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 Assignment 2: Case Study Using Data to Build a Stronger Workforce Due: Week Sunday, midnight of Week 5 (Weight: 25%) Overview C-Suite leaders rely on data to drive decisions. However, many HR professionals come from “non-quant” backgrounds that leave them feeling less than confident when it comes to understanding the numbers and using data to evaluate and communicate critical HR initiatives. Like it or not, having a seat at the table requires that you can speak with data. The good news is that you don’t need to be a financial or data analytics expert. You do, however, need to be able to ask the right questions when the numbers are put in front of you and you need to be able to identify the trends and patterns to successfully manage talent. If you can’t do this, there is a strong possibility you will not be a part of “real” business conversations. This assignment presents you with an opportunity to explore how data can be used to make more effective talent-management decisions. By developing these skills, you will be better equipped to challenge assumptions, create hiring and compensation models, and defend the value that HR brings to the organization. Since we can never have complete data, our decision-making process must acknowledge what we know and what we don’t know. Even with incomplete data, however, our actions must be reasonable, given the time frame and resources we have. Additionally, any actions we recommend must include a clear understanding of how success will be measured (ROI). 

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AGODA: PEOPLE ANALYTICS AND BUSINESS CULTURE (A) Ken Mark wrote this case under the supervision of Professor Kenneth T. Goh solely to provide material for class discussion. The authors do not intend to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a managerial situation. The authors may have disguised certain names and other identifying information to protect confidentiality. This publication may not be transmitted, photocopied, digitized, or otherwise reproduced in any form or by any means without the permission of the copyright holder. Reproduction of this material is not covered under authorization by any reproduction rights organization. To order copies or request permission to reproduce materials, contact Ivey Publishing, Ivey Business School, Western University, London, Ontario, Canada, N6G 0N1; (t) 519.661.3208; (e) [email protected]; www.iveycases.com. Copyright © 2017, Richard Ivey School of Business Foundation Version: 2017-07-19

INTRODUCTION On a typically hot day in Bangkok, Thailand in early March 2016, Robert Rosenstein, chief executive officer (CEO) of Agoda Company Pte. Ltd. (Agoda), was having a morning coffee with Peter Allen, vice- president of People and Organization Development. Agoda, an online accommodation service, was the Asia-based subsidiary of The Priceline Group, Inc. (Priceline). Rosenstein observed to Allen,

We are a global leader in using data and analytics to optimize our e-commerce platform, but how advanced are we in terms of data and analytics in the people function? We know that this is central to the people department mission, but we need to make sure, as we do with our platform, we can correlate investment with outcomes, while also staying true to our culture. How far along are we, Peter?

Allen replied, “We’ve implemented Workday, a human resource (HR) information system that provides a lot of data, which we’ve been studying, and we are investing in customization of that platform so it can serve our specific needs.” The challenge was how incremental investments could—or should—be justified. Allen noted:

In particular, we’re also installing Greenhouse, a new applicant tracking system for recruitment that will provide us with additional insights into how effectively we are recruiting. We are starting to look at the recruiting data much more as we look at conversion on our core platform, finding areas of opportunity and developing best practices.

Helping Allen and his team make this vision a reality was Jeffrey Lee, Agoda’s director of Operations and Compensation. Lee had spent the past year overseeing the development and introduction of a number of software tools to assist managers in compensation and other areas of operations. The next stage of the operation team’s plan was to oversee the implementation of Greenhouse.

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Page 2 9B17C024 Rosenstein challenged Allen:

We need to be sure these tools provide insights for managers to manage talent more effectively. We need managers to own the outcomes of talent management rather than delegate that responsibility to the people team. We need to be very careful about any unforeseen cultural changes: the last thing we want is to put a system in place that moves us in the wrong direction from a management philosophy perspective. If managers think that the people team needs to own more as the result of this new system, we will have done something wrong.

THE GLOBAL ONLINE TRAVEL AGENCY INDUSTRY In 2016, Priceline and Expedia, Inc. dominated the global online travel agency market, serving consumers with millions of properties under contract.1 Through online sites such as Booking.com, Agoda, Priceline.com, OpenTable, Rentalcars.com, and KAYAK, Priceline was the leader in worldwide online accommodation reservations. Priceline customers could use the group’s services to book hotel stays, rental cars, airline tickets, vacation packages and cruises, and even restaurant reservations. In 2015, Priceline generated US$2.6 billion2 in net income from $9.2 billion in revenues and $55.5 billion in gross bookings, employing 15,500 people in total.3 Priceline’s success was remarkable—especially considering that in the early 2000s, it had suffered near-catastrophic losses. Fortunately, the firm had retained enough cash—raised from investors during the dot-com boom of the late 1990s—to reinvent itself. Priceline’s turning point was a 2002 decision by Jeffery H. Boyd, then the company’s new CEO, to focus on accommodations, offering great terms to hotels—the company’s suppliers—and the strategy of expanding by acquiring strong regional online travel agency brands. Priceline paid $133 million for Netherlands-based Bookings in 2005, and two years later, the renamed Booking.com grew from a small base to account for half of Priceline’s bookings. A focus on expansion in Asia led Priceline to purchase Agoda in 2007 for $16 million in cash and up to $142 million in performance incentives. AGODA BACKGROUND Rosenstein had travelled to Southeast Asia as a backpacker in 1991. Returning in 1998, he invested in an online hotel reservation business. Along with a co-founder, in 2002, he formed a partnership that would ultimately launch Agoda in 2005. He led the firm as president and chief operating officer, and managed it through the acquisition by Priceline, becoming CEO in 2010. By 2016, Agoda had grown from a small startup with a handful of employees to a multinational with 40 offices in 31 countries, and over 2,500 employees. Agoda, headquartered in Singapore and with a significant presence in Bangkok, served consumers globally (see Exhibit 1). With its inventory of more than one million accommodations, Agoda’s business was remarkably complex. For example, for each hotel listing, there were typically at least 10 available room types (e.g.,

1 Dennis Schaal, “Priceline vs Expedia: By the Numbers in First Quarter 2015,” Skift, May 8, 2015, accessed November 1, 2016, https://skift.com/2015/05/08/priceline-vs-expedia-by-the-numbers-in-first-quarter-2015/. 2 All currency amounts are in U.S. dollars unless otherwise specified. 3 EDGAR Online, Inc., Form 10-K (Annual Report), The Priceline Group Inc., 38, accessed November 1, 2016, http://files.shareholder.com/downloads/PCLN/2762914235x0xS1075531-16-84/1075531/filing.pdf; The Priceline Group, accessed November 1, 2016, www.pricelinegroup.com/.

