Employee Engagement is the Secret Ingredient Behind the Phenomenal Success of Airbnb

‘Correlation Does Not Imply Causation’


Airbnb Workplace Culture, Image Credit: Airbnb Blog

It’s a fable as ancient as time. It also turns out to be everyone’s all time favorite aphorisms. The phrase also serves as an alarm to be skeptical of superficially casual occurrences before proving them to genuinely be so. Sounds fair enough, but is it always the smartest route to thrive? The evident success record of Airbnb may answer the question.

For instance, an Airbnb employee serving as the Head of Communications in Sydney took some time out of his/her busy schedule over the coffee break to express personal views on Glassdoor about company’s culture.

The employee wrote, “The single best job I’ve had in my career – incredibly inspiring work, fabulous workplace.

The anonymous employee further added that the Airbnb workplace culture is inspiring, fast paced, well-paid, highly productive, and much more.

Relies Solely on Perks?

Airbnb Workplace Culture

Airbnb Workplace Culture, Image Credit: Airbnb Blog

The hefty terms, such as workplace success may reflect the pictures of tech companies located in Bay Area with office refrigerators stocked with plenty of food supplies along with craft beers, sleeping area, and open workspaces. In order to last in the heavy battle, companies have discovered that ensuring the grass is greener on their fence’s side is paramount and often it means comprising a few outrageous perks. But as it calls out, the success factors of a company goes way beyond these perks, which keep employees content. The actual factors defining the success factors of an organization are chances of employee growth, excellent workplace relationships, authenticity among employee as well as clients, fair amount of compensation, and various other efficient growth strategies.

Founded in 2008, Airbnb is a name synonymous with ‘COMFORT’. The company now includes over 1M room space available in apartments, condos, houses, and even luxurious castles. The amount of Airbnb lodgings absolutely surpasses the counts of luxury hotel giants such as Marriott International, Shangri-La, Hilton Worldwide, or any other giant hotel chain on earth. Airbnb has completely transformed people’s lives for the best, in a manner hospitality leaders have been aiming to do for a long while. What makes the success so noteworthy for Airbnb is that it has moved beyond the boundary of traditional disruptive business to combating deep-rooted business interests.

Landing at Stranger’s Place Suddenly Looks ‘Cool and Comfy’

Let’s admit the fact that the concept behind the structure of Airbnb felt a little creepy at the beginning. Primarily, when we heard about individuals renting room spaces in one another’s residential space over the internet, with just a polite email exchange to take the plunge, we considered it as a crazy idea. After all, participating in the so-called ‘Economy of Sharing’ by pressing few buttons on your smartphone and notice a sleek Uber car roll up in front of you is one thing. But, to show up at some stranger’s place and nestle in for some days, or hand over your house’s keys to some random guy you’ve just come across on the internet is an entirely different universe. Yet, the Airbnb founders Brian Chesky, Joe Gebbia, and Nathan Blecharczyk have convinced numerous strangers to play on their fingers by taking the creepy way. Seven years ago, they were merely three guys with three mattresses, a website, and ambitions, which many individuals regarded as reckless, silly, and naïve. Since then, the founders have revolutionized people’s perception about traveling, displaced the established players of the hospitality industry, and generated revenues in billions for themselves and hosts.

Ridiculously Simple to Shack up with Strangers


Airbnb, Image Credit: Airbnb Blog

The rise of sharing economy is the reason behind massive success and popularity of sharing economy. Airbnb itself is a giant leap for the movement of collaboration consumption, which lies in its nascent stages and has strong potential to transform itself in an economic and cultural catalyst for comprehensive alterations in the ways in which we perform business and live.

The success of Airbnb is a great sign. First of all, it’s highly comforting to read several pages of reviews about great user experiences. On the whole, it looks like strangers tend to behave very well on the internet (that’s shocking, but it’s true!).

A few years ago, ‘I met this guy online, and I’m planning to stay overnight at his place’ used to project a scary vibe, but now the scenario has transformed altogether for good. Now it’s like, ‘Hey, I’m planning to stay with this guy temporarily who has a spare room, which is quite great with a gorgeous New York skyline view, the address is registered and reviews consist of 180 five stars. Isn’t it great?

Apart from the factor of ‘POSITIVE VIBES’, the consistent success of Airbnb is a clear evidence that the concept of collaborative consumption isn’t merely something, which individuals consider when the options for motels or hotels are all booked, nor is the basic reason to simply save a few bucks when the economy is low. Surely, the majority of individuals tap into services provided by Airbnb in order to find a good space for accommodation at comparatively cheaper cost, but there are many individuals who browse through official Airbnb site in order to figure out places, which cost around thousands of dollar per night.

