I’m the Recruiting Manager at Customer.io, an automated messaging platform for tech-savvy marketers who want more control and flexibility to craft and send data-driven emails, push notifications, and SMS messages. My role is to lead the recruiting function and to grow and coach my team.
Tell us about your team!
How big is it?
Customer.io has 175 employees and is continuing to grow. I sit on the People team and manage three people: a Recruiter, Technical Recruiter, and Technical Sourcer.
Where are your teammates located?
Like the rest of the company, my team members are globally distributed, located in London, Texas, and Oregon.
What does your team do? What are you responsible for?
My team is responsible for engaging with and bringing in talented folks to our globally-distributed team! We’re hiring across the globe for all teams, with a focus on finding talent who can bring their diverse background of experience and knowledge to add to our culture.
What are the components of a strong remote culture?
Customer.io has always been a remote-first company, so I believe our four core values have been the foundation for building a strong remote culture:
Empathy. Treat people with courtesy and kindness while trying to understand where they’re coming from.
Transparency. Build trust and commitment through openness, dialogue, and accountability, within our team (and with our customers).
Responsibility. When people act and think like owners, everyone feels empowered to make our company the best it can be.
Awkwardness. Celebrate the things that make you unique and do the same for your team members.
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?
The most important thing is to create a safe space. I let my team know that I’m there for them whenever needed, but also trust them to make decisions and be autonomous. Having open lines of communication is key, whether it’s to chat about something personal or to get my feedback on something they’re working on. My job is to help my team grow in whatever way excites them, help remove roadblocks and work through obstacles, and champion and cheer them on when they bring something to the table. I want to be there as a resource, coach, and mentor; and remove things that might be in the way of them doing their best work.
My job is to help my team grow in whatever way excites them, help remove roadblocks and work through obstacles, and champion and cheer them on when they bring something to the table. I want to be there as a resource, coach, and mentor; and remove things that might be in the way of them doing their best work.
What's your biggest challenge as a remote leader?
My biggest challenge as a remote leader is staying on top of my time. Planning ahead and having good time management is essential for anyone working in a remote space, but being a leader with team members across multiple time zones means you need to be that much more conscientious of your own time and others. Proactive communication and setting time blocks for certain tasks is key to making sure things don’t fall off my radar, but I also need to remain flexible for the ebbs and flows of the work day and what my team might need in a given moment. It’s a constant balance, but it’s well worth it to get to work with people in so many different parts of the world.
My Remote Manager Toolbox
We most recently had our first company-wide retreat since the pandemic started in Athens, Greece and it was much needed face time for the team! We’re exploring the opportunity to have smaller meet-ups soon as well, but we take advantage of virtual team building often! Some of our favorite activities have been virtual escape rooms, sharing a meal or happy hour, crafting, yoga, and karaoke to name a few! You can see a more extensive list here.
We love to play virtual games at Cio! Part of our new hire welcome kit is the option to receive an Oculus since we often utilize it to play games ad-hoc or during virtual retreats. One Friday a month we have a dedicated Play Time hour for different teams to play games together. Some of our team’s favorite VR games are Walkabout Mini Golf, Eleven Assassin, and Cook-out. We’ll also play other games outside of VR like Among Us, Online Pictionary, or Catan.
Some of our favorite ice breakers to start team meetings can be as simple as asking about everyone’s favorite music, food, or place they’ve traveled. We’ll also use ice breakers to see how everyone is feeling that day. Traffic light check-ins are a common one; green is feeling good and engaged, red is distracted and disengaged, and yellow is somewhere in the middle.
Products & Tools
Our team uses the Donut slack integration to help build culture and team bonding remotely. We use it to connect different team members biweekly to get to know each other and to pair two team members quarterly for a goodies and snack exchange specific to their location, which has been a fun experience as a global team! You can read more about that work here.
Resources for remote leaders
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