A strong remote culture also incorporates ways to stay connected with one another outside of standard work conversations. I believe companies with strong and clear values are more successful with remote culture because it gives employees a foundation they can lean on when communicating with one another and their customers.
I work at Checkr. I’m a Director of Product Marketing. I run the product and customer marketing teams here at Checkr.
Tell us about your team!
How big is it?
Including me, 7 total. I am hiring ;)
Where are your teammates located?
Most are in the Bay Area, (California) and one is located in Denver, CO.
What does your team do? What are you responsible for?
We are responsible for taking our products to market which includes, building messaging, positioning, and enabling our field teams to easily articulate the value of our products. Additionally, we are responsible for keeping a finger on the pulse of our customers and the market to inform how we can market to them effectively.
What are the components of a strong remote culture?
Flexibility is key. Having the understanding and empathy in knowing that not everyone will be available at the same time. Especially during the pandemic as we are juggling so much outside of work including things like caring for family members or our children. Or dealing with the feelings of stress involved in things that are outside of our control.
A strong remote culture also incorporates ways to stay connected with one another outside of standard work conversations. Every team and company is different, but what are ways we can connect with each other on a more personal level? I also believe companies with strong and clear values are more successful with remote culture because it gives employees a foundation they can lean on when communicating with one another and their customers.
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?
Having a clear operating cadence is very important so that your team knows how best to communicate with you and vice versa. Having clear goals on a quarterly basis that tie to overall departmental or company objectives is very important so your employees know that the work they are doing is meaningful and contributes to the success of the company.
Ensuring you are setting aside time to check in on your employees outside of tactical work conversations is also very important.
I make sure I am checking in more regularly on my team’s mental health and taking action as needed to support them. In a virtual world it’s so easy to get caught up in a cycle of transactional work discussions because we don’t think about setting time aside to chat about how we are doing outside of work.
What's your biggest challenge as a remote leader?
It’s been especially challenging to really understand how people are feeling and their mental health without having the benefit of being able to easily read body language. When we were fully in the office I definitely took for granted that I’d be able to read people’s moods and understand their mindset without necessarily having to ask. Now I find that I need to make sure I am checking in more regularly on my team’s mental health and taking action as needed to support them. In a virtual world it’s so easy to get caught up in a cycle of transactional work discussions because we don’t think about setting time aside to chat about how we are doing outside of work. When in the office, these discussions often just happened naturally.
My Remote Manager Toolbox
We have done virtual happy hours and team lunches (typically monthly). We’ve also done one in-person team lunch and dinner. Our company does a good job of facilitating various employee resource groups and virtual connection events.
Our company has a monthly trivia game that’s been very popular. One thing my team and I do is we’ve all taken the Harry Potter house sorting quiz to see what house we are each in. Every new member of my team has to take the quiz and it gives us all a little insight into one another’s personality.
In larger virtual meetings and “offsites”, we’ve also incorporated a lot of quizzes using the Kahoots app to break up the monotony of virtual presentations.
Yes, I’ve definitely started meetings with icebreakers. We’ve found good icebreaker apps that allow us to randomly select questions and have everyone answer them. It’s a great way to build connection and insight into one another’s personalities outside of work. One that generated a lot of discussion was ‘what is your favorite smell’?
Products & Tools
As a company we have a lot of tools we use including Slack, Bonusly and Kahoots. Outside of technology, I think it’s really important to set aside time each month at least to offer ways that employees can connect with one another on a more personal level.
Resources for remote leaders
I’m more of a book reader and love to read leadership books on any topic. One of my favorites is “The Genius” about Bill Walsh, the legendary 49ers football coach. The other thing I recommend is looking for opportunities to network with your peers as you can get great insights into how to solve challenges you are facing from an outsider's perspective
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"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