One of the benefits of hiring remote specialists or teams is access to the best employees. Some companies are already successfully embracing this approach, but some organizations are still feeling uncomfortable with this idea and don’t believe in the positive result of it. In this article, we would like to introduce a few from the many success stories in working with remote employees. The interviews in these stories are not made by us. We have gathered the information from different resources on the web (links are given) to make a descriptive overview of this topic.
Nick Mitchell, Founder and CEO of Ultimate Performance, a company that actively hires remote employees, says: “It’s easy to say you want the very best, but if you insist on people being able to commute to the office, you’re really saying that you want the best — but within 20 minutes of X. Remote working lets us throw the talent net much wider.”
Let’s look at the examples of those who have done it.
The company FlexJobs, released their annual list of the 100 Top Companies with Remote Jobs in 2019. Industries like medical and health, sales, education and training, computer and IT are all represented, with companies hiring for hundreds, if not thousands, of remote jobs every year. Among them for remote jobs names such as Amazon, Hilton, Dell, Xerox, Invision just to name a few. They’ve successfully integrated remote work within their organizations for years.
Several years ago, Dell — a privately owned global computer technology company, created its remote work program, Connected Workplace, and announced that it wanted employees to be 50% remote by 2020. At the end of FY15, approximately one in four eligible Dell team members worldwide were enrolled in flexible work programs, putting the company halfway toward its 2020 goal. Human Resources Director Mohammed Chahdi credits the flex-work program’s success in making flexible and remote work part of business strategy. In his interview for Entrepreneur, Chahdi says: “Support starts with Dell’s executive leadership team members, who work flexibly themselves. We must continually show team members that we trust them to organize their work in a way that meets both their personal and professional priorities.” The leadership’s example is instrumental in Connected Workplace’s widespread adoption within the company. Dell has been named by Covalence EthicalQuote as one of the “Most Ethical Multinational Companies in the World.”
Hotjar is a powerful tool that reveals the online behavior and voice of your users. By combining both Analysis and Feedback tools, Hotjar gives the ‘big picture’ of how to improve the site’s user experience and performance/conversion rates. Nicholas Heim — Director of Marketing at Hotjar shares their experience in an interview with Chanty team for the Growth Marketing Conference.
He mentions that one of the greatest challenges with hiring and managing the remote team is nurturing team camaraderie and culture in a fully remote atmosphere. There are dealing with it from many angles such as recruitment, a culture of trust, special projects and prizes, and meeting in person. They ensure they are bringing on board the most talented individuals who also share in their company vision and values, giving workers a high level of freedom and transparency, investing in special initiatives, and connecting peers.
His advice to SaaS companies who plan to go remote is “the process, commitment, and culture”. He says: “Build simple right-sized processes as early as possible. It’s never too early to begin creating processes, even if you’re a small team. Having basic processes for things like recruitment, company financial reporting, metrics, and KPIs, internal communications and individual performance reviews get you thinking about these things early. Start with simple processes, stick to them, and improve as you go”.
Director of Marketing at Buffer (software application for the web and mobile, designed to manage accounts in social networks) Kevan Lee has to answer the same questions. He found the most challenging to get in the habit of giving constructive feedback to teammates when you may not interact with your team in the same way or as often as you would in an office environment. The second challenge he’s felt is that he’s not able to see how other people manage and so he has to work a lot harder to improve his skills and find sources of inspiration. To improve feedback challenge they organize checkpoints where managers and teammates get together 1:1 to discuss results of the past quarter, growth opportunities, career next steps, etc. They actively use the quick medium platform (Slack) for day-to-day activities feedbacks and to connect with other managers and peers to share challenges and learn from one another.
His advice to SaaS companies who plan to go remote is to find people who are comfortable and effective working remotely: they are self-starters, highly motivated, clear communicators, and accountable for getting work done on time and at a high quality. Employees with these characteristics are quite easy to manage remotely!
The next example is Automattic company. It’s best known for giving the world the free and open-source blogging platform WordPress and for running the popular WordPress.com website.
This company is also making another significant contribution to the business world: it’s showing that hiring remote workers is a great idea. The company has about 190 employees and nearly all of them work from home. Employees are scattered across 141 cities and 28 countries, WordPress creator and Automattic co-founder Matt Mullenweg told Business Insider.
