During 1-1’s I try and spend time asking how they are doing and what’s happening in their life outside of work. I’m genuinely interested but being remote I find you have to make time for those intentional “non-work” conversations.
I work for PerformLine, a SaaS compliance software company. I’m the VP of Marketing and my team emcompasses demand gen, customer marketing, brand and corporate communications. The company is headquartered in Morristown, NJ but we have marketing team members spread out across the eastern US. I’ve been a remote employee for 12 years now - PerformLine was ahead of its time in remote work.
Tell us about your team!
How big is it?
I have a marketing team of six people, 3 are local in Morristown and the rest of us are along the east coast.
Where are your teammates located?
We are located in North Carolina, New York, New Jersey and Florida. With travel an option again, we have been coming together as a team at HQ for a few days about every 6 weeks.
What does your team do? What are you responsible for?
Our marketing team services the entire organization: sales, client success, corporate initiatives, HR, tech and product.
What are the components of a strong remote culture?
Trust, communication and setting goals. When you have a team made up of committed, hard-working professionals, like I do, the remote culture comes easier but those three components are key.
Strong remote cultures are built on strong connections. Strong connections are built with Hailey.
How do you make sure your team is happy and engaged in their work?
Team meetings and 1-1s are crucial components but so is trust. In my view, micromanaging isn't a healthy workstyle for me or my team. We have weekly one-to-one meetings so that together we can review projects and set goals and after that I trust them to know and act on what they need to do. They know they have my support and I’m here to help or talk through challenges when needed. But during 1-1’s I also try and spend time asking how they are doing and what’s happening in their life outside of work. I’m genuinely interested but being remote I find you have to make time for those intentional “non-work” conversations.
In my view, micromanaging isn't a healthy workstyle for me or my team. We have weekly one-to-one meetings so that together we can review projects and set goals and after that I trust them to know and act on what they need to do. They know they have my support and I’m here to help or talk through challenges when needed.
What's your biggest challenge as a remote leader?
Making sure that we stay connected and those quick conversations to get a quick answer (the ones that used to happen when you walked by someone's desk) can still happen. We use Slack to get those quick answers - but also for the fun conversations that can also get lost working remotely.
My Remote Manager Toolbox
We’ve hosted a team Coffee Talk every Friday morning since the pandemic started. It's a time when we talk about anything but work…the kind of conversations that used to happen in the office when you first walked in on a Monday morning. What did you do this weekend, what shows are you watching...those kinds of conversations that build community and a shared sense of interest. We’ve also done in person events like glass blowing and virtual events like an Airbnb experience where we made artwork with an artist in Spain.
We all love a good Wordle!
We have, but we don’t use them too often on our small team but “three truths and a lie” is always a fun one. Recently we’ve just been having open brainstorming sessions. Someone from the team comes with a project they need a little help on - creative ideas, fresh approaches. It's been really fun being creative in a group setting, something that can get lost if everything is transactional as it can sometimes be in a virtual workspace.
Products & Tools
We use platforms like Slack and Lattice to communicate and measure morale. In Slack employees have created lots of interest channels for those interested in cooking, fitness, or DEI for example. We host company wide All Hands two times a month but our HR department is really good about hosting virtual and in-person events like movie nights and team outings.
Resources for remote leaders
I like the Women in Innovation Win/Win podcast, First Round Review and Harvard Business Review are good go-tos!
Make your company a great place to work
"Adding Hailey has been by far the lowest effort, highest impact thing we’ve done to bring our globally scattered team together!" - Mary Grace Reich