I’m the Director of Talent Acquisition at Help Scout! I own our hiring, recruiting, and employer branding efforts and manage an amazing recruiting team of three. I also dabble with some of our remote culture building efforts!
Tell us about your team!
How big is it?
3 recruiters -- Mary, Will, and Heather!
Where are your teammates located?
The Talent Acquisition team is spread between Atlanta, Boston, and Charlotte but Help Scout has folks all over the US, Europe, Canada, and Australia.
What does your team do? What are you responsible for?
Our team is responsible for finding, attracting, and hiring great talent. Our recruiters are like trusted advisors to our hiring managers, and partner with them to ensure an outstanding candidate experience along the way. We want candidates who didn’t get offers to still recommend applying to Help Scout to their friends because they had such a fair, enjoyable process.
What are the components of a strong remote culture?
In my opinion, a strong remote culture must really lean into transparency, clarity, and ritual. Since there’s no centralized physical space where folks can organically pick up on information, remote companies must have some kind of company wiki or hub where all important things are documented and shared openly. At Help Scout, we use Slab!
It’s also important to have a regular cadence for Town Hall Zoom meetings where leaders can regularly share business updates, allowing everyone to feel in the loop and clear about goals. As Brené Brown says, “clear is kind” and so keeping your remote team on the same page goes a long way to build a strong culture and an engaged team.
And lastly, humans love having things to look forward to that feel special, and this is even more important in a remote setting where there isn’t an office for spontaneous fun. For example, at Help Scout, every Monday morning I create the “Monday Video” which announces new people starting, birthdays, anniversaries, and other important company news in a fun, engaging way, and it makes working at Help Scout feel unique.
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?
To get a sense of whether your team is happy and engaged, it’s essential to ask them! Twice a year at Help Scout we run an engagement survey through CultureAmp to measure how the team is feeling and to identify areas that need attention and improvement.
To keep our teammates happy and engaged, we make sure we are thoughtful about all parts of the employee lifecycle -- this looks like great onboarding, creating psychological safety on teams, defining pathways for advancement, offering inclusive benefits, and providing an opportunity to work with great people to make an impact.
As Brené Brown says, “clear is kind” and so keeping your remote team on the same page goes a long way to build a strong culture and an engaged team.
What's your biggest challenge as a remote leader?
Living through a global pandemic continues to be a challenge, especially since it makes it much harder for our remote team to come together for our company retreats. We used to retreat twice a year but have taken a break since March 2020.
It’s also a bit harder to have your finger on the pulse of how your team feels unless you are paying attention and being very intentional. It’s important to check in and have regular 1:1s with direct reports so that you can continue to build rapport and trust, so that in case someone does start to feel isolated or performance falls off, you have a solid relationship to help get them back on track and feeling engaged again.
My Remote Manager Toolbox
Virtual retreats, goat2meeting, virtual wine tasting, and this November we’ll be resuming our in person company retreat in Park City, Utah! So pumped!
We’ve had teams do virtual escape rooms that sounded fun as well as playing the game Werewolf over Zoom.
Sometimes we start a team meeting where I will share my screen with the following image and then everyone takes turns sharing which Beyoncé they identify with and why:
Sometimes we’ll also find a GIF that represents how we’re feeling that day and take turns sharing our screen on Zoom which always turns out to be a fun way to express yourself.
Products & Tools
We use Donut in our Slack in order to pair everyone up every month for what we call a Fika! A Fika is a Swedish word that means to take a social break, usually with coffee and a pastry. To us, it means scheduling a casual Zoom chat with whomever Donut paired you up with and getting to know someone on the team.
We’ve also created our own trivia games and use Kahoot to make it a fun interactive experience over Zoom.