Or, to be more precise, about 10 of them choose to work regularly in the company’s gorgeous San Francisco headquarters, Mullenweg says, while a handful chooses to work in other office settings. The rest work from home.
“Rather than being anti-office, we’re more location agnostic,” Mullenweg says.
If a worker really wants an office they are free to seek one out. He notes, that any person can get a desk at a co-location space and they’ll reimburse it.
The remote approach also helps the company win the talent wars because it’s not just recruiting in tech hubs like the Valley or New York. “We have engineers all over the world. Not just other countries, but places in America that you wouldn’t normally expect” like Minneapolis, Wisconsin, Texas, he says.
But the company also has to go to extremes to help people gel as a team. So they created an awesome culture filled with company paid-for travel to exotic locations and other perks.
No one understands the benefits of investing in remote work strategies better than those who participated in OpenRec panel on distributed trends. OpenRec is an annual conference that brings together over 200 of the most forward-thinking talent leaders in the startup world. Leah Sutton, VP of Global HR at Elastic, manages a fully distributed team that spans 37 countries and brings in 40% of its hires through employee referrals.
Elastic is a fully distributed team with a few “hub” offices scattered about the globe. According to Leah, Elastic’s distributed structure happened organically. With original team members spread across Northern Europe, it made sense to invest at the outset in technology that could best connect the team and hire talent from all over the world. This process was made easier by the nature of its software. Elastic’s products are open source. “A lot of our early members were already working on the open-source projects from all over the world,” noted Leah. A recruiting process without geographic restrictions has made talent acquisition easier, but it also creates challenges that his team has to address.
Eventbrite is a U.S.-based event management and ticketing website. The service allows users to browse, create, and promote local events.
Patrick Poels — Senior Vice President of Platform at Eventbrite is a pioneer of setting up remote hubs. He has successfully opened remote offices from the Cascades down to the Andes. Patrick Poel’s and the Eventbrite team started with what he calls a bit of luck — they acquired a small but highly talented team in Mendoza, Argentina. Sure, they did their research and spent time evaluating Mendoza as a talent market, but they jumped in head first, giving the office in the land of Malbec ownership of certain projects.
This differs dramatically from Elastic’s distributed model and comes with its own set of challenges ranging from learning new languages to the travel time/budget needed to make sure that Eventbrite can create the same kind of atmosphere in the southern hemisphere as they do in the northern. Following the success of the Mendoza team, Eventbrite built another team, this time from scratch, in Nashville. This time around, the team used a sophisticated scoring model to evaluate potential markets that factored in both qualitative and quantitative data. In the end, Nashville best aligns with the company — it’s one of the most vibrant music and events cities in the world. The acquisition process is similar. “We’ve evolved in how we do things. Instead of making decisions based on what the company might have to offer, we make acquisitions based on the analysis we do of a market.”
If you’ve ever had to fill a position and found the job pool pickings to be rather slim, you’re not alone. Anthony Thomas, CEO of Sticker Mule, started hiring remote workers — and hasn’t looked back. In his interview for Remote.co he says: “Our first hire in software development was in England, and that went over incredibly well. A few months later, our customer service lead asked if he could relocate. Initially, I was concerned, but then we saw it as an opportunity to improve our processes so that we could support a remote customer service team.” He notes that sometimes his company found talent that they wanted on their team — and most weren’t local to the area. “It was usually obvious they’d make a great addition, so we didn’t stress their location. After a while, it became commonplace for our team to be remote.” In order to build the best workforce possible, it’s oftentimes a smart move to look beyond your company’s physical borders and implement flexible work policies, thereby allowing you to find (and retain) top-tier talent no matter where they’re located.
To know more about how to build the culture in Remote Teams we recommend reading this article written by Mark Bosma, VP of Sales at Toptal. He explores the cultural best practices that helped Toptal grow to hundreds of team members and nine-figure annual revenue—all in a 100% remote organization.
A 2018 UpWork report found that 59 percent of hiring managers agree that skills have become more specialized compared to three years ago. Yet these specialized employees can be hard to find if you want to hire on a short-term, part-time or contract basis. The latter has become especially popular in recent years, according to a 2018 Marist/NPR poll, which found that one in five American jobs are held by contract workers.
Remote workers for your team
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