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Page 3 9B17C024 single, double, with or without breakfast, refundable, and non-refundable rates), and each room required its own web page and selling features. To complicate matters further, each page had to be accessible on multiple platforms (desktop and mobile, in particular) and translated into 30 languages, with pricing converted in real time to dozens of different currencies. The technology required to manage this complexity was a core feature of Agoda’s business. Despite its success, Agoda continually faced threats from new entrants; regulatory changes; competitors that consistently adopted the latest technologies to improve customer experience and operations; and startups like Airbnb, Inc., which sought to disrupt entire business models. To thrive in this rapidly changing and highly competitive landscape, it was crucial for Agoda to remain nimble. It not only had to keep abreast of the latest technological advances that could affect the business, but also attract and retain top talent from around the world. Explaining the importance of talent, Rosenstein stated,

I like the combination of high natural intelligence, competitiveness, personal humility, and a strong ethical foundation. That’s a winning formula for your most important people. When you find someone who is like this who can add value to your business, be willing to pay up, take less for yourself, or make whatever sacrifice you need to make, because that is how you make a great business.4

Rosenstein believed that the relationship between managers and employees was critical to building the strongest company and getting the best out of employees. Agoda was designed to encourage the manager– employee relationship to flourish, with minimal administrative interference. From the CEO’s perspective, traditional HR functions often impeded good management. Consequently, it was not until 2012 that Agoda had a real HR function. Before that, the small number of HR staff had responsibilities only for recruiting and managing payroll, and not staff development. Rosenstein knew he needed to build recruitment, compensation, performance management, learning and development, and talent management—traditional HR functions—for his rapidly growing company of 1,200 full-time staff. However, he was concerned that an HR bureaucracy would impede or replace good management by taking ownership away from managers and employees. He also worried that it would impose rules and policies that inhibited managers’ ability to make decisions that were best for the company’s business; this was even more of a concern because of the firm’s diversity. Agoda’s employee population comprised over 70 different nationalities working in a number of very different functions: call centre employees, IT developers, marketing professionals, business development professionals, and staff in finance, legal, and other areas. Rosenstein believed that an overly intrusive HR function would damage the relationship between managers and employees, and reduce the sense of entrepreneurship and flexibility that were core to the company. Yet some form of centralizing and structure was necessary to help the firm operate and grow. To ensure that his philosophy on managing talent was sustained while Agoda continued to grow, Rosenstein turned to Peter Allen. With a PhD in humanities and MBA from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, Allen had been a McKinsey & Company consultant in New York, founded Google University, and worked in talent management at Standard Chartered bank. Allen took the job because he wanted to see if he could shape the HR function to make a positive difference to this growing company.

4 Kira M. Newman, “Launch to Acquisition: Interview with CEO of Agoda (Acquired by Priceline),” Tech.Co, February 29, 2012, accessed November 1, 2016, http://tech.co/agoda-2012-02.

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Page 4 9B17C024 RE-ENVISIONING THE HR ROLE Allen was sympathetic to Rosenstein’s concerns about the dangers of imposing unnecessary bureaucracy. He believed that the relationship between managers and employees was the foundation of a high- functioning organization. As a result, Allen decided to build an HR function that would not add to the bureaucracy, but would instead play an advisory role in supporting and enhancing the role of management—in a sense, an internal consultancy that would help managers become more empowered in managing talent through data and insights. Allen explained his rationale:

Some tech firms grow out of an engineering culture in which the fundamental belief is that managers are bad, so the less management you do, the better. Such firms prefer to minimize or automate the business of management as much as possible. By contrast, we start with a different fundamental assumption. We believe that the most important relationship at work is the one between [managers and their] employees, so we want to help managers do their jobs well by empowering and supporting them.

One of Allen’s first moves was to rename his department; he replaced the old “Human Resources” name with a new one, “People and Organization Development” (generally known as the “people department”). As Allen explained,

My department’s fundamental goal is to help managers manage better, not to manage on their behalf. Our approach is based on a few core principles: • Managers, not HR, should define, live, and develop the company’s leadership. • Managers, not HR, should do the hard work of managing people—hiring, evaluating,

rewarding, and disciplining employees—and managers should be evaluated on their results. • Employees, not HR, should “manage up” and take responsibility for solving problems

directly with their managers. We’ve also tried to hire the smartest and most talented people we can find, regardless of whether they have traditional HR backgrounds. Results so far have been promising.5

Allen’s focus in the people department was to empower frontline managers to make many of the decisions traditionally carried out by HR. Naturally, for a data-driven company, a large part of the empowerment would come from providing those managers with the data to make those frontline decisions. The question was what data to collect, and how to collect, analyze, and present it in a way that empowered managers to make better decisions. Data of all kinds was core to Agoda’s business. With millions of customers around the world, Agoda needed to keep innovating in its business not by hunches or by intuition, but by solid data wherever possible. Like other information technology (IT) firms, Agoda relied extensively on data to garner

5 Peter L. Allen, “Toward a New HR Philosophy,” McKinsey Quarterly, April 2015, accessed November 1, 2016, www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/organization/our-insights/toward-a-new-hr-philosophy.

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Page 5 9B17C024 insights into its customers. The objective was to do a better job of targeting prospective customers and retaining existing ones.6 Allen knew that unless the people department operated in the same way as the rest of the company, it would not have the credibility it needed to help managers make the best possible decisions. However, when he joined the company, he found that most personnel information was kept on hundreds of spreadsheets on the computers of different members of the old HR team. Further, performance reviews were done on paper and kept (though hardly ever consulted) in physical files in the team room. There was no way to stay up to date, aggregate information, protect employee security, build accurate organizational charts, or support good management without the kind of information other departments had at Agoda. For Allen, improving the way the people department worked with managers and other stakeholders was a priority. His vision was not just about ensuring data could be digitized, centralized, and available in real time; it involved a fundamental change in the organizational role of the HR department—from one that established, monitored, and enforced HR policy to one that empowered managers to manage better. To initiate this transformation of Agoda’s people department, Allen made a number of changes. One such change was to persuade the company to adopt best-in-class information systems like Greenhouse and Workday, and be in a position to customize where needed. These changes would require technical resources. More importantly, Allen needed to hire great people who would share his philosophy, work within the culture, and be very comfortable with data. In particular, he knew he would need someone to take the lead and demonstrate how this new system could empower managers. This person was Jeffrey Lee, a former McKinsey & Company consultant whom Allen recruited to be the director of Operations and Compensation. Lee had a wealth of international experience that was relevant to Agoda’s international presence. He grew up in Singapore and joined the U.S. Department of State as an analyst providing coverage of Asia. After completing his MBA at The Wharton School, Lee was recruited by McKinsey & Company, where he consulted on operations strategy with multinational clients around the world. Allen thought that Lee’s consulting experience would place him in a strong position to lead the people department to develop data-driven insights that would empower managers in managing the talent. IMPLEMENTING PEOPLE ANALYTICS Lee was excited about Allen’s vision of enabling managers with data but realized this was going to be a challenging undertaking. “When I arrived, we were conducting performance evaluations with one- megabyte macro-enabled Excel sheets that were emailed to managers around the world.” In addition to the technical issues of integrating a new human capital management system, Lee had to persuade managers and his team in the people department to rethink how data was collected, analyzed, interpreted, and presented. These changes were necessary to be consistent with Allen’s vision of the people department as an enabler of managers, rather than a policy-setting and compliance-monitoring unit. Allen and Lee worked with their team to bring the firm’s people practices up to speed by focusing on three areas: compensation and benefits; performance evaluation and promotion; and recruitment.

