Our core values in practice: how we raise the bar by learning and growing

One thing we really strive to do at FindHotel is raise the bar in every possible way we can. This is one of the values that stand at the core of our organisation and it is a driver of motivation for each and every one of us.

We strongly believe in our own personal development, in taking an active role in self-improvement and we are continuously in search of ways to grow, to learn more, to push ourselves out of our comfort zone and eventually better contribute to our goals. We thrive to keep building a culture of continuous learning and improvement and we’re actively seeking to create opportunities for our people to progress in their role and career.

It all started with the Learning and Development budget

Talk to anyone in the team and you will see that company-wide our ambition is for absolutely each and every one of our team members to succeed. Back in 2017, we sought a way to help them in this process and this is how the Learning and Development budget was created. With this we hoped to encourage and empower our employees to pursue the learning of a new skill or the improvement of an existing one. While many companies choose to provide access to their employees to one and the same learning platform for everyone, we decided to give the freedom to choose the type and format of learning activity that better fits their learning style and goals.

How much can a team member spend on L&D?

We offer each employee 1000EUR per year from their first employment contract to invest in any learning activity of their choice to help them get more knowledge and in general build a strong base for them to excel in their role at FindHotel. Whether a colleague is located in the Netherlands or in any other part of the world, he/she/they has easy access to the budget and can use it freely for whichever activity he/she/they finds valuable for their growth.

Learning and development can take on various forms: from the traditional learning by the book, to workshops, classes, conferences, training, or many other things. We believe that we should stay curious and always in search of the best ideas and practices. We also encourage our team members to participate in conferences, enrol in training programs or even start a mentorship program; anything that would create an opportunity for them not only to learn new information but also exchange experience with other professionals and expand their network.

What did learning and development mean in the past 2 years?

Our people used the L&D budget in so many different ways. To share a few examples of team members who used this benefit, we looked at the previous 2 years. In 2019, before the pandemic, many of our employees participated in local and/or international events such as conferences, workshops, summits while in 2020, the preference was for online webinars, books and online courses.

We came up with a list of our people’s favorite learning events/conferences:

Sonam at the European Women in Technology 2019

Besides these, some of our team members also used their L&D to purchase online courses on Udemy and obtain different certifications on xebia.com

We asked a few team members what motivated them to invest their L&D budget the way they did and here’s what they told us:

Dario in his home office 

Dario - I’ve chosen Udemy  because I’ve been using the platform to learn new things ever since I started programming, I have an extensive library of courses there that I’ve gathered over the years and another nice thing is that they disclose who is the instructor of the course beforehand, and after finishing a few courses, I know which instructors work for me and which don’t, so that allows me to know how the course is going to be structured before starting it. I also appreciate  having the benefit of a video course that I can do it on my own pace when I have the time!

Gabriel - I choose to invest a part of my L&D budget in a subscription on egghead.io because there are several advanced workshops on a few topics I’d like to learn more about (such as GraphQL, React Concurrent mode, etc). I like that the courses don’t start from scratch, instead they will just show a specific topic. I’m not interested in a course that teaches React from beginner to advanced levels, I just want to learn about a specific thing.

Luis - Gitnation is probably one of the best in organising events after the shift from real life events to remote. React Summit was organised by them as well. The conferences they promote are meaningful and with really good content and this is why I decided it was a good choice for me.

Augusto -  Why have I chosen the PSPO-A course? Because it prepared me for the advanced PSPO II certification of the Scrum.org (one of the best that I know), which was mostly focused on training experienced PO’s to move froward from just working with a Scrum Team to collaborate with the entire organisation and maximize your impact/contribution and influence. Having a PO certification is a valuable asset as well. I have chosen Xebia.com because I found Xebia’s trainers approach to the product role and the framework of the stances of a PO that they use to teach super interesting (here's a cool article about it).

Internal Learning Initiatives

Let’s start by mentioning that we actively and continuously share any activity that we think any of the team members could benefit from. It goes without saying that in a culture of continuous growth such as ours, each and every one of us strives not only to improve themselves but to also push our peers to learn and develop skills and improve their knowledge . With this purpose in mind, back in September 2015 we created the #cmp-knowledge-sharing channel where we share everything from events/conferences/webinars/workshops to interesting researches/articles/ resources/presentations.

We also have a company library with books (hardcover, digital, audio) as well as podcasts on different topics, where you can find titles like:

  • The Art of Profitability by Adrian Slywotzky
  • Adopting Elixir by Ben Marx, José Valim, Bruce Tate
  • How Google Works by Eric Schmidt and Jonathan Rosenberg
  • Designing with Data: Improving the User Experience with A/B Testing  by Rochelle King
  • Effective DevOps: Building a Culture of Collaboration, Affinity, and Tooling at Scale by Jennifer Davis, Katherine Daniels
  • Storytelling with Data: A Data Visualization Guide for Business Professionals by Cole Nussbaumer Knaflic and many others.

Over the years we’ve also organized internal knowledge sharing sessions where team members have presented an interesting topic that might benefit more of us, especially cross-teams. We all understand that information is power and we believe that by sharing knowledge across the organisation, we empower our people.

In 2020 we also became a subscriber on PhocusWright’s research library, which means that anyone at the organisation can dive into travel related research notes & market sizing. This was and still is one big knowledge sharing opportunity with great impact.

Development goes hand in hand with growth

When we think of development, we also think of growth. How else can we support our people if not by giving them all the tools they need to get better at what they’re doing and by creating the opportunities for them to grow in their careers? This is the case for several colleagues who have started in a role and in time have grown within the company. It’s worth mentioning a few names here:

  • Victor joined FindHotel as Senior Data Engineer and has grown into a few roles to get to his current position of Engineering Lead and has shared his story in a blog post
  • Joao started as Search Marketing Specialist and went through being an online Marketeer, then Head of Performance Marketing just to join the Partnerships team this year.
  • Pedro joined us as Mid-level Backend Developer, is now an Engineering Lead who has had the chance to learn and experience working with different tools and technologies along the way.
  • Kostia joined us as a Marketing Analyst and was quickly promoted into a Marketing Lead position. From there, it wasn't long before he moved up the seniority ladder again, taking on a Head of Metasearch Marketing role, then Head of Analytics, and he now heads up our entire Customer Acquisition team!

What learning and development opportunities will 2021 bring to us?

We have already started planning how to invest the L&D budget this year and so far, our people will be present at LeadDev Together 2021, Lambda Days 2021 and GitNation Conference 2021.

We will keep being an advocate of learning and development, we will keep pushing ourselves to get better at whatever it is that we choose to do and we will continue to inspire each other to learn more and to grow so that we can better contribute to our success.

If you applied for one of our vacancies and decided to join FindHotel, how would you use your Learning and Development budget? :)