If Airbnb was just driven by a catalyst to a poor economy, markets are stable now and rates of unemployment are going down, one would certainly expect the business of Airbnb to take a downward turn, or taper a little at least. But instead, the business is expanding rapidly into a giant service. A diverse mass of individuals, which span the entire class from rich to poor have certainly found pleasing value in their experience at Airbnb- a value, which expands beyond monetary incentives.

Conjugated with the phenomenon that the services of Airbnb are stretched through multiple continents, it looks like the Airbnb service has tapped into something beyond pragmatic solution for individuals with spare rooms and travelers. It is way beyond simple collaborative consumption; it is a culture of collaboration. This cross-culture is also among the main reasons behind the immense success of the company.

Employee Engagement is the Key

Employee Engagement

Airbnb Employee Engagement, Image Credit: Airbnb Blog

Another such employee serving in Airbnb San Francisco division has mentioned Airbnb as, “Amazing place to work,Further the employee has added, “Incredibly mission-driven company with limitless energy from its employees. Fast moving, agile and still tons of potential. I love that so much attention is paid to our Core Values.”

Airbnb strives to create unforgettable experiences in many ways for their employees. The company provides the latest technology, satisfying and healthy food, inspiring culture, and ensures that the workspace is set-up in a way to optimize and enhance employee satisfaction. Undoubtedly, Airbnb is performing a commendable task in driving happiness and health of its company and you can clearly notice employees enjoying the culture.

Believe it or not, ultimate customer and employee experience are the two most powerful factors behind the success of Airbnb. Also, employee engagement and customer experience go hand in hand, and Airbnb is perfectly aware of this fact as they use it as their key growth strategy. If you have satisfied and happy employees they will put their best foot forward and try to make their customers satisfied and happy as well. Employee engagement boosts the ratio of performance in numerous key areas. Everything from customer satisfaction to productivity to product quality is enhanced when companies centralize on addressing their staff’s needs.

Certainly, the additional perks like open floor office plan create an amiable culture for its potential job candidates and employees. According to many working at an Airbnb office feels like working from home.

Global Head of Employee Experience at Airbnb, Mark Levy, quotes, “At Airbnb we are focused on bringing to life our mission of creating a world where you can belong anywhere, by creating memorable workplace experiences which span all aspects of how we relate to employees, including how we recruit them, develop them, the work environment we create with them, the type of volunteer experiences we offer them, and the food we share together.

As they say, ‘Action Speaks Louder than Words’, one can easily browse through Glassdoor and inspect the reviews given by Airbnb employees for their company.

“One of the most collaborative, innovative, and exciting places to work!” one writes while other concludes, “It’s True, Airbnb is the Best Place to Work.

The list simply goes on and on. The company wisely utilizes its fabulous employee ratings and reviews to consistently enhance their human resource management and recruiting process to be more accustomed to fresh cordial attitudes. The company constantly applies great efforts to hold a warm and friendly personality among employees and customers, and of course, it pays off in the form of tremendous success.

With regard to the successful business model of Airbnb, the company takes a ten percent of commission in the cost of booking, which means that ninety percent of the money directly goes to ‘normal’ people or ‘host’ in this matter. After all, the economy of ‘Click Down’ is certainly better than the theory of ‘Trickle Down’.

The United States of America has repeatedly drawn itself into a pool full of heavy criticism from all over for its greedy corporate business and overly capitalistic culture, but now the trend has reversed and it looks like the crowd-sourcing betapreneurs and entrepreneurs like Airbnb have discovered a medium to keep everyone happy.

Core Values and Positivity is All it Takes

Every business arrives with its extraordinary culture that describes the core values of an organization and establishes a bundle of unofficial criterions for employees to follow. Apparently, it helps in determining the discretionary conduct which is suitable, as those who conform to these criterions will feel more convenient in the work culture while those who do not comply may choose to look for employment somewhere else.

A company may have a fabulous service or product, but a business may falter if the work environment and employee engagement practices are negative. Most importantly, one must be positive and happy, and present themselves as such, if the aim is to drive the company towards success. Airbnb is a great example of a business cradling in the lap of success due to its most crucial factor, which is the employees.

Creating a successful workplace culture surrounded by positivity and authenticity is rather simple and comes at a very little cost, which is hard work, dedication, engagement, and happiness.

Diana Coker
Diana Coker is a staff writer at The HR Digest, based in New York. She also reports for brands like Technowize. Diana covers HR news, corporate culture, employee benefits, compensation, and leadership. She loves writing HR success stories of individuals who inspire the world. She’s keen on political science and entertains her readers by covering usual workplace tactics.

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