Founded in 1996 with just a few employees, Booking.com is the No. 1 online hotel reservation service in the world. In the past 20 years it’s now grown to over 9,000 employees. Fast growth has been both key to its success and a challenge for employee engagement. A data-driven company that operates in an innovative environment, Booking.com had previously measured employee satisfaction but realized that this was not providing a complete picture of its employees’ experience. It was felt that engagement was the key to both continued growth and capturing and retaining top talent in a very demanding industry. ORC International was commissioned to undertake the organization’s first employee engagement survey to understand how its employees really felt and what an engaged employee at Booking.com looked like.
We worked closely with Booking.com in conducting a questionnaire review to include an engagement index, moving away from just satisfaction to truly resonate with Booking.com’s employees. This was developed through the inclusion of questions that focused on some of the key drivers of employee engagement, such as management, innovation, performance, and the understanding of and relationship with the company values. It was felt that this was the right combination to help Booking.com truly understand its employees. An online survey was then created, with a unique link allocated to each employee with pre-coded demographic information. Different statistical explorations were undertaken, including segmentation, text mining, key driver analysis for all departments (where possible), and analysis around Booking.com’s top talent and what is leading this group to perform better and stay. We created reports and ensured design was reflective of the company. These included full data as well as simple action-oriented reports for managers, which pinpointed what the needs were within their teams. In order to provide further insight into the business and why employee engagement is crucial, we brought in different HR metrics such as absenteeism and training hours. To give a full picture of the company, this was combined with customer metrics including the net promoter score, NCS, customer satisfaction, and remuneration data. This allowed Booking.com to understand how the different metrics correlated and influenced one another, providing an insight into how those who are more engaged or feel more valued can impact customer metrics, and what it could do as an organization to enhance this.
With an engagement score of 80 percent, Booking.com sat 16 percentage points above the ORC Private Sector benchmark. Participation was also extremely high at 94 percent. Delivered in a top-down approach, each manager received a report of the results and a guide on how to interpret them. This was supported by our action tool with pre-coded bullet points that helped managers create plans. Our recommendations were put into practice straight away, along with the creation of The Booking Deal and other internally led policies to show that survey findings were being acted upon. Moving forward, we are aiming to provide further insights by looking at the Booking.com employee lifecycle, from hires to leavers, in greater depth.