Transformation through automation, the Agoda way

Over five years, Jeff Lee, Chief People Officer at Agoda has transformed its HR department into a far more tech-driven and agile team.
By: | May 9, 2019


The first-ever HR Festival Asia, brought to you by the combined experience of HR Technology Conference & Exposition (US) and HR Summit (Asia), takes over the Suntec Singapore Convention & Exhibition Centre on May 8 and 9.

With a line-up of more than 100 speakers across six dedicated streams, and an Expo Hall with more than 100 exhibitors, there’s a little something for everyone at the event.

Check out our HR Festival Asia tag for more coverage direct from the event.

The Agoda of today has changed significantly from five years ago when Jeff Lee (pictured) joined the company. The US-born Lee worked with his team to quickly reduce its disproportionate reliance on antiquated systems and software. A key tenet of that team’s solution was automation, and that has become the crux of Agoda’s HR metamorphosis.

“Our first step was to implement systems to help us move away from being paper-based administrators,” he told the HR and Digital Transformation stream at HR Festival Asia.

Agoda’s HR department quickly moved away from an Excel-based approach to a more modern, bespoke platform.

To help drive adoption of new tools, Lee explained it was important clearly articulate the benefits for employees. They will more readily adopt changes if they understand how the change can help them. “Communicate your vision and the benefits frequently,” he advised. “If you explain how the new tools will help your team leave work 15 minutes earlier, they are more likely to be open to try it.”

Automating HR workflows such as offer generation and acceptance, candidate to-dos, and payroll also helped reduce the processing time for a new hire by up to 50%.

As Agoda has grown, Lee also pointed out the importance of relying on workplace communication tools beyond email. These help employees access information more readily and enable the crowd-sourcing of answers to questions, rather than relying on HR teams alone.