tartups are revolutionising the way we work. They have torn down the walls of traditional companies: the 9 to 5 schedule, the hierarchy and the idea that we live to have a job. With startups, a new way of working begins, one that is tailored for the newer generations that don’t want to be boxed, and that most importantly, want to have a job that fulfills them and lets them live their life.
"The challenge here is how do you get people that work remotely or freelance, in your work culture and values."
Recently we sat down with Bárbara Alves, Office Manager at Climber to talk about how important the culture, values and perks are for a company and its employees.
1. What is Climber and how was it born?
Climber was born in 2015 with a basic prototype and in 2017 we launched the first version of the software. The goal of Climber and its software is to help revenue managers in hotels to make accurate and profitable decisions. When putting a price to a room, there’re quite a lot of aspects to take into account, some of them being: historical price, seasonality and if something is going around the area in terms of events.
Some hotels have a lot of data, but in an old – manual, way. Excel and many other files, which can stand in the way of making good decisions. Climber offers a way to centralise everything with a software that can read all the information so that we’re able to help revenue managers make good and profitable decisions.
2. So, you would say that Climber’s mission is to make things easier for revenue managers in hotels? Yes, exactly. But more importantly, to make their decisions more accurate and bring more profit for their hotel.
3. What makes Climber different from other similar companies in the market? What’s the main point that differentiates Climber from competitors.
Climber is super user friendly, everyone can use it. It’s not complicated in technical terms. For example, a hotel that has employees with limited knowledge in revenue management can also use it and take advantage of all the information so that they can benefit from it.
4. Which would you say are the perks of working al Climber?
We offer an environment that is quite flexible. We have our goals, how you get there it’s not so strict. If you need to work from home, or from a coffee shop, because you get more inspired or more creative for the challenge that you are working on, it’s fine. For us it’s super important that you can be in the best performance that you can, and that you have everything that you need to get there, even if it’s at the office or from home.
I believe that our biggest perk is that we take care of the person, not just the collaborator. For us it’s very important to consider all the sides of the life of each of our people.
5. In today's world we have WFH, remote opportunities, freelance work. How do you picture the future of companies and the way people work.
I think it’s super important that you can work in different places, but the challenge here is how do you get these people – that work remotely or freelance, in your work culture and values. The human side also comes to play. We are attached to people, we need to build connections with others. How can we address this? How can we make someone that is miles away, feel part of our team? How do we hold team buildings online?
"I believe that you can transmit the values and the culture, but it’s quite different from living them."
Finding a way to keep these two factors alive is a challenge for HR people, but I really believe that it is super important. For example, hiring remote people brings two possibilities: one, you open to new perspectives, skills and knowledge that you can’t find in your territory. But on the other hand, to find a way to have these people live your culture is a big challenge.
I think that in the future, which is near, remote work is going to grow, same with freelancers, because at the end what companies need are our skills, and there are no barriers for those to be put into action in the technological and digital world that we live in.
6. Have you found yourself in this situation?
I was Business Country Manager of Aiesec in Paraguay from 2016 to 2017. In December 2017 I had to fly back to Portugal, but I kept my position. Even though I had a very well structured team, it was a challenge for me to manage a team from the other side of the world.
When I was still in Paraguay, I always encouraged my team to be autonomous. I trained them to be able to operate as a team that was not so dependent on me. This way, when I flew back to Portugal, it was easier to manage everything. I just had to make sure everything was aligned and that I could control and track the results. We all just had to adapt. With all the platforms and tools that I had available I tried to be as present as I could. We had constant video calls and meetings because it’s important to be present, even if it’s just through a computer screen.
7. Which do you think is/are the reasons for the growing popularity of remote opportunities/freelancing?
Our generation. We are more engaged with the life purpose. Generally speaking we care more about the experience that we can have somewhere, for example a job, than for who we work for.
At 30, our parents, had to have a job, a car, a house. Us? Most of us share apartments with other people, for which we pay a monthly rent, and it’s completely fine. We use the money we make to live our life to the fullest even if that means that we don’t really own things, like a house or a car. For me, life experiences are more important, because they give me a sense of living my life.
"We use the money we make to live our life to the fullest, even if that means that we don’t really own things like a house or a car."
I think that remote jobs allow us to do this. For us now, work is not something that defines us. If I have a job that allows me to go somewhere nice and do the things that I want to do, that’s great.
At the end, a job is a way to fulfill your individuality.
8. I agree with you. I feel like our generation (and the ones to come) want to have a job to live their life and not live their lives to have a job.
Yes, completely. Some of my friends work in big companies and are involved in projects that they have no connection to. At the end of the day they are frustrated, because it’s not something that fulfills them. Remote jobs, and startups in general, want to change that, but it’s going to take a bit of time because we’re still attached and very much in contact with the previous generation, our parents’ life.
9. What is one thing that you do at Climber and that you think other companies should adapt?
Speak and take care of the people that work with you. I think that’s the most important thing in a company. Every quarter I have an individual meeting with each and every one of the people that work at Climber. It’s important for me to understand how they are doing, personally and related to the job.
We also have team building activities and monthly lunches. We are a small team, so we work a lot, but we also understand that it’s important to take some time off to be together and get to know each other better outside of the company’s walls.
10. Since you talked about team building, and Teamy is about team building activities, for you what’s the important thing about them?
I think it’s super important to have one each quarter. Sometimes work and responsibilities keep us away from sitting down with our colleagues and have a casual, non-work related chat.
This time off, through team building, is about finding how we can be more empathic with others. To know and understand why someone acts one way or another, you need to understand who they are. That’s why I am a firm believer that team buildings are very positive for companies, because it’s where you get to know the people that you work with on a more personal level.
We've done two team building activities so far, and now I'm planning the third one. For this one in particular, I have to find a way to build a more solid relationship between the Sales and Product team. It’s difficult for them to understand the roles of each other and, therefore, work together. My role here is to find a way to build a more solid bridge in terms of collaboration, because they are good in terms of working, but they also need to understand the whole picture, and work together to build it.
Photos by: Lena Aldana