6 Gil Press, “A Very Short History of Big Data,” Forbes, May 9, 2013, accessed November 1, 2016, www.forbes.com/sites/gilpress/2013/05/09/a-very-short-history-of-big-data/2/#6dead6a51af0.

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Page 6 9B17C024 Compensation and Benefits In many organizations, the HR function determined salary bands and compensation policies for different roles and positions. At Agoda, managers were encouraged to make compensation decisions based on their unit’s needs. Allen explained the principle underlying this unconventional approach:

We believe that managers should be able to hire the best people for their roles, without following arbitrary salary limits. Agoda hires employees from all over the world. Without compensation flexibility, it would be impossible to hire, say, senior IT talent from Silicon Valley into Thailand. As a result, giving managers the freedom to compensate employees appropriately was a key to the company’s success.

To empower managers in deciding on compensation, Lee implemented a system to collect real-time market rates on compensation, presenting the information to managers in a user-friendly format. Managers were also shown correlations between performance and bonuses in their departments so they could make informed decisions about allocating bonus payments (see Exhibit 2). According to Allen, managers were prompted to look at these correlations and see where there were any discrepancies:

These correlations should generally be positive. If they are not, it is possible that the bonus allocations are out of sync. Another possibility is that there could be other reasons for the way bonuses were allocated: sometimes there are specific individual circumstances, or broader changes in market conditions of which managers are aware, which then alerts us to consider adjusting compensation across the organization as a whole. The people team provides data and advice—but does not override or overrule managers, who, after all, are responsible for the performance of their own teams.

As a check, Rosenstein reviewed compensation for all departments at least once a year. The outcome was that while salaries were not consistent, even within a single department, managers were able to hire, reward, and retain the talent they needed most. Lee also applied analytics to track employee benefit use. As an online travel agency, Agoda provided employees with a travel benefit: 12 times per year they were able to use discounted rates on personal accommodation booked through the Agoda website. While there were guidelines about using these discounts, there were no clear penalties for excessive use. The question was how the company could prevent employees from abusing their benefits without over-policing. The people department monitored employee behaviour. However, rather than establishing blanket policies for dealing with employees found to have abused their benefits, the department brought each case to managers to resolve. In one case, for example, an employee was found to have used employee discounts for stays worth more than half his salary. The people team presented data around excess bookings and, in some cases, the person’s compensation to make the point that it was highly probable the employee was reselling the discount. The manager then acted to rectify the problem. While the outcome may have been the same as it would have been if HR managed the process, Agoda’s approach required managers to take ownership of the problem and resolve it themselves.

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Page 7 9B17C024 Performance Evaluation and Promotion Performance evaluation at Agoda was conducted through peer evaluations of employees’ work habits, cognitive abilities, and interpersonal skills (see Exhibit 3). Ratings for each employee were collated and shared with the employee, the manager, and the departmental head (see Exhibit 4). In order for this data to empower managers, Lee encouraged his team in the people department to constantly look for ways to identify and collect data that was relevant to managers. Allen explained:

We initially didn’t know where to begin, so we started with a 50-question survey. Then, we ran correlations on the responses to see if there were any key questions that drove the results. Identifying these questions allowed us to pare the survey down to a handful of questions to make it easier for employees completing the surveys and for managers.

From his prior consulting experience, Lee was aware that employees in each department performed different kinds of work and needed to be measured differently. For instance, call centre employees were managed on actual behaviours, such as the number and duration of calls handled. In contrast, employee performance in partner marketing could only be measured after a longer period of time. Therefore, managers in each of these units required different criteria for evaluating employee performance. Rather than simply applying a common set of criteria to evaluate all employees, Lee regularly engaged with managers to refine performance measures so they were the most useful to managers. With this information, managers could help employees with their developmental needs and deploy them to areas that suited their strengths. By tracking employees’ improvements in developmental needs over time, department heads could use this information as another indication of their managers’ consistency and effectiveness in managing, rather than rely solely on profit and loss numbers. Lee stated, “Many of our departments award bonuses annually. Some want to award them monthly, and we are developing the flexibility to provide these managers the tools with which to assess their employees’ performance, allowing them to use key performance indicators to award bonuses.” Once again, the people department had to find the right positioning—it wanted to give managers the information required to make and own good management decisions, but it did not want to take over the responsibility of managing from them. The principle remained the same: ask managers what information they needed, get good data, analyze it, provide that data to managers in ways that would help them manage better, and then follow up with them for feedback on the changes. Lee remarked,

A typical HR department operates like a government monopoly. There’s no competition for its services. You have to take what it provides. Moreover, you have to comply with its rules. We look at our people department in a different way. We want to be useful to managers. We won’t spend time developing tools or processes they don’t want. Managers are thinking about how we can help them immediately. If we want our people department to be relevant, if we want a seat at the table, we’re going to have to earn managers’ trust and give them tools, services, and data that they need. Otherwise, they’ll find other ways to collect and use data and cut us out of the loop.

Recruitment Having made some headway in giving managers the data they needed to manage their staff, Allen and Lee saw the next step as developing Agoda’s analytics capabilities in recruiting talent. To sustain Agoda’s fast

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Page 8 9B17C024 pace of growth, there was a constant need for new talent—both local and foreign experts—in critical areas like programming, product management, design, learning and development, and finance. Allen and Lee were convinced that getting recruitment to work, and work well, was critical to the company’s growth and continued success. Despite a growing recruitment team and a multi-million dollar annual recruitment budget, the company had limited insight into the effectiveness of its recruiting efforts. The people team hoped to gain insights such as the following: • Which universities, agencies, and other sources were producing the candidates most likely to be

hired/successful? • Were managers interviewing candidates efficiently and effectively? • Were there managers who could consistently identify top performers? • How long did the recruiting process typically take? How could Agoda expedite this process? • Should the recruiting function sit inside the department, reporting directly to the business heads? • Did candidates’ experience affect the company’s reputation and its ability to attract top talent? • Was the internal referrals program effective? Agoda sent out a People Team Survey with the objective of learning about the likelihood of employees referring potential employees (see Exhibit 5). To gain insight into Agoda’s recruitment efforts, Allen and Lee envisioned an applicant tracking system that would enable the people department to track, collate, analyze, and present data about applicants. In addition to ensuring that job applications were reviewed and acted on in a timely manner, such a system could potentially give managers feedback on successful recruitment practices and hiring decisions. However, Lee’s experience in implementing a people analytics platform made him sensitive to some of the challenges and drawbacks that were important to consider. CHALLENGES IN IMPLEMENTING ANALYTICS First, Allen and Lee recognized that the effective use of analytics for managing talent boiled down to employees’ deeply ingrained beliefs about the role of the HR function in the organization. “The perception of the HR function as adding to the bureaucracy is so ingrained, even within the people department,” remarked Lee. “We’re working hard to change the perception that HR departments serve a ‘command and control’ function. We need to constantly remind ourselves that our job is to deliver value to managers by empowering them with data.” However, this philosophy was not always easy to embrace. For example, some of Lee’s analysts in the people department were concerned that the constant iteration and customization of surveys for different business units created analytical challenges. Not only was it difficult to track performance over time, but it was also difficult to benchmark performance across units. From Lee’s perspective, this trade-off was very clear: empowering managers with data, even at the cost of consistent benchmarking, was the main role of the people department. Second, most managers believed themselves to be good at what they did. While providing managers with evidence about their successes reaffirmed these beliefs and would be received positively, their reactions to evidence about their shortcomings were more unpredictable. Managers could become defensive and more resistant to change, or misinterpret the data, resulting in unexpected behaviours.

