Interview with Ester Pérez, People Lead at Spotahome
Ester Pérez joined Spotahome as People Lead in 2019. Since obtaining her degree in Human Resources from Madrid’s Complutense University, she has been in charge of making Spotters –the professionals who make up the company’s team– feel like a family. We have talked to her to find out why Spotahome has banked on a hybrid telework model and how to reinforce the corporate culture through various initiatives to promote cohesion, recognition and a positive social impact.
After the pandemic, many companies have had to reorganise their structure in order to adapt to the new reality. In so doing, they have found that the digital environment in which they carried out their activities has broadened considerably. Naturally, businesses which already capitalised on digital capabilities, as in the case of the model implemented by Spotahome, have found the transition much easier. Ester Pérez, the company’s People Lead, explains the details.
“Spotahome is 100% remote friendly. We had previously identified this trend; there was a huge social demand for telework,” says Ester Pérez, who supports Spotahome’s fully digital identity. This explains why so many companies –up to 56%– are aware that they have to offer hybrid work schedules, to both capture and retain talent, as reflected in a survey conducted by Poly, a company specialising in corporate telework solutions.
This is why, as the survey points out, up to 72% of businesses which have opted for a hybrid work model have seen an increase in productivity. “We attract talent and hire staff in any of the countries in which we operate and are currently exploring options to capture the best talent regardless of their location,” explains Spotahome’s People Lead, who also underscores the fact that Spotters are free to choose where to live and work. “Our team can be located anywhere and enjoy full flexibility to work wherever and however they prefer.” In addition, they also have flexibility regarding their working schedule; they can choose to start any time between 8 and 10 and also accumulate hours throughout the week in order to lighten the workload on Fridays or, as they refer to them internally, Flexi Fridays.
“At the moment we are undergoing a growth phase,” says Ester Pérez. This is backed by the numbers: Spotahome has incorporated over 50 Spotters since November. For the latest arrivals, the possibility of working 100% remotely is always on the table, as is the opportunity to attend, in person, co-working spaces in various capitals, as the company is present in Berlin, Italy, Portugal and Madrid
Talent retention is a key issue for the business
For Spotahome People Team, a scrupulous recruitment process is not worth much unless it is accompanied by similar efforts to retain the talent hired. Spotahome is perfectly aware of this, and that is why its People team engages with the staff to promote internal cohesion, both in person and remotely. Naturally, this begins during the selection process: “We highlight a cultural fit during our talent acquisition processes, in order to determine whether candidates will mesh with our culture, or not. We are extremely transparent with all our candidates and provide all the information required to ensure a win-win outcome.”
The platform believes that feedback is an essential element to reinforce that internal culture, as well as a talent retention tool. Along those lines, they carry out different actions that allow them to “take the organisation’s internal pulse” and identify any red flags to guide initiatives. “During the winter months, we started to receive feedback from people who wanted to organise more events. Not only in the corporate domain, but also social activities. Things like I would like to go for a coffee or a beer with my co-workers and get to meet people in other teams. I interact daily with some people via Slack but sometimes I don’t even know what they look like.”
This explains why the company has redoubled its focus on the idea of cohesion, more so in the case of Spotters who work remotely: “Particularly for remote workers, the second Wednesday of each month we organise an office coffee and reserve that slot so that everyone can get together, talk and meet each other,” explains Ester Pérez, who also highlights the importance of inspiring the staff through factors beyond their work responsibilities. That is why the People team implemented Spotacause, an initiative aimed at promoting different social actions every month. This idea began in January, raising awareness about animals and pets (Spotahome is a pet-friendly company), while in February they focused on homelessness, in March on women’s issues and in April on the environment.
Lastly, a company that aims to make its workers feel comfortable also needs to make them feel valuable. Spotahome understands the value of internal recognition to stimulate its Spotters and has reinforced this over the past few months. In their view, recognition is not just a simple extra or a sign of appreciation, but rather a company and team value in and of itself: “Since January, we have implemented Spotapplause, which is a top-to-bottom recognition effort. We have an open form where any employee can nominate colleagues for their positive contribution.” This initiative, in turn, has generated a wave of appreciation which is broadcast daily through the internal Thank you channel, where Spotters can express their gratitude for specific actions and support received. This underscores the importance of being thankful in any environment, and particularly in the workplace.