Rethinking the Values that Underpin GetYourGuide's Employee Value Proposition

Maren Marcelis
Head of Talent Acquisition

Maren Marcelis, Head of Talent Acquisition, shares how the challenges and opportunities of the Covid-19 pandemic prompted a review of GetYourGuide’s core values that underscore our Employee Value Proposition.

As part of a recent overhaul of GetYourGuide’s Employee Value Proposition, more than 100 colleagues came together with the goal of pinpointing what makes us tick as a company and identifying the core values that shape and guide our culture. In the world of Talent Acquisition, communicating who we are as an employer is part of our bread and butter. But as experiences from the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic taught us, it’s not just future hires who benefit from understanding who we are and how we think; it’s current colleagues too.


What is an Employee Value Proposition?

An Employee Value Proposition – also known as an EVP – is the total set of benefits that a company offers to existing and future employees. It includes tangible benefits like compensation and perks, as well as experiential benefits like career development and working culture.

A first step in understanding the direction of our EVP was to review our values. These are the essential qualities that we believe underpin the strong company culture that has steered GetYourGuide since its inception in 2009. More than that, our core values inform the decisions we make as a company to support each other. When we need guidance around an initiative or strategy, these values give us direction. For this reason, the outcome of our workshops, surveys, and countless hours of discussion were going to have an impact on future colleagues, and to an even greater extent, our existing 700-strong global team. After all, we know that a values-driven culture helps to nurture a sense of belonging and solidarity among colleagues.  

Why the Time is Right for an EVP Overhaul

The pandemic brought about precisely the need for guidance, direction, and alignment that core values present. Covid-19 continues to spark shifts in what people look for in their current or next employer. Candidates have become more conscious of opportunities and risks when considering job changes. Being clear about the value GetYourGuide can bring to all aspects of life – career development in particular – is key to bringing clarity to that decision.

This driver of clarity speaks to a keystone behavior of GetYourGuide’s culture: transparency of communication. It’s something we pride ourselves on at all times, and never more so than during the first year of the pandemic.

In keeping with the transparency that has backdropped our momentum these past 13 years, here’s how the pandemic became a catalyst to take our shared understanding and language around GetYourGuide’s culture to the next level. The outcome was the redefining and realization of our core values: discovery, passion, trust, personal growth, and joy.

Communicating Challenges

At the beginning of 2020, the outlook for GetYourGuide was overwhelmingly positive. In the previous year, we’d achieved record-breaking growth, as well as our biggest ever funding round. By March, news surrounding a novel coronavirus started to dominate the headlines. Weeks later, the previously unimaginable happened: countries start closing their borders. Travel came to a grinding halt.

At GetYourGuide, we quickly shifted to home office. It was a huge change: as a company with a habit of collaborating in person across teams, we had to find new ways of working together and staying connected.  

When it became clear that the pandemic would have a serious impact for some time to come, the leadership team wasted no time in shifting gears, and pivoted to a strategy that would put the company in the best possible position to get through the coming period. Here’s where that core quality of transparency comes into play.

From the outset, the leadership team communicated clearly, honestly, and frequently. Protecting the teams was and is the top priority for the company, and employees were constantly brought along in terms of the outlook for the business and the strategic priorities. This transparency around numbers, threats, and scenarios was based on a foundation of trust: we were all in this together, and the top consideration of every decision was first and foremost the team. This was the starting point for reevaluating our EVP and core values.

Delivering Value During Uncertainty

The period that followed was one of unprecedented learning and growth.

With customer volumes down, we had time to focus on long-term strategic bets. The Tech teams developed many new features and adapted their processes in response to the changing landscape. The Sales team set up Covid-safety measures for experiences together with suppliers which would also stand the test of potential future pandemics. The Supply team designed an onboarding portal which made the sign-up process for new suppliers much smoother.

As these examples illustrate, teams actively applied curiosity and an explorative mindset to uncover how we could create value for our customers and suppliers in these new circumstances. For many of us personally, and especially for GetYourGuide as a company, the pandemic period presented a period of meaningful personal development. As a business, we seized the opportunity to ‘grow up,’ and become a serious contender for pole position in the experiences market. This chapter also made it clear we had turned a page as a team: our culture had evolved.

How We Redefined our Core Values for an Updated EVP

The pandemic brought our core values front and center. We asked ourselves: Were they still representative of what we believe we are about as a company? To truly understand this, we needed to dig deep. We wanted to ensure the values were not just corporate buzz, but reflective of who we are as a team. We also wanted to connect our consumer brand values with our internal values: after all, our mission is to give the world access to incredible experiences, and we are our own customers too.  

To create that clarity and calibration, more than 100 people were involved in workshops and panel discussions to define our new values, beliefs, and principles. The outcome was five new core values that inform and guide an EVP for our next chapter.

GetYourGuide’s culture has always been strong, and while the new values are well aligned with our reality, the language takes time to become second nature. We’re in the first year of living alongside our new values, and we link back to them regularly by giving shoutouts to teams and individuals for role modeling a particular value. We do this in global town halls and via our internal praise board. In addition, we incorporate our values and beliefs in the way we collaborate, communicate, and celebrate – our Spring company party was a great example of our values at work.

While the future holds some uncertainty, one thing is clear: at GetYourGuide the team sticks together, and the passion, motivation and curiosity of our employees put us in a unique position to succeed.

If great culture underpinned by strong values are what you look for in an employer, check out our openings here.

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