Employee Story Of The Month: Meet Sandra, Country Manager, Spain

Valeriia: Hello Sandra.Welcome. Thank you for joining.

Sandra: Hi.

Valeriia: Sandra. I actually just realized today that this month is your four-year anniversary since you joined Homelike, so I think it’s good timing. So congrats!

Sandra: Thanks. Yes, time is flying. I didn’t realize, but yes, it’s been four years already.

Valeriia: Yeah, so can you please tell me a little about yourself?

Sandra: Yes. Okay, I’ve been, like you already said, for four years already working with Homelike. My name is Sandra Deverell and I’m currently in the position of Market Manager for Spain. I have focused in general on Spain, in Homelike opening up the market in 2019 and then working with the headquarters a bit more. And now I’m back in the Spanish market. We have a team of key account managers here and work closely with the Spanish booking team and customer care team

Valeriia: Perfect. Thanks so much. So what I want to talk about today is actually the company values that we like to call Homelike working principles. So they were established in September 2022. A few months have passed, so now it’s about time that we talk about the journey behind their creation and since you were a huge part of it, you can maybe share your experience of the process and perhaps some details on the approach that we use to shape these principles.

Sandra: Yeah, so we have started by basically having two inputs, right? So we had the leadership team who had a very broad idea of the working principles and what they should be like or what they should contain and then we did a separate session with volunteers including myself, of about 10 to 12 people, who were interested in further forming the working principles in more depth. So we took the leadership basics that we already had and worked around them, kind of figured out if there’s anything missing, and compared to our own impression of Homelike and yeah what Homelike stands for those individuals and how we could put this better into words to make these values, Homelike principles, working principles that we have.

So, yeah, we started then collecting information. We’ve done it with like a blackboard and some notes. Everything is remote as we do nowadays, but it worked quite well. So everybody put thoughts on paper, we started categorizing and forming different areas and then came up with four or five areas that were more related. And we talked about how then how these areas could be called and what kind of heading we could give them, or what kind of important phrase this area could stand for or could be put into, so we better understand what is meant by it. And we then spread out into groups. We formed groups of three to four people and worked on those topics separately and then came back to the group and presented the outcomes. So, for example, one group worked more, let’s say around the first working principles we have around being a team and boosting contribution through collaboration. So, people tried to connect the keywords that were standing for this principle and discuss which wording should be used to best express it, in the most efficient and the shortest way possible.

Then we kind of formed these important sentences to us and yeah and kind of kept working in smaller or bigger groups to get some end result.

Valeriia: Amazing. I’m not sure if you remember all the working principles now, but what behavior stands behind each working principle? What would you highlight?

Sandra: Um, yeah, well maybe one important thing is that we had this kind of need to express the passion, let’s say the commitment we put into our work. So that work is important to us and it’s not just something to earn money with but we want to fulfill a purpose when we are at work. So, that kind of feeling is very important to us, to our employees. And so we try to put that into words and words around it, connected words. So here we use words like passionate, committed, and ambitious to express this kind of higher purpose we want to achieve with our work.

We also spoke about being a team. Contribution is very important for us. Supporting each other is very important for us. So that’s the other working principle that started forming. And one very interesting one is actually we had quite our struggles with this since it’s about learning, focus, and kind of getting to a level of excellence but through failing. So we had a few versions of the sentence β€˜we fail but we get back up again’, we’re allowed to fail, it’s important as part of the process. So we tried to put this word β€˜fail’ in like a positive way to express that it doesn’t matter if you do fail, the important thing is that you progress and that you try and that you are brave enough to put yourself out there to achieve and to get to a better place, right? So the sentence, in the end, we came up with is β€œWe fail better and learn constantly”, right? So, um, I find it quite beautiful because we had, I’d say about five, six versions of the sentence until we finally found the one that sounds sufficiently positive, but that expresses this freedom of β€˜Don’t be afraid’, β€˜it’s part of the process’, we can only learn from the mistakes we’ve made, but we can get up and we can move on from it. This was another working principle, we kind of came out with and then another area is our customers obviously.


