Ester Perez, the People Lead at Spotahome, took a few minutesto speak to us about their People department and the strategies they’ve put in place to enhance their employee retention and feedback culture.

Spotahome is an online app that aims to ease the process of renting, making everything easily accessible online on the app. You can view apartments, arrange and sign your lease on the Spotahome app without even leaving the house!

The People department at Spotahome has 2 main priorities: attracting top talent and keeping them happy so they can reach their full potential at Spotahome. They operate in five countries:  UK, Portugal, Germany, Italy, and Spain, so that’s a lot of people to look after!

Creating a safe space in which the free flow of ideas is encouraged is key. Ester highlights, “All ideas are welcome. If you think of something, you can always feel comfortable putting your hand up and saying, Hey, I have this idea”.

"All ideas are welcome. If you think of something, you can always feel comfortable putting your hand up and saying, Hey, I have this idea."

How does Spotahome work and measure employee satisfaction?

Spotahome’s feedback culture plays a big part in measuring their employee satisfaction. With surveys, open-ended questions, and 1:1 meetings, they gather their staff’s insights and measure their employee satisfaction in all areas. 

“Our feedback culture is ingrained in all our managers and employees, so we believe in 1:1 meetings and checking up on everyone to find out how they are doing”, Ester points out. 

Once this feedback has been gathered, it is rated using the traffic light system: green means positive, yellow and red mean there’s things they need to fix. This initiative helps them track their people’s moods and opinions, as well as collect ideas for future People & Culture initiatives. For example, lately their people have been asking for more social activities!

Employees posing happy together because of a good feedback culture

2 initiatives to improve satisfaction at Spotahome

The People department at Spotahome has made sure to instill proactive listening in their feedback culture to keep employee satisfaction high

“Something I’ve learned through the years is that listening to your employees once or twice a year isn’t enough. You need to pay attention to what they need everyday. Proactive listening helps us understand our employees’ needs better so we can work towards catering to their needs as best as we can”, says Ester, underscoring the importance of a feedback culture to hear everyone’s voices.

Right now, their two main initiatives are Office Coffee and Spotacause. These are centered around promoting socialization between employees, making them feel closer in the distance, since they are fully remote.

When it comes to measuring the success of these initiatives, they pay attention to analytics and metrics. For example, how many people attend their meeting and when, what works and what doesn’t. 

"Listening to your employees once or twice a year isn’t enough. You need to pay attention to what they need everyday."

Office coffee

Every two Wednesdays, employees from all the locations  have the opportunity to meet for coffee together online and chat for 20-30 minutes. There are 2 sessions, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, so they can adapt to everyone’s schedules. 

“We divide all employees into 3-4 person break rooms, so they can use that time to recreate the social environment people enjoy in an in-person office.”

Spotacause

“Spotacause aims to boost our social culture. While in the office, we had this big culture of having weekly social activities with everyone, so we are trying to bring this habit back into a virtual setting now that we are 100% remote.”

Every month is destined to bring awareness about one specific cause, promoting initiatives and information. As it is ingrained in their feedback culture, employees are also encouraged to bring up causes they’re passionate about: “In our People department, we are providers of change, but we do need help from employees that can lead and influence participation.”.

  • January was dedicated to animals and pets. They promoted veganism, recommended vegan restaurants, and collected people’s recipes and recommendations. And they even created chats for people to show off their own pets! “Our aim was to bring awareness and spark up interesting conversations between our teams.”
  • In February, they brought awareness to homelessness. They collected sanitary and essential supplies to donate in their offices. They even spread awareness about charities around the areas their employees lived in so everyone could participate!
  • March will be centered around women. We’re sure they are doing a lot of initiatives and activities to promote feminism! 

To make sure their message reaches everyone, they find passionate ambassadors in their different teams, so they can help spread the word. For example, in January, one of their most influential vegan team members helped spread their messages. In March, even their CEO, Alejandro Artacho, sent out a statement for everyone!

Employee participating in Office Coffee, an initiative started by their feedback culture

A feedback culture: the key to understanding their people

Throughout the interview, Ester reiterates that their priority is reinforcing their feedback culture with every initiative they start. 

“Spotahome has gone through a lot in little time, so during the pandemic we experienced a huge restructure. Because of our feedback culture, we gathered everyone to reflect on how the experience had affected us and what our next steps were. We thought it was so interesting that all of our employees were so grateful for our transparency throughout the whole process, even if a restructure hadn’t been the happiest outcome.”

Staying transparent and bringing everyone, regardless of their level, to help with company decisions is part of Spotahome’s values. “In moments of crisis, continuing to reinforce your feedback culture is essential for your company culture.”

"In moments of crisis, continuing to reinforce your feedback culture is essential for your company culture."

Spotahome's next challenge: attracting the best talent

Spotahome is rapidly growing in all 5 countries they’re present in, and so they need a lot of international talent. This brings up a challenge for them, what do they need from their employees, and what do their candidates need from them?

Our biggest challenge right now is understanding the needs of our company, as well as ensuring that incoming employees are a good cultural fit. Even if there is a lot to do, we need to assure we are continuing our recruitment processes and finding the perfect people for our positions. Only then can we ensure company and employee satisfaction.”

 So, how does this look for them?

  • Part of their recruitment process dedicates one of the interviews to evaluate the candidate’s cultural fit. 
  • They have found that now candidates are more eager to ensure companies are aligned with their own personal culture and principles.

Spotahome’s key to employee retention? Adapting to their people

It’s clear employee retention has become harder in the past few years, especially for the tech industry. Why has this happened? As Ester believes, The pandemic was a game changer for our routine. We spend 40 hours a week at work, so I think the pandemic allowed us to consider if we were truly happy during this time. Now people are more prone to searching for a change if they find they spend so much of their time in a job that isn’t fulfilling them.

In the wake of the pandemic, society is changing at a rapid pace, so it’s time for our motivations at work to change as well. Ester understands, “Society keeps changing, so I think our motivations at work have also changed. We are now looking for constant updates, new projects, and overall a more “emotional salary”, rather than a monetary one. Now candidates value more flexible models, career paths or development opportunities, rather than more money. If you don’t offer remote work, you’re basically out of the loop.

Spotahome’s goal is clear: reinforcing their feedback culture and active listening to adapt their policies and ways to their employees’ needs.

For example , they noticed a few of their employees wanted to go back to the office. To increase efficiency, they moved their offices to a small co-working space to house all returning employees. People are increasingly returning to in-person work, so they are now adapting and looking for a bigger office for everyone.

Employees plan how to attract more talent by promoting their feedback culture

4 lessons companies should keep in mind

After reaching this point, what are some takeaways we believe companies should learn from Spotahome and their feedback culture?

  1. Actively listen to your employees: Create a feedback culture that allows you to listen to your employees and gather insights everyday. Understanding the needs of your people is key to creating a great culture for them to thrive in.
  2. Provide the best environment for your employees: Actively develop initiatives to fit your employees needs, such as activities to promote socialization, diversity and inclusion. Working hard to make your team happy will reward your organization with great results.
  3. Adapt to change: As society changes, your employees’ needs do too. Your team might relocate, have kids, need more support… make sure you’re there to help them work around their life, and not live around work.
  4. Stay competitive: Pay attention to the job market and what candidates are looking for, and do your best to provide the best opportunities.

And remember: a good feedback culture isn’t created by listening to your employees once a year. Build a habit of active listening by offering platforms for your employees to share their insights and opinions, such as Nailted.  Access our free demo account now for a chance to see how all Nailted modules work with simulated data. Start now to build your feedback culture and work on your employee satisfaction and retention!