. Lufthansa set the following criteria for CanDo:
- Usability: The talent marketplace should be as low-threshold and easy to use as possible, even for employees with less digital affinity.
- Skill Database: Employees would only use the software if they could see themselves and their skills reflected in it. This presupposed that the database would be well maintained and adapted to the needs of the company.
- Requirements: Lufthansa ascribed great importance to the “Projects” module. It was imperative that the software could be used to match all types of projects with suitable employees, whether a short assignment of a few hours or days or a project lasting several months. The same requirement in terms of the abundance of options applied to the “Workshops” module. In particular, employees in the cabin should be able to set up one-day workshops with the help of the software in an uncomplicated manner and make them accessible to potential participants and moderators.
- Fun: A tool would only be used repeatedly if it was fun to do so. This includes that it looks good and gives off a “cool vibe”. A factor that was particularly important to the cabin crew.
With the Tandemploy software, the Lufthansa Group saw all criteria fulfilled.
Internal networking helps in the crisis
In aviation, the takeoff is usually accompanied by some heart palpitations, and it was no different with the launch of CanDo. In this case, you could certainly speak of real “turbulence”, because the launch of the pilot project took place in the middle of the lockdown, so at a time when very few aircraft were in the air and most employees were on reduced working hours. The project team decided to get started anyway, or rather: if not now, then when! Because the employees let it be known without a doubt that they wanted to remain connected with the company despite reduced working hours. The Lufthansa Group, in turn, used the freed-up capacities and set up “ReNew” projects to transform the organization from within. For this purpose, it specifically sought out employees with project management experience – and found them via the newly established talent marketplace, where an increasing number of the 4,000 potential users were registered. In addition to the ReNew projects, there was a growing number of projects started by employees themselves, such as the “language café,” in which colleagues taught each other foreign languages. The number of users reached a first peak when Lufthansa decided to establish its own vaccination center and sought (and found) employees with relevant experience via CanDo.
High usability and a new level of participation
The feedback from the staff on the new talent marketplace was perhaps not surprising; after all, those responsible for the project had been well prepared and confident. Nevertheless, the overall positive response pleased everyone involved even more. What employees appreciate about CanDo in particular is the new level of participation in decision-making. The possibility of setting up your own ideas as a project or applying for projects set up by colleagues and working on something new and different from the usual routine for a while creates room for creativity and fresh perspectives. Many employees from various departments were in contact with each other for the first time, for example when staffing the vaccination center.
The talent marketplace thrives on cultural change – and promotes it
The insights gained during the pilot phase were immense on all sides, both for the employees and for the project management team, led by Katja Müller and Charlotte Krische. As HR managers, they already knew that the airline’s workforce was a “motley crew” with lots of great talent. However, an overview of the skills already available within the organization had been missing until now. With the talent marketplace, the Lufthansa Group sees itself well equipped to becoming an agile and networked organization in which knowledge and support are easily accessible. The number of skills that employees assign to themselves is growing steadily. While some colleagues are still reluctant and only claim a handful of skills, others already have ten or more in their profiles – and consequently far more and more varied information is available about the employees than HR managers normally have documented in “traditional” administration tools. It is also clear that the talent marketplace thrives on supply and demand – and therefore on employees who have the freedom to use it and contribute. The accompanying cultural shift, which CanDo plays a key role in shaping, is at the same time an important prerequisite for the talent marketplace to unfold its full effect.
Openness and flexibility required at the management level
The future is marked by the expansion of internal networking at the Lufthansa Group. Currently, almost all of the potential 4,000 users among the ground staff are registered on CanDo. Recently, the talent marketplace was launched for the cabin staff. Other modules are conceivable as well in addition to Projects, Workshops, and Expert Exchanges.
It will be interesting to see how the commitment of the workforce develops, even as the workload increases again. This calls for openness and flexibility, particularly on the management side, as well as a fundamental willingness to allow the employees to participate in projects outside their field. Cultural change is key.
The message from other departments and companies of the Lufthansa Group is clear: We are #readyfortakeoff.
Read more about the launch of the pilot project in the interview with Tamara Winter, at the time of the launch Manager Performance & Potential Management at Lufthansa AG and primarily responsible for the implementation of CanDo.