Replicating the unique in-person chemistry (and the creativity it unleashes) is a challenge I’m always trying to solve because something special happens when people get together in person, talk informally, and exciting ideas come to light.
Vivun, Vice President of Marketing. I manage a 6 (soon-to-be-10 person) remote team running demand generation, product marketing, content, digital, and field.
Tell us about your team!
How big is it?
6 right now with 4 open hires.
Where are your teammates located?
Many are in the San Francisco Bay Area, but we also have team members in Colorado, Utah, and Oregon. One of our open headcounts will be in Europe.
What does your team do? What are you responsible for?
We have three people in demand generation (campaigns, operations, digital), two in product marketing (messaging, sales enablement, and evangelism), and one creating content. The open head in Europe will be a generalist marketing director, and we’re hiring three field marketers over the course of the year as well.
What are the components of a strong remote culture?
Clear values and company/team objectives
A company culture that supports remote work and knows how to help hiring managers keep their teams engaged and focused.
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?
Frequent check-ins, tracking not just progress to goals but also individual career goals – is the work offered by the company meeting their own expectations for growth and development? Are they not just “making numbers” but getting better as professionals? And are we telling the story of the company correctly so they feel like they’re part of a larger mission, a larger purpose, a fast-growing business? These are key things for keeping energy high in a distributed environment.
We aim to track not just progress but also individual career goals -- is the work offered by the company meeting their own expectations for growth and development?
What's your biggest challenge as a remote leader?
Something special happens when people get together in person, talk informally, and exciting ideas come to light. How do you capture that lightning in the bottle when interactions tend to be regularly scheduled 1:1 calls or Slack meetings? Is it when people start talking on their own, and you realize that important concepts are starting to formulate – do you immediately pull a Slack huddle together and try to make those concepts take shape? Replicating that unique in-person chemistry (and the creativity it unleashes) is a challenge I’m always trying to solve.
My Remote Manager Toolbox
Vivun is a 100% remote company that truly understands the challenges that team managers face. Therefore it facilitates in-person retreats, such as a company kick off we recently enjoyed in Chamonix, France. 100+ employees of the company came together and planned for the upcoming year, ate incredible food, and in my case, did a lot of downhill skiing. It was the first time I had met some of my own team members in person, and it was incredible.
We do random Donut meetings throughout the company and also have company huddles where we do everything from trivia games to song playlist exercises. Our corporate HR team does a phenomenal job running these.
All marketing meetings start with an icebreaker. I think my favorite question was one of the first ones we did,, which was trying to guess what height we were. We had very different perceptions of our actual heights based on the way we present ourselves virtually.
Products & Tools
Virtual games such as escape rooms or You Don’t Know Jack, occasional direct mail sends like chocolate (spearheaded by our incredible demand generation leader, who is the team culture hero). I’ve been experimenting with apps such as mmhmm for more interesting, engaging presentations and meetings.
Resources for remote leaders
I like to read books on leadership to give myself another perspective and ensure that I’m exposed to new ideas. I just finished Amp it Up by Snowflake CEO Frank Slootman.
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