So we want to serve our customers. It’s important for us to be a user-friendly company that represents what the customers are actually looking for. So we put that like a lot of words, keywords around that creates the working principle and lastly about the team and the feeling people have working in this company which is also something very important. I think you can only create a healthy growing work culture if you focus on your team as well, and you have a way of communicating and supporting each other that is productive. And that makes people feel integrated and valued. So yeah, that’s another aspect here. I think it is also very important. I never had a feeling anyone was less respected or less heard or has had less to say, it’s a very equal and very equal feeling within the company because it doesn’t really matter where value gets created or comes from, it’s important that it is created and that people feel respected in the same way.

Valeriia: Yeah, 100%. But I think creating the concept is one thing but then also there is implementing of the working principles. So, how do we make sure that they are actually understood and lived at Homelike? Do you maybe have a specific example from your team?

Sandra: Um, I think we can still do better to have like a stronger presence of the working principle in our daily lives. I would like to see, I would want to do something like a regular comeback to it or maybe even icebreakers in meetings we have, like internal meetings, focusing on maybe the working principles as a warm-up and as kind of getting communicative within the team, getting people speaking. Yeah, concrete examples of how we implement, it and how we live it? I think that’s a nice thing. They are lived although they are not spoken about. So there are some principles that are stronger than others.


Also depending on the teams a little bit. But within my team, we certainly show commitment and passion quite a lot. It’s also got to do with the people we select for our teams, right?


So I think the focus within Homelike always has been on selecting people who are entrepreneurs, who enjoy and thrive when they can contribute and think outside the box and create as well, so not being just kept in their little corner. That’s something I do push quite a lot within the team, for people to speak up, for everybody to have an opinion.


Another thing we focus on a lot as well is failing better but getting up and trying so it is implemented by testing out different scenarios within our markets and basically trying to understand when we get stuck or something doesn’t work the way we want and the performance goes in the direction that looks a bit difficult, and then being brave and try to implement something that might not bring good results but maybe leads us to what hopefully does bring good results but even if it doesn’t, it might lead us to better understanding what standing behind some failure or some difficulty we are confronting and then getting out better than we were standing before we tried by being brave enough to try, that’s definitely something we implement quite a bit.


And one thing that I really like is every time we open up our internal system Galadriel, which is our programmation tool we’re using more in the supply base. We have those working principles pop up on our screens and it’s a moment where people kind of wait for the system to load and you have those there. So that’s a very good starting point to become comfortable with them now and then.

Valeriia: Oh, cool, I didn’t know that. And which working principle do you personally resonate the most with?

Sandra: I think I would say β€˜We fail better and constantly learn’. We are not all the time brave to go down that road. So that’s one of the things I definitely have taken on for myself to kind of push myself more to it and not to be afraid but to be brave enough and go down that road, and see what the outcome is instead of shying away from it, because I might not know what the result is.

Valeriia: Yeah, for sure. I appreciate you taking the time today to talk about the HomelikeΒ΄s working principles but I also thank you for the incredible input during their establishment. I think it has a lot of value for all of us in the company, for the current talents but also for the future ones, especially. Thanks a lot and talk to you next time.

Sandra: Thank you, Valeriia. Bye.

Connect with Sandra.

Our Working Principles

Our working principles are more than just buzzwords – they were created by us together and are reflected in our daily work behavior and beliefs.


This is who we are and how we work!

We are passionate and commit to ambitious goals.

#purpose #passionate #accountability #commitment

We are one team and boost contribution through collaboration.

#trust #learn #support #transparency

We fail better and constantly learn.

#learn #focus #curiosity #excellence

We are customer obsessed and earn their trust.

#customerfirst #data #solutions #uservalue

We are inclusive and respect each other.

#trust #responsibility #sustainable #flexibility

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