I work at ManyChat, where I'm the Head of Content.
I run the content program which includes managing a team responsible for:
Tell us about your team!
How big is it?
We have the following on our content team
1 Technical Copywriter
1 Video Marketing Manager
1 Video Editor
2 Writing consultants
2 Editing consultants
1 Social media consultant
1 Copywriting consultant
PR team - vendor
Podcast team - vendor
SEO team - Vendor
Where are your teammates located?
We are located all over the United States and even internationally. Team members are based in California, Colorado, Texas, Arizona, Maryland, New York, Mexico, England, Australia, Moscow.
What does your team do? What are you responsible for?
The content team is responsible for creating educational content as well as organic content that engages the audience to learn and take action. We manage social, SEO, blogs, PR, copyediting, video, podcasts, and much more.
What are the components of a strong remote culture?
Communication is essential!
I tell my team to communicate to me how they are feeling, how the workload is, what blockers they are having, etc…
In addition to communication, I make sure I make myself available to my immediate team. So whenever they need to get a hold of me, I am there so I can make sure they feel heard.
It’s also important to have tools in place for easy communication and respect each other’s boundaries. So, we use Slack as our form of communication. But we ask each other to use the status of when we’re working “office is open”, in a meeting, focus hours, or not working. And, when on vacation, use a vacation status. AND to respect one another when we are in focus hours, offline or vacation. Thank goodness for Slack’s scheduling feature.
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?
I think a happy and engaged remote team starts from the top down. So, I do my best each meeting coming in with a smile and positive attitude. I do let the team know when I am a little stressed or burnt out - I’m human and I want them to feel comfortable expressing the same to me.
I also make sure we use our zoom meeting time wisely. Agendas are crucial! In every meeting for our content team, I start the meeting with 5-10 min of “coffee talk” where we just chat about whatever, then we get into the details of the agenda.
And lastly, I find it’s very important to let each report know how appreciative I am for their hard work. Letting people know how you appreciate them and thanking them goes a very long way.
I find it’s very important to let each report know how appreciative I am for their hard work.
What's your biggest challenge as a remote leader?
The biggest challenge as a remote leader is dealing with all the time zones.
Some of us have to sacrifice early mornings or late evenings. We try to find a balance between the two as well as rotate so one time zone isn’t always the early morning calls.
Other than that, I have to say my team is amazing and it’s not too challenging leading the team. I respect each individual and I think because I show my appreciation for them, in return, they show theirs by showing up when needed.
My Remote Manager Toolbox
Open office hours -- I turn on my zoom and any one can hop in at any time to work. It makes it feel like we are together in an office.
Coffee time -- we set up time to drink coffee or tea to just casually chat
Zoom pizza party
In-person team retreat -- the marketing team got together and I took the content team off for a few hours for team building and brainstorming.
I am planning a virtual bingo happy hour.
Usually it starts with “what did you do over the weekend” or “what did you do last night?”.
Sometimes I start the zoom with my dog on screen...who doesn’t love a puppy face?
Once a month I do professional development and I start the meeting off with “Name one thing you learned over the past month or find interesting.”
Products & Tools
We have a Kudos app in slack we use as a company. So, I use that from time to time.
But what I find is the best is writing a handwritten note to my reports and sending that to them. Sometimes I send little thank you gifts, like a gift card to Amazon/Starbucks. I sent one of my consultants a coffee mug with a cute pun about writing along with a thank you note for their hard work.
Resources for remote leaders
I have a mentor that I speak with regularly for leadership growth. I’m part of a women’s leadership group that also offers guidance, I’ve read a lot of books, and, of course, trials and errors.
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