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Page 9 9B17C024 For example, providing data showing that a longer orientation program resulted in happier, more productive employees could prompt managers to simply lengthen their orientation programs without paying attention to the quality of those programs, or the trade-offs they might require. Similarly, collecting employee feedback on a proposed new change (championed by the manager) could result in managers electing not to share information about new initiatives in the future. Another risk was that managers would “teach to the test” by behaving in ways that might make employees happy in the short term but might not improve their performance. The opportunity to gain a competitive advantage through data had to be tempered with the fact that many companies still had not become competent at leveraging the data they were collecting. Agoda had advanced systems, including people technology infrastructure, to manage its workforce (see Exhibit 6). However, a recent commentary by Brendan Marr, an author focused on data, analytics, metrics, and improving business performance, caught Allen’s eye:

[I]n the rush to avoid being left behind, I also see that many companies risk becoming data rich but insight poor. They accumulate vast stores of data they have no idea what to do with, and no hope of learning anything useful from. To add to the problem, a lot of data has a lifespan. At some point in time, it becomes no longer relevant, inaccurate or outdated. But often it is held onto anyway in the mistaken belief that someday it might come in useful. It is important to remember also that collecting and storing data costs money—data requires storage, electricity to power it, and, if the information is sensitive (including customer records), attention to be spent on security and data compliance.7

Third, there were concerns about data collection methods. If employees were being asked for their opinions through online surveys, how could the people department ensure that appropriate questions were being asked? How would it know if the surveys were sent out in the right frequency? Too little data would not be informative, but survey fatigue was a risk, too. Allen and Lee also expressed concern about how something as subjective as employee performance could be measured accurately. “It’s much more complex and difficult to pin down employee performance than dealing with financial transactions. Money you can count; performance—high or low—is a little more difficult to determine,” said Allen. “How do we decide what makes a good manager and create a program that develops these attributes?” Fourth, Lee wondered how the information should be presented: “Should we send out our conclusions and back them up by providing managers with the raw data? Or should a summary page be sufficient? And, frankly, what would make managers actually pay attention and act on the information they received?” If the goal was to have managers make decisions based on data, the question was how to encourage managers to pay attention and use the data as a basis for change, rather than just treat it as a report to be perused, or worse, ignored. Lee toyed with the idea that the people department should implement a “league review” format, comparing the hiring and management performance of managers with each other. “My dream state is that

7 Barnard Marr, “Big Data Overload: Why Most Companies Can’t Deal with the Data Explosion,” Forbes, April 28, 2016, accessed November 23, 2015, www.forbes.com/sites/bernardmarr/2016/04/28/big-data-overload-most-companies-cant- deal-with-the-data-explosion/#383d1b7c3920.

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Page 10 9B17C024 each hiring manager has his or her own ‘baseball card.’ There would be statistics on it, a manager’s scorecard if you will, and managers’ results would be available for all to see.” But what kind of consequences would such a scorecard have? Rating systems had worked before in getting managers to complete performance evaluations; what else could they be extended to? Fifth, Lee wondered about privacy concerns. Was the overall effort to monitor and track employees too intrusive? How would these efforts at data collection affect Agoda’s organizational culture, productivity, and innovation? Sixth, Allen and Lee had to overcome practical and technical challenges. The people department managed a significant amount of employee testing, evaluation, performance, and feedback data. There were weekly pulse surveys, a 60-question online employee engagement survey administered annually, and exit interviews. There was semi-annual performance review data, other survey information, and data from a new learning management system on the way. These groups of data were housed in six different datasets. “We want to have an integrated platform that allows us to collect and analyze employee data. We are aiming to invest in a unified system in the next few months,” said Lee. However, consolidating data would require a significant investment of resources. Was it worth the cost and effort when the team was already overstretched? What additional insights could be gained? How else might managers be empowered, and how might this impact be quantified? How could the people department encourage—not force—managers to behave in ways that would have better outcomes? CONCLUSION CEO Robert Rosenstein’s questions returned to the fore: How could Agoda correlate data and system investment with outcomes, and what would it take to make this system work? How would the people team persuade managers to use it—and what would be the implications for Agoda culture if they did? This process of shaping the culture and changing behaviour—without creating resentment or taking away managers’ independence—was a crucial one, and both Rosenstein and Allen knew it.

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Page 11 9B17C024

EXHIBIT 1: AGODA GROWTH SINCE 2007

Source: Company files.

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Page 12 9B17C024

EXHIBIT 2: CORRELATION BETWEEN BONUS AND PERFORMANCE AT AGODA

Source: Company files.

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Page 13 9B17C024

EXHIBIT 3: AGODA DEPARTMENTAL EVALUATION

Source: Company files.

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Page 14 9B17C024

EXHIBIT 4: SAMPLE REPORT FROM AGODA EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT SURVEY 2015

Notes: Employee engagement is about more than just satisfaction. It is a mutually beneficial relationship between the employee and organization. Engagement is a good indicator of how connected employees are to the company and to helping it to achieve its goals. Top 3 highest-scoring questions against Agoda overall: • Q49. Senior managers are available and accessible when employees need them • Q48. Senior management provides effective leadership • Q54. Agoda has clear processes and systems to help me contribute ideas for improvement Top 3 highest-scoring questions: • Q59. I understand what would be considered discrimination or harassment in the work place • Q60. I understand when I should go to my manager with problems versus when I should go to the

Legal and Compliance team with problems • Q1. I have a clear understanding of the goals and objectives of my team Source: Company files.

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Page 15 9B17C024

EXHIBIT 5: AGODA PEOPLE TEAM SURVEY (RECRUITING)

Source: Company files.

EXHIBIT 6: AGODA PEOPLE TECHNOLOGY INFRASTRUCTURE

Source: Company files.

