Yvonne Agyei

Yvonne Agyei (Booking.com): “the competition for talent is really heating up”

Booking.coms Yvonne Agyei did not really plan to work in tech, but she is very glad it happened. “When I moved to the San Francisco bay area in the late 1999, I did not have a tech background myself. But I ended up working at Google, just after the tech bubble bursted, which was very cool to see happening.”

Yvonne is not a tech lady in the sense that she does not code, she is in HR, or as Booking.com calls it: Chief People Officer. She graduated in psychology, which what makes her a perfect fit for the job. “I like to understand what motivates people, what makes them make certain decisions. You can use that in the workplace.”

Expanding

At Booking.com Yvonne has the opportunity to build off of what has already started, especially as the company is expanding. “We look at how to hire people, how to onboard them quickly, what type of talent do we need, but as a result of technology changing, we also look at how we help people become more agile. How do we support people adjust to change and thrive in working in a different way?“

Of course, there is the topic of artificial intelligence, as some people might be afraid robots are taking over. Especially at Booking.com there is a lot of development in AI. “We like to think about it in a different way. How can we use tech to enhance the way people are working? Tech can solve the easier problems, it is not that it will take over your job. If you do it right, it will take over the parts that can be done, but there is always a people part. And that human part is something people can focus on.”

Yvonne feels very much at home at Booking.com. “It blew me away how nice everybody is, while also being very focused on the business. Booking.com has a very strong culture, and we have over 140 nationalities working for us. I think the strong culture at Booking.com really helps many different cultural backgrounds work together. And people that work here usually love to travel, to explore and to learn. They are already exposed to different places, to that definitely works too.”

Women in technology

At the moment IT is booming, especially in Amsterdam, the home of Booking.com. “We do a lot of events to attract people. Not just to attract them, but also to support the community. A lot of what you hear when you are a women working in technology is that it can feel very lonely. We do not just want to hire people and have them drop out, we want to support them. There is however a big competition for talent. Even in the 2,5 years I have been working here, we have more companies coming into Amsterdam and they are expanding too. I like to think about what thrives people, but also what inspires them after they start their jobs, so we can keep growing.”

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