Valeriia: Hi Sam! I really appreciate you joining today’s discussion. I am very excited. We touched upon Homelike´s culture topic before in our videos. But I think it is definitely interesting to explore it further with you in more detail and hear your perspective from a leadership side. But first, feel free to introduce yourself.
Samuel: Sure thing. I am Samuel. I joined 3 years and a half ago. I think I am actually the most veteran person in the leadership team.
I started as a Country Manager for Spain in Barcelona. So, the main objective was basically to open up the country from scratch and then in March 2020 (such a nice month for everyone), I got promoted to Regional Manager of France & Spain. So, I basically oversaw the development in those countries from the supply and from the demand sides.
And then recently, 2 months ago, I was promoted to Head of International Markets, so basically replicating what my functions in these two countries, in everything but DACH region that is mine essentially.
Valeriia: Alright, great, thank you for the introduction! Maybe let’s start with a simple but compelling question. So, how would you describe Homelike in three words?
Samuel: Homelike is a very agile company. Very flexible – in terms of work/life balance as well. And very multicultural – we have more than 15/20 nationalities working around us and that´s always very nice
Valeriia: Absolutely! Yeah interesting. I think it will become clear why you chose exactly these 3 adjectives to describe the culture at Homelike after the next few questions. Hence, my next question is: how would you describe the communication and feedback culture at Homelike? What is your perspective?
Samuel: Homelike is a very feedback-based company. We have a very flat hierarchy, people from the leadership team to interns going through the entire organization, they can interact with each other with complete freedom, very freely.
So, I think there is a very nice and very transparent give-and-take feedback relationship between members of this company. So I think I will define it as very open, very transparent, and also flexible. In the end, you see meetings and you attend meetings, where you see the entire scale of hierarchy in the company. Being there, discussing on the same level very hot topics, very significant action items to the company.
Valeriia: Yes, 100%. Now, can you please tell me how Homelike defines objectives and measures results and success?
Samuel: So, we have, let´s say, a 3 years horizon, where we want to be in the next 3 years, so having like a long-term vision. And then we divide this horizon into years, so we have, what we call, guiding lights, for the year and actually the goals that we want to achieve from a high-level perspective.
And then we divide that into quarters and for each quarter we assign certain OKRs (objective key results) that are based on OKRs from the company and then each department is responsible for building their own OKRs that need to be aligned with the OKRs of the company. We review them, and we check them on a weekly basis with the team, but that is basically how we define goals in Homelike.
Valeriia: Yea, sounds about right. All this is particularly important, but also the question here is: how does Homelike support the wellbeing and work/life balance of the employees? What would you say?
Samuel: Yeah, that is a very interesting topic. In the end, we have gone through a pandemic in the last 2 years, and still, some have been affected by that. I think that Homelike has always shown a lot of support in all these work/life balance topics.
With 3 main things, first of all – the flexible working hours. In the end, we are very open as long as the work is done and as long as we can actually deliver what is requested and you go the extra mile on our goals. I think the company is very flexible on that. That is always super interesting especially for people with family, but also for employees that have sports or they want to attend different activities in the afternoon or in the morning. So, it is a very nice perk.
On the other side, there is remote working. In the end, Homelike is a company that allows employees to actually travel anywhere, which is a super nice policy that allows you to discover fully the culture or different societies in different parts of the world. And also supports our goal of being able to move from place to place flawlessly. So, I think it is a very interesting way to promote our vision to our own employees.
And the third is a package when it comes to supporting in getting info when you are going to another country, on HR support, on legal specifications of the country you want to move to. Also the holidays. In the end, we have an attractive holiday plan, which is 30 days per year, which is way above standard.
Valeriia: Yeah actually that is true. The first thing that comes to my mind about work/life balance and well-being is the flexibility, the hours, and remote work possible, but true – the 30 days holidays are actually quite nice to have, that is for sure.
But lastly, I just wanted to ask you one last question. So, what was your favorite Homelike moment so far?
Samuel: I have a feeling that the best moment has not yet arrived. The moment that I remember with more joy was basically the last year when we actually left the crisis of the whole pandemic that we had. It was announced to the company that we would go back to full-time work.
I think it was a very nice moment because, in the end, it showed all the effort and all the pain we all went through professionally but more, personally speaking, doing that year 2020 was finally paying off. We saw it as the light at the end of the tunnel or at least some lights in the tunnel that has been guiding us until now. That was my favorite moment because I could see also how we released a lot of pressure and a lot of uncertainty for all the people in the organization.
Valeriia: Yeah for sure. I think that was definitely a tough time, not only for Homelike but many other companies. And it is also interesting to see how everyone handled the situation differently and what Homelike has done and then of course, once it was over, that was a happy moment, that is for sure. I was not there, so I do not know, but I can imagine that it was definitely a memorable moment for you. But what about your recent promotion to Head of International markets? Wasn’t it one of your favorites?
Samuel: Yes, but at the end I see a moment being shared. I think the fact of everyone at the same time getting released for that short time was actually very happy because you could also share with the rest of your teams. Like everyone in our office at the same time. I think it was a very nice shareable moment with all of us.
As for my promotion, it is mainly due to the teams I am working with. I think it is a result of their work and also very happy. I know it is very demanding because in the end, international markets at the moment are responsible for more than 50% of our business, so it is a lot of responsibility, but I am surrounded by very good professionals and very committed Homelikees, and I am pretty sure that we are gonna overcome the OKRs like previously mentioned
Valeriia: Yes, for sure! Sounds great. Alright, it was definitely interesting for me to hear about your perspective on the culture at Homelike and I can confidently say that I agree with what you said. And I feel the three words you used to describe Homelike make a good summary. Thank you again and see you soon
Samuel: Thank you!