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  • Introduction
  • THE GLOBAL ONLINE TRAVEL AGENCY INDUSTRY
  • AGODA BACKGROUND
  • Explaining the importance of talent, Rosenstein stated,
  • IMPLEMENTING PEOPLE ANALYTICS
  • Compensation and Benefits
  • Performance Evaluation and Promotion
  • Recruitment
  • CHALLENGES IN IMPLEMENTING ANALYTICS
  • Fourth, Lee wondered how the information should be presented: “Should we send out our conclusions and back them up by providing managers with the raw data? Or should a summary page be sufficient? And, frankly, what would make managers actually pay att…
  • CONCLUSION
  • Exhibit 1: Agoda Growth since 2007
  • Source: Company files.
  • Exhibit 2: correlation between Bonus and performance at agoda
  • Source: Company files.
  • Exhibit 3: Agoda Departmental Evaluation
  • Exhibit 4: Sample report from agoda Employee Engagement Survey 2015
  • Source: Company files.
  • Exhibit 5: Agoda People Team Survey (Recruiting)
  • Source: Company files.
  • Exhibit 6: Agoda People Technology Infrastructure
  • Source: Company files.

JWI 522: Strategic Partnering with the C-Suite

Assignment 2

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JWI 522 – Assignment 2 (1212) Page 1 of 3

Assignment 2: Case Study Using Data to Build a Stronger Workforce Due: Week Sunday, midnight of Week 5 (Weight: 25%)

Overview

C-Suite leaders rely on data to drive decisions. However, many HR professionals come from “non-quant”

backgrounds that leave them feeling less than confident when it comes to understanding the numbers and

using data to evaluate and communicate critical HR initiatives. Like it or not, having a seat at the table

requires that you can speak with data. The good news is that you don’t need to be a financial or data-

analytics expert. You do, however, need to be able to ask the right questions when the numbers are put in

front of you and you need to be able to identify the trends and patterns to successfully manage talent. If

you can’t do this, there is a strong possibility you will not be a part of “real” business conversations.

This assignment presents you with an opportunity to explore how data can be used to make more effective

talent-management decisions. By developing these skills, you will be better equipped to challenge

assumptions, create hiring and compensation models, and to defend the value that HR brings to the

organization. Since we can never have complete data, our decision-making process must acknowledge

what we know and what we don’t know. Even with incomplete data, however, our actions must be

reasonable, given the time frame and resources we have. Additionally, any actions we recommend must

include a clear understanding of how success will be measured (ROI).

Instructions

For this assignment, you will write a paper based on the case study, Agoda: People Analytics and

Business Culture. In your paper, you are to analyze the data and provide a recommendation for action.

Your paper must address the following topics: the challenges and opportunity; the data that is known and

unknown; the culture of the organization; and how data can be leveraged to support a plan of action.

Use the outline below to organize your paper:

1. Executive Summary

An executive summary is a brief synopsis of a paper or report. It is a helpful tool that allows readers to get a snapshot of what will be discussed in the paper. Your Executive Summary should not include detailed information, but simply present an overview of your position.

2. Data and Culture

a. What are the data collection/analysis tools being considered in the case?

i. How might they improve the way talent is managed?

ii. What drawbacks or dangers are presented?

JWI 522: Strategic Partnering with the C-Suite

Assignment 2

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JWI 522 – Assignment 2 (1212) Page 2 of 3

b. How might the need for transparency and actionable data create a negative environment? What are some unintended consequences the data might lead to? Think in particular about the need for privacy.

3. Data Analysis

a. What does the data in Exhibit 2 tell us? Which team has the highest correlation between performance and compensation? Explain.

b. What does the data in Exhibit 3 tell us about where we may want to focus our personnel development efforts? Explain.

c. What other insights could be helpful to Agoda that are not addressed in the case?

i. What data would you need to identify these insights?

ii. How could this data be collected in an accurate and cost-effective way?

4. Recommendation

a. What are Allen’s key issues going forward?

i. What role does Agoda’s culture play in each of these issues?

ii. What previous findings or experiences related to these issues are conveyed in the case?

b. What advice would you offer him?

c. How will the success of the recommendations be assessed? Be specific about:

i. What cost assumptions need to be included?

ii. How should ROI be measured?

d. Summarize the main steps of your action plan to support your recommendation to Allen.

Formatting Requirements

• Total length 4 – 6 pages (cover page and references page are not included in the required length)

• Include a cover page containing the title of the assignment, your name, professor’s name, and the course title and date

• Include a references page with your sources

• Double-spaced, professional font (Times New Roman or Ariel), 10-12 font size; headings are used to identify main topics and subtopics

JWI 522: Strategic Partnering with the C-Suite

Assignment 2

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JWI 522 – Assignment 2 (1212) Page 3 of 3

Rubric: Assignment 2

Criteria

Unsatisfactory Low Pass Pass High Pass Honors

1. Executive Summary Weight: 10%

Executive summary was missing or off- topic.

Executive summary covered main points, but was disorganized or overly detailed.

Executive summary provided basic synopsis of the paper.

Executive summary provided excellent synopsis of the paper.

Met HP criteria plus displayed an engaging style that hooks the reader.

2. Data and Culture Weight:15%

Response was missing, inaccurate or off- topic.

Response adequately addressed only one of the two main questions.

Provided basic response to both questions, but lacked sufficient exploration of key themes.

Response provided complete and well-reasoned treatment of both questions using data from the case.

Met HP criteria plus added significant relevant insight from outside sources.

3. Data Analysis Weight: 40%

Did not submit an adequate response for any of the data analysis questions.

Submitted a complete and accurate response for one of the questions.

Submitted a complete and accurate response for two questions, but lacked sufficient exploration of main themes.

Submitted a complete and well-reasoned treatment of three questions using data from the case.

Met HP criteria plus added significant relevant insight from outside sources.

4. Make a Sound Recommendati on Weight: 20%

Recommendation was missing or did not connect to data, and the objectives of stakeholders.

Recommendation was basic and lacked sufficient detail on ROI and action steps.

Recommendation was well- reasoned and grounded in data, but lacked sufficient detail on ROI or action steps.

Recommendation was well- reasoned and grounded in data and included accurate detail on ROI or action steps.

Recommendation demonstrated exceptional insight and included detailed calculations of ROI considerations and action plan.

5. Organization and Writing Conventions Weight: 15%

Paper displayed significant grammatical errors; logic and flow were inconsistent and difficult to follow.

Paper displayed minor grammatical errors, logic and flow were good, but basic.

Paper contained minor grammatical errors or only minor organizational shortcomings.

Paper was error- free, well- organized and easy to follow.

Met all HP criteria plus demonstrated a particularly engaging style and structure that elevates the paper to an exemplary level.

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JWI 522 (1192) Page 1 of 7

JWI 522 Strategic Partnering with the C-Suite

Week Five Lecture Notes

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JWI 522 (1192) Page 2 of 7

BUILDING TOMORROW’S WORKFORCE What it Means Strategic HR leadership requires deep insight into trends that will impact the business over the long term. Companies have to develop workforces that are able to keep up with changes in the market, and that can grow and adapt. Senior HR leaders must focus on the landscape 5 or 10 years down the road and be preparing for this now. This not only requires a well-developed plan, but it must include structures and processes that support agility if things don’t go as planned.

Why it Matters

• Market conditions are constantly changing, and yesterday’s workforce will not allow you to beat tomorrow’s competitors.

