HotelTonight CEO Sam Shank discusses how he measures engagement and company culture.
(gentle music) - To see how the culture is doing, and we take culture very seriously at HotelTonight, but we look at a couple things. We look at attrition, which is a important measure of how people are enjoying the company. And if attrition is high, then there is something that we need to address. And then the other is, we do a monthly poll survey. So we use a survey tool, it's five questions and we establish a base line and then look from that point every month to see what's changed. And then we measure engagement in that survey. One of the hard things about changing company culture is that it's not an overnight fix. Very rarely do we have something that we can address right away. It might be some transparency, additional transparency, about a number or a question that somebody has, but for the most part, it's things like manager training, and investing in manager training, which we're doing right now, which addresses some of the questions that people had. Or it's building programs that help people get more experience in different areas. All of that takes time, but it's important to communicate to the team what we're doing and then also set expectations for the timing in which it'll change. I think company culture is incredibly hard to reset and once it has incredible inertia, and we spend a lot of time early on establishing what our culture would be, what the norms would be, what was acceptable and what was not acceptable, and then we established our values, which was three words, build, question and respect. So we build great things by questioning conventional approaches, and respecting the people we interact with, including each other. And just having that early on, that was when we were about 10 people, we established that, and by having that early on, it's really allowed us to maintain consistency even as the company and our mission and just the scope of what we've done has grown tremendously. One of the things that we do a lot more now, and we could have done more in the past, was to listen to our employees. They're essentially customers of HotelTonight. They're there for an experience, they're there to learn, they're there to get something out of their experience of HotelTonight, too, and we want to make sure that their customer satisfaction is just as good as the customers that come and book hotels. Listening to them, finding out what could be better for them, and then what is actually feasible. A lot of people are ambitious at HotelTonight. Not everybody can be promoted, even though everyone wants to be promoted, so setting expectations about that, but then also saying, what is the criteria for how we're going to determine who gets promoted and when are we going to be making those changes. That was really important as well.