Lessons from 2020 by Kerry Noone at CVS Health

We are all counting down to the end of 2020. This unprecedented year was filled with challenges and hardships, but also with perseverance and hope. In our blog post series called Lessons from 2020, we’ve asked our exaqueo clients to share their reflections on 2020, how they’ve navigated change through this year, and their aspirations for the New Year. We hope hearing from our clients will educate and inspire others inside and outside the employer brand industry.  

Kerry Noone is the Director of Recruitment Marketing & Advertising at CVS Health with more than 25 years of recruitment marketing and employer branding experience. At one point, she thought she would be a nurse, however, college-level chemistry classes kept her from pursuing the career. Looking back now, Kerry wishes she had found a good tutor to help her overcome the subject! Kerry loves being a part of the growth CVS Health has experienced in the last decade as it transformed from a pharmacy to a health care company under the leadership of Larry Merlo. In her role, Kerry enjoys the ability to work with recruiters, hiring leaders, and job seekers across the business at all levels despite the challenge of keeping up with the rapid pace of change and abundance of opportunity. Kerry has always worked from home but being home so much this year has been hard and she’s still looking for a "new normal" with new hobbies. Here is what else Kerry had to say about her 2020 experience and what she’s looking forward to most in 2021:

exaqueo: Describe what's had the biggest impact on you or your team this year. Why? How did you adjust?

Kerry: 2020 has been a big year for us! We set out to spend 50% less on paid advertising and flipping our funnel not knowing COVID-19 was coming. Since the start of the pandemic, we've implemented accelerated hiring across many essential positions to not only help people get back to work if they were impacted by layoffs, but also provide health care in our communities across the U.S. during this challenging time. 

exaqueo: What changes did you or your team make this year?

Kerry: My team has always been remote but this year, we are seeing more groups go 100% remote. This shift really expands our ability to recruit nationwide for roles that otherwise would have been traditionally local. I think one of the most exciting groups that has been impacted by this change is the Pharm Techs for our pharmacy benefits management team.

exaqueo: Which of those changes do you believe are here to stay? Why?

Kerry: I've worked remotely for 10 or more years and, now more than ever, can't imagine ever going back into the office daily. Now that more organizations have figured out how to work remotely, I can't imagine it will ever go back to pre-2020 times. Similarly, I think the shift of so many roles working from home will provide a boost to the professions that are not computer/desk work-related like nurses, doctors, electricians, construction, or those in the transportation industry. I think we will see more people who have no desire to work from home fill these types of roles.

exaqueo: What is something you or your team have accomplished this year that you are most proud of?

Kerry: I’m most proud of the accelerated hiring we accomplished this year. In March, when we started our accelerated hiring and developed partnerships with companies that were experiencing layoffs, I said to my boss that nothing has changed for us other than the fact that our mission to improve candidate experience and employer brand had even more meaning for us.

exaqueo: Do you believe change is important? Why?

Kerry: I'm not sure anyone would say change was not important! I'm a proud Gen-X and when I went off to college I had a typewriter and we didn't have email or cell phones. My youngest went off to college this fall and I don't know what I would do without texting—it's our primary form of communication! When he gets ready to go into the workforce, I bet his job offer will likely come in the form of a text.

exaqueo: How have your feelings toward change recently evolved?

Kerry: I don't think my feelings toward change have recently evolved. I have always felt the need to adapt.

exaqueo: How do you believe the events over the last year are going to affect employer brand, as a field?

Kerry: I am very interested to see how the events of the last year are going to impact work-life balance changes. I’m also interested to see how leadership supports the ability to disconnect from work and reinforce the importance of having that balance.

exaqueo: What's been your biggest lesson or takeaway (related to employer brand) from 2020?

Kerry: My biggest lesson from 2020 is the importance of having strong values at your organization. If you have strong values like CVS Health does, it's easier to maintain what is most important during even the most challenging of times.

exaqueo: What are you most looking forward to in 2021 and beyond?

Kerry: We recently learned that our current CEO, Larry Merlo, is retiring in February. He’s been so impactful in the growth and success of CVS Health to date. We've just named Karen Lynch as our new CEO. In 2021, I am most looking forward to having a female CEO and learning more about her vision for our company!

exaqueo would like to thank Kerry Noone from CVS Health for contributing to our blog post series and sharing her 2020 experience. What are your lessons learned from 2020? What do you look forward to the most in the New Year? We’d love to hear from you! Post a comment below or tweet @exaqueo to share your thoughts. 

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