• Building a strong workforce requires deep knowledge of the labor market and a plan that enables your organization to pay appropriately to get the talent you need.

• Without the right people on board, the strategic plan will not succeed.

“Build the company now that you want to be then.”

Patty McCord

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JWI 522 (1192) Page 3 of 7

THE IMPORTANCE OF A LONG-TERM GROWTH PLAN

As the saying goes, “the future ain’t what it used to be.” And nowhere are those sage words truer than in attracting, retaining, and developing the talent your organization needs to ensure its long-term success. To prepare for that future, McCord advises, “You’ve got to hire now the team you wish to have in the future.” (Powerful, P. 72) That makes sense, of course, but it’s easier said than done. The talent profiles of the workers who have gotten the organization to where it is today are unlikely to be the same as those needed to sustain that competitive advantage in the future. For most businesses, new technologies will make old ways of doing things obsolete. Those changes may be tied to the development and delivery of your products, or to how your customers purchase and use your products. Either way, most organizations will find themselves facing a series of inflection points where new skills and capabilities become critical to winning. If HR leaders and business leaders are not out ahead of that, they’ll find their competitors have beaten them to the talent market, and all the best and brightest are working for the other guys. While it may sound trite to haul out old clichés like “The only constant is change,” the reality is that these sayings have proven themselves to be true. The challenge, of course, is not in recognizing that things change, but in peering into the crystal ball and correctly assessing:

• In what ways and how quickly will things change? • What threats and opportunities will these changes present to the business? • How do we manage our staffing and workforce development to prepare for the changes and

strengthen our competitive advantage?

As McCord advises:

“One of the most important questions business leaders must regularly ask is, ‘Are we limited by the team we have not being the team we should have?’” “Build the ideal team by starting with the vision down the road. Identify the problem you want to solve, the time frame in which you want to solve it, the kinds of people who will be successful at that, and what they need to know how to do, then ask yourself, what do we need to do to be ready and able, and whom do we need to bring in?”

Powerful, P. 78

STRATEGIC PLANNING AND WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT In Week 2, we discussed the importance of building a strong alignment between HR and the strategic initiatives of the organization. We’re going to revisit that again this week. It is critical that the CHRO evaluates business strategy and market conditions against goals and current capabilities, and then develops a staffing and talent management plan to meet the objectives. There are a number of frameworks used in developing strategic plans for businesses. These tools are helpful for HR leaders as well in conducting a “SWOT” analysis of the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats that impact your organization and your workforce. A detailed examination of these is beyond the scope of this course, but you are encouraged to do additional research to familiarize yourself with the most common tools used by strategists. Two of the most useful of these are outlined below.

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JWI 522 (1192) Page 4 of 7

PESTEL Analysis is focused on identifying macro-environmental factors that can impact your business, i.e., the big-picture things going on that are external to your marketing environment. In exploring these factors, you need to assess what the leading indicators (or triggers) are, how likely these will actually occur, and whether the impact on the business would be positive or negative. The components of PESTEL are:

• Political – analysis of the impact from government in areas of taxation, elections, changes in leadership, policies, etc.

• Economic – analysis of general macro conditions, including whether we are in a recession or economic expansion, and potential changes in interest rates, currency fluctuations, tariffs, etc.

• Social – trends in demographics (such as the average age of the population and growth/decline of the available workforce), as well as general sentiments around important issues such as health, education, and immigration. These factors can have a significant impact on the makeup of the potential workforce you can recruit from.

• Technological – what are the changes in the technology that impact product function and development? How will these changes guide the type of skills you will need to develop in your workforce in order to keep up?

• Environmental – forces that impact environmental regulations as well as sentiments on issues like climate change and pollution which can impact the business.

• Legal – factors in industry regulations, employment law, or compliance that could require changes to how things get done or get reported.

Another popular tool in strategy development is Michael Porter’s Five Forces, which explores the competitive forces within the market or industry. Strategists using Porter’s Five Forces are asking questions about power. Who has it, and how can it be exploited and/or defended against? The objective is to develop a strategy that will improve your position and make you the biggest, the best, or the most distinctive in your market. These forces are:

• Force 1: Rivals These are the companies directly competing with you for the hearts and minds of your target customers. A few well-chosen questions can help identify challenges and opportunities: how large are your competitors? Are there many of them or few? How mature are they in the space? In what ways are you better or different from them? Rivals are central to your industry analysis. They compete with you, both for raw materials from suppliers (Force 2) and for customers (Force 3). At the same time, you and your rivals may share a common enemy, in the form of a substitute product (Force 4) or a new market entrant (Force 5).

• Force 2: Suppliers You’ll want to look at the supply chain in your industry, first by analyzing suppliers. Are the suppliers large and too few in number? Or do many small players predominate? Which critical types of goods are most scarce?

• Force 3: Customers Then, you need to look to the other end of the supply chain, toward your customers. Are they fragmented into multiple types? Or is there a dominant buying group? What are the switching costs they would incur to move to, or away from, your products?

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JWI 522 (1192) Page 5 of 7

• Force 4: Substitutes Unlike direct rivals, these represent indirect competition for your product or service. What other goods and services are close substitutes for yours? To whom might suppliers sell, or from whom might customers buy, instead of you? For example, watching movies at home and going to live plays are both substitutes for seeing movies at a public theater. Competitors to theaters would want to understand the price difference or delivery mechanism that might prompt customers to choose one form of entertainment over another.

• Force 5: New Entrants You need to be on the lookout for new direct competitors. Which players, or types of companies, might enter your market and compete against you? Do they represent an opportunity as well as a threat? Say you were a delicatessen selling sandwiches and salads in 1988. At the time, large supermarkets were beginning to experiment with prepared foods. They might have been seen as a new entrant threatening to steal many of your customers. Conversely, they might have represented customers for your prepared foods, thereby expanding your business.

While it’s not the responsibility of the HR department to be the sole driver of the strategy of the business, you are encouraged to review these tools and integrate them into your long-term workforce planning. HR leaders seeking a seat at the table as a member of the C-Suite recognize that they have a critical role to play as partners in developing and executing a long-term strategic plan. This plan must include a reality check of what it will cost to hire and retain the people you need. The more detailed and specific your analyses are, the better you will be able to create accurate models for hiring and development costs. Patty McCord warns us, however, that:

“Compensation departments end up spending gobs of time comparing descriptions and making the best calculations they can to adjust for all factors. But of course, that process still only gives you a baseline understanding of the true market landscape.” “Market demand is still not adequate as a guide to compensation you should offer, because it is of the current moment, while hiring should be about the future.”

Powerful, P.112

If we take the principle of “people before strategy” seriously, then HR’s role as a driver of competitive advantage has to include a long-term view down the road to assess and plan for the needs of the future. We cannot allow ourselves to let others own the entire strategic planning process without our input. If we do, our role in workforce development will be relegated to waiting for new-hire requisitions to come in, and then managing the search process to fill today’s empty roles.

