I work at Replicated, a platform built to modernize the delivery and management of enterprise software. I currently serve as the Director of Content in the marketing department, and I oversee all content that Replicated creates, from brand and awareness to technical content.
How big is it?
My marketing team is made up of 17 positions. I have two direct reports on my personal team, both content managers. One that manages sales and customer content, and one that manages technical, developer-focused content.
Where are your teammates located?
We are everywhere now! I’m from the Berkeley/Oakland area in the Bay Area, and my team is from California and New Jersey. Our larger marketing team hails from California, Texas, Ohio, Massachusetts, Washington, New York, Georgia, and even Israel.
What does your team do? What are you responsible for?
My team is responsible for managing and producing all of the content that is released under the Replicated brand. From articles and blog posts to white papers, webinars, and developer-focused tutorials, we oversee it all.
We also run two popular podcasts, The EnterpriseReady Podcast and The Kubelist Podcast, both run by our founders here at Replicated. I also coordinate our PR/AR (Public Relations/Analyst Relations) content with our PR team.
Finally, I get to do fun stuff like this. I didn’t foresee my tech career leading to IT-based rap parodies, but life is strange sometimes.
A lot of what you miss out on with a remote workplace is the small moments outside of “doing your job.” Often the bonds and friendships that really strengthen a team are created through time in the lunchroom or taking a walk to get coffee. Ensuring that team members still have these opportunities in a remote workplace is key to building those relationships.
That said, those take a concerted effort in a remote environment. I’d say that constant communication, an open and empathetic attitude, and a collaborative environment are all keys to making sure that remote teams flourish. When we aren’t physically in the same place, it’s easy to “exist on an island,” which leads to projects and deadlines being hard to track and manage.
Strong remote culture is an organic concept, in that it isn’t achieved and then forgotten about. It has to be worked towards and then nurtured once achieved in order to continue.
Strong remote cultures are built on strong connections.
Strong connections are built with Hailey.
Communication is key. One of my personal tactics is to ensure that I have at least 30 minutes of 1:1 time with my direct reports where we don’t discuss work. I want to know what’s going on outside of work with my team. Is there something that’s troubling them? Are they excited about an upcoming event in their lives?
These meetings not only allow me to get to know them as a person better, but they also help me to understand what’s happening in their lives that may have a direct impact on their work. I want these conversations to be a safe space for them, and I want them to know they can trust me. That allows me to manage them better because I know what’s happening in their lives outside of what projects they are currently working on.
I also want to be fully transparent with them about my own challenges and successes in my personal life. They should have the same window into my life outside of a Zoom meeting that I have into theirs.
One of my personal tactics is to ensure that I have at least 30 minutes of 1:1 time with my direct reports where we don’t discuss work.
Probably not being able to have that human connection in person. I do as much as I can to foster a sense of community and camaraderie with my team remotely, but there is a difference in the relationship, no matter how healthy a remote culture is.
We see this when we have live events and team offsites and get the opportunity to see each other in person. A hug, or a high five, or a conversation over a table is something that is hard to replicate (pardon the pun), and despite feeling like we have a fantastic remote culture here at Replicated, it is a challenge.
In-person offsites! With COVID, it’s been a challenge, but if your company can afford it, fly each other out to meet in person. It does wonders for team bonding!
On our weekly content syncs, I start out with an icebreaker question. Generally, it’s just something mundane to let people tell a fun story. Something like, “What’s your favorite desert island book?” or “What movie did you want to watch as a kid but you weren’t old enough to see it yet?”
They’re not always amazing, but they let people take a second to think and allow the team to get to know them better.
I currently use Range as a meeting hub for our content meetings. It’s a great platform to add different sections to a meeting and address culture and morale. I can gauge how everyone is feeling for the week and ask icebreaker questions.
I’ve recently been attending a set of training classes from LifeLab about being an effective leader. They’ve helped me immensely, and I can’t recommend them enough.
I think sometimes we let pride get in the way of our growth as managers, and being able to understand that growing as a leader is a natural part of your career is key. No one steps into a leadership role knowing absolutely everything and being able to assess your strengths and weaknesses is pivotal to being the best, supportive leader you can be.
At the end of the day, I want my team to succeed, but I also want to ensure that I provide an empathetic and kind environment for my direct reports so that they can grow into their own respective careers.
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