SUCCESSION PLANNING

With all of this focus on change, it would be easy to think that building the workforce of the future is only about hiring new talent. The people you need, however, may already be part of the team. Succession planning may well be one of the most underappreciated practices in HR and in leadership and management in general. It gets talked about a lot, but it doesn’t always get handled well. It’s one of those topics that far too many organizations don’t worry about until it’s too late – the business is running at full steam, you have strong teams in place with strong leaders at the helm, and all is well. But Conaty and Charan understand that matters can change quickly. The late-night phone call, the surprise email,

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JWI 522 (1192) Page 6 of 7

the unexpected meeting when the employee walks into the boss’s office and says, “Hey, do you have a few minutes? I need to talk to you about something important,” all remind us:

… talent is the key to the future. Strategies come and go, market share and profits wax and wane, but an organization that can build a self-renewing team of first-rate leaders is prepared to handle anything that tomorrow brings.

The Talent Masters, P. 254 As you’ve seen in our readings, GE under Jack’s leadership was built on having a rigorous evaluation system. This system not only allowed managers to provide candid feedback to everyone on their teams about what they were doing well and where they needed to improve, it also did something else. It created a system in which promotion potential was front and center. Throughout the organization, for every senior management role, there was a list of potential successors who were being observed, tested, and coached. The goal was that, if a senior leader suddenly had to be replaced, the new leader could be in place within 48 hours and the business wouldn’t miss a beat.

Many companies don’t feel a sense of urgency about their leadership talent until their businesses fall apart or they need to engineer a strategic shift … talent masters understand that there’s a difference between trying to patch things up and rebuilding the organization’s talent for the long term.

The Talent Masters, P. 197

There are two considerations required for successful succession planning:

1. First, you have to understand the nature of the business and culture. Is it growing? Do people stick around and move through the ranks? Do we have (or need) talent development programs that groom the next generation of leaders?

2. How important is continuity in our organization? Does it matter if the next wave of leadership comes from within or not? This is actually a pretty important question. The answer depends a lot on the makeup of the workforce, the rate of turnover, and whether the CEO sees it as a priority.

Admittedly, building a culture where succession planning is part of the fabric of performance evaluation and people development may be a long journey. It requires support from the CEO, and it requires a system that has reinforcements. Because let’s be honest, many managers will view building a strong future for the business as something different from growing the next generation of leaders. It’s the job of HR to make sure this disconnect doesn’t happen.

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JWI 522 (1192) Page 7 of 7

GETTING THE MOST OUT OF THIS WEEK’S CLASS As you read the materials and participate in class activities, stay focused on the key learning outcomes for the week:

• Understand the importance of having a long-term growth plan How far ahead are you and your team looking when it comes to talent acquisition, development, and retention? Are you planning for tomorrow’s workforce, or taking orders to fill today’s vacancies? Leadership, especially C-suite leadership, must play the long game. What can you do to connect the 5-year strategy of the organization to an assessment of the talent you now have and what you’ll need? Which positions will be more in demand, and what new talents will be needed that aren’t well- defined now? Which positions will become redundant, and how can you plan for these reductions to have the least disruption to the company and to impacted staff?

• Apply strategic planning tools to workforce development Are you keeping up with what’s going on with your competitors and the broader economic environment? Build your knowledge about the tools and frameworks used by economists and strategists, and leverage these to build staffing models to create your workforce of the future. Subscribe to industry journals and economic and financial publications like the Economist and the Wall Street Journal.

• Evaluate succession planning needs against talent development practices How much time do you and your business leaders spend evaluating and developing the potential of current team members? Having a deep bench can help your organization improve agility and prepare for unexpected events. Think about what can be done now to develop high-potential employees in ways that allow you to test them with new challenges and stretch assignments, while providing an appropriate safety net of coaching and support.

USING DATA TO BUILD A STRONGER WORKFORCE 1

USING DATA TO BUILD A STRONGER WORKFORCE 10

Using Data to Build a Stronger Work November 3, 2019 Jack Welch Management Institute JWI 522: Strategic Partnering with the C-Suite Dr. Richard Wallace

The executive summary need not be long, but it should engage the reader and compel them to want to delve deeper into the paper. It lays out a roadmap for what comes next.

Executive Summary

Robert Rosenstein, CEO of Agoda, is a visionary overseeing an organization that has grown in its innovation and influence in the travel industry. The company has survived decades without the influence of a traditional HR culture that, according to Rosenstein, that impedes on the manager/employee relationship, and could also interfere with managerial decisions concerning the business health of the organization. Therefore, he hired a man after his own heart, who was sympathetic to his concerns and whom he believed can convert the HR function in a way that would develop a department that encourages the manager/employee relationship without the pitfalls of antiquated HR bureaucracy. That man was Peter Allen, a Wharton School of Business MBA graduate and Ph.D. in Humanities. His experience with companies like Google was impressive and seemed the perfect fit for Agoda. Although Allen started with positive changes such as converting the name of his department from Human Resources to The People Team and redirecting its focus to consultancy arm for department managers, he had quite a few challenges ahead of him. Those challenges included the justification of incremental investments, effective talent management, management ownership of their outcomes and employee relationships, keeping with industry innovation and changes, acquiring star talent, avoiding HR bureaucracy while centralizing the data needed to make more informed talent management, and recruitment decisions.

Give some background into Agoda and why they are pursuing the path that they are taking.

Introduction

Agoda is a continuously growing business. Rosenstein is sharp in keeping with the latest technologies to advance the organization, acquiring smaller organizations and growing them rapidly, and fully understanding the strengths of the competition and areas in which Agoda should improve (Mark, 1). Rosenstein also knew a change was constant and inevitable and that he needed to build traditional HR functions that included recruitment, training, and compensation. Yet he and Jack Welch have very similar philosophies such as attracting top talent possessing “natural intelligence, competitiveness,” a willingness to learn, candor, and strong ethics (Welch, 2)—managers should ensure these candidates get recruited by making the necessary sacrifices to acquire the talent.

Therefore, he hired Peter Allen because he shared the same understanding of talent acquisition and respected Rosenstein’s vision for the organization. Allen will work closely with Rosenstein to acquire a deeper understanding of the mission and behaviors expected to support his decisions, as he works with other managers like Jeff Lee, Director of Operations and Compensation, to test their current platforms that include Workday and Greenhouse to track applicants and recruitment data. Additionally, Workday is customizable to suit the needs of the organization. Allen plans to test these data collection tools for efficiency and accuracy, furthermore to make changes if needed. Agoda collects a wealth of data. Therefore the collection of data is not the issue; for Allen, the issue is how to collect relevant data to help the People Team “lead the rest of the organization in creating an open, honest and high performing workplace” (Peterson, 3). Allen has to work with a designated group of managers to implement a combination of systems that include: talent management, application tracking, and learning management.

The data and culture section should address the path that Agoda is taking in some detail. What issues are they trying to solve? What are the impediments? What should the leadership need to think about in the transformation? What about dtat security? What questions are they trying to answer with the data?

Data and Culture

According to Peterson, there are separate tools that manage various processes: HRIS, HCM, and HRMS tools (3) as shown in the diagram below:

The data collection tools used by Agoda Workday and Greenhouse. Workday can be customized to accommodate the specific needs of the organization. Greenhouse is an applicant tracking system that aggregates recruitment data to gauge best practices and strategies useful to Agoda’s talent mission.

Allen discovered that much of the data needed to help the managers with talent management decision was entered on spreadsheets and kept separate on different HR personnel computers. Consequently, performance reviews were handwritten, hard copies housed in files. There was no way to efficiently and securely aggregate this data. He began a request for transformation, which led to the implementation of Workday and Greenhouse.

Allen also recruited a highly-qualified colleague from Wharton, Jeffrey Lee. Lee saw the need to address issues of security and data collection right away. He saw large amounts of data stored on spreadsheets that were shared worldwide. This was alarming to him as he also had to persuade managers to rethink the way they stored and shared data. Allen and Lee worked together by focusing on compensation and benefits, performance evaluation and promotion, and recruitment—which aligned with Rosenstein’s vision to recruit the best talent, pay them well, and make sacrifices to keep the talent.

Data breaches are real and can cost the company millions of dollars. Allen and Lee should consider this as they move forward. Although they do not wish to bureaucratic, there are some overarching themes to consider that are necessary. Frankenmuth states there are at least ten questions all companies, big or small should ask that include (4):

1. Industry regulations

2. Authorized accessibility

3. Employee information safeguard standards

4. Internet governance and cybersecurity precautions

5. Company-owned mobile devices, PC’s, and laptops

6. Email management

7. Social media guidelines

8. Password regulations and standards

9. Security policy management personnel

10. Data breach procedures

Cybersecurity is extremely important, especially in industries that serve consumers and employees worldwide. Lee and Allen will need to make this a priority, as well.

Data Analysis

According to Peterson, the key benefits of a system is that data is collected and made accessible from a single source. This ensures security and compliance; it saves time, its convenient, and allows time for people management strategies (3). Also, these tools aid in payroll benefits planning and reward systems. Therefore, Lee used the analytics tools to:

· Eliminate subjective salary limits to improve flexibility, collect salary data based on actual market rates, and

· Provide salary data to managers who will make the final decision based on department budget and employee performance metrics

· Track employee travel benefits that would prevent abuse

· Track employee behaviors, examining the data with managers for the managers to decide a plan of action

· Provide managers the data for them to take ownership

· Track on the job performance using data from peer evaluations and cus

· Track developmental needs for training opportunities

· Track KPI’s for promotions and rewards

Allen and Lee are optimistic, having transformed the People Team into a resource useful to managers. By making definitive use of their people management tools, they were also able to gauge if “operating managers own evaluations, development plans, and promotions” to successfully nurture and develop their teams (Cohn et al., 4). However, there was a glitch in the metrics.

In the data analysis section, there are two exhibits that you need to look at. Look for the correlations in the tables and what they mean in exhibit one. What does it tell you and what are you going to do with the information. In exhibit three there is a different layout of data. Again, what does the data tell you about what is going on? What are you going to use the data for?

Data Analysis

Exhibit Two

The data in Exhibit 2 should demonstrate a non-subjective correlation between employee performance and bonuses. At first glance Team 1 bonus is closely aligned with performance: as performance improves bonuses are rewarded. However, as stated in the case study, the other diagrams did not show a correlation between performance and bonuses, as with teams 2, 4, and 6—which show some high performance that has not received bonuses at all due to unforeseeable circumstances and market changes. Allen states that this is a red flag for change in compensation determination across the board, yet the option will still be in the hands of managers.

However, if managers do not compensate high performers who deserve bonuses, this may be considered unethical, and Agoda stands the chance of losing star performers, an issue Rosenstein would rather circumvent, as he believes this will likely interfere with management and employee relationships and further compromise the success of the organization.

Exhibit Three

After examining Exhibit 3, the areas that need the most focus are those that both mirrored development and strength plus exceeded the number for development such as “giving feedback” with a deficit of 15 extra people and “instills a sense of ownership in team” with a deficit of 10 extra people aside the mirrored 20. Overall, there are additional areas for improvement, such as “Strategic and big-picture Thinking” and “Creative Problem Solving, Welch encourages “all brains in the game” (2). Employees can become discouraged when they feel they do not have a voice; valuable insights are overlooked or thwarted which gives way to dysfunction (Lencioni, 5).

When companies fail to develop their star talents and leadership, they will experience “steady attrition” and become vulnerable when experiencing a restructure, merger, or acquisition, as the incoming company may have a stronger culture that supersedes the former (Cohn et al., 4),

The recommendations should be supported by the analysis in the rest of the paper. The recommendations should contain some concrete steps as well. Timelines, specific actions, and/or specific steps are all useful. Saying that “we need to get better” is pretty meaningless. Don’t just recast the issues. Tell me how you want to solve them. Leaders are confronted with issues every day. What they want is solutions.

Recommendations

A notable issue both Allen and Rosenstein understood is the continual balancing act between talent recruitment and the investment in tools that would make this process both time and cost-efficient. There were immeasurable issues such as: acquiring the best talents with notable education and training, the efficiency of interviews, which managers can consistently recognize star performers, how effective are internal references.

XB Insights is a leader in the industry of talent acquisition, recruitment, training, development, and placement (6). This organization has the software capabilities and a talented team of experts who specialize in assessing, predicting, and maximizing performance outcomes. Additionally, they can help improve hiring practices, reduce turnover, and increase revenue—which is all measurable and needed in Agoda according to Allen. Lastly, they provide access to partnerships that provide integration options, along with content and technology.

Although Allen hired Lee, they need to outsource for experts in assessing talent in a smart, unique, and innovative way. I would advise Allen to invest in a partnership with XB Insights. They have worked with large data-driven organizations such as Nielsen Research, Acxiom, Experian, and other people analytical organizations. Allen is on the right track, being open to innovations and ideas that work.

The plan of action simple: use what works but also invest in a partnership that will remedy the recruitment issue. As stated earlier, data security is also an issue, and I would advise Allen to invest in a partnership that specializes in AI and Cloud management. Plan of action:

1. Use current people management tools that work best for the organization

2. Invest in a cybersecurity partnership to secure all data

3. Invest in a partnership specializing in total talent management for data-driven organizations.

References:

1. Ken Mark. July 19, 2017. Agoda People Analytics and Business Culture (A). W17429. Richard Ivey School of Business. Ivey Publishing

2. Jack Welch. 2005. Winning. Harper Business

3. Oliver Peterson. June 5, 2019. What is HRIS? The Best Software for a Human Resources Information System. Process.st. We’re Hiring. Retrieved from https://www.process.st/hris/

4. Jeffrey M. Cohn, Rakesh Khurana, and Laura Reeves. October 2005. Growing Talent as if Your Business Depended on It. JWMI Strayer University. Retrieved from https://services.hbsp.harvard.edu/lti/links/content-launch

5. Patrick Lencioni. 2002. The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable. Jossey-Bass

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