Building a remote team has been essential to creating the type of company I want Youzign to be. It means that both my staff and I have the freedom to work when, where and how we want. It starts with clearly defining my vision for the company and ensuring that everyone involved understands and supports that vision; it ends with empowering those same individuals to effect real change in the experiences of our customers.
Defining A Vision and A Culture
The core beliefs of Youzign center on happiness, simplicity and innocence. We believe in being transparent, in dreams and in being good to people – all people: our co-workers, our families and our customers. These principles govern the way we operate and the objectives that we set for the company.
The framework is woven throughout the business and anyone hired by Youzign is charged with not only honoring but embodying these principles. As the founder of this company, it is my job to ensure these beliefs are upheld by the organization and that each staff member has a contributing role in supporting this vision.
Much like a traditional company, the search for new talent begins with a job description that defines the technical requirements. However, our job descriptions also infuse the company’s vision to change the world by being remarkable and self-motivated.
From an administrative perspective, the number of responses we receive for a job posting can be overwhelming. We have implemented a simple process to quickly sort through these and narrow the pool of applicants.
Each job description asks the applicant to perform a set list of tasks. This list could be a simple as asking the applicant to:
Write “purple cow” in their response
Send a CV to a specific email address
Submit a test project
While this may seem simple, up to 70% of applicants are eliminated because this process was not followed. As a remote company, it is essential that the workers we hire have the ability to read instructions and follow through on the action precisely as directed. I do not want to hire someone that requires constant supervision to accomplish a task or someone who cannot follow simple instructions.
After this first round of eliminations, I leave the final decision heavily in the hands of an expert on my staff. The Lead Developer will make the final call on which developer to hire; the Lead Designer selects the next designer to join the team.
Onboarding in the Cloud
All new hires are placed on a four-week trial; during this time, we ensure that they can work remotely, setup applications and push our company beliefs and values. My goal is always to minimize outsourcers in favor of building a full-time team that wants to help the company grow. During the first four-weeks, it is generally easy to predict whether the new hire is the right fit for Youzign.
Managing a Remote Team
Much of managing the team boils down to establishing clear objectives. At Youzign, we use Trello to organize tasks and plan goals. The tool is very visual and allows me to associate specific colors to each set of objectives. Anyone within the company can see the company’s vision at a glance.
Any given project within Trello may have several lists of objectives and each of those objectives is meant to support yearly, quarterly and monthly goals. At the beginning of a period, I send a descriptive email to everyone on the team; reminding them of the company’s vision and explaining how the current objectives support that vision. Each of the various teams has a coherent set of objectives that are defined quarterly and reviewed monthly.
Holding on to the Best
We pride ourselves on providing the highest quality product and support. Which means that we want to retain to the best talent. In addition to working remotely, Youzign employees enjoy free meals and unlimited holidays. This works for my company because the basis of my relationship with my staff is trust. Each member is empowered to make decisions and to find their own way of getting the work done.
The entire team is involved in the main focus of the company: customer support. I often refer to Youzign not as a software company, but as a customer support company. Everyone on the team provides customer support, from the CFO to the designers and developers. Not only does this create product knowledge depth and build relationships across the company, it allows every team member to benefit directly from the positive feedback we receive from our customers. This has turned-out to be an unexpected yet extremely valuable side-effect of company-wide customer support.
Every member of the team also has the freedom to initiate a project and become the project leader. My CFO recently had an idea to offer our training webinars in French as well as in English. Sebastian recruited a French-speaking designer to his team and the pair worked with the campaign manager to build a registration page for the webinar on our site.
The two then developed and recorded the webinar – themselves. In a traditional company, the CFO would not have initiated and developed a marketing or customer support tool; instead, they would be locked away in an office analyzing spreadsheets and creating forecasts for the next period. At Youzign, we embrace every idea that supports our company vision and the agenda, we have set for the period, including those that arrive in unexpected ways.
Much of building a successful remote team is based on trust and empowerment. In the beginning, the onus is on the applicant to build trust with me and with the hiring leader. As the new hire becomes established within the company and demonstrates the principles of our company vision, it is up to me to ensure that he or she is empowered to do to their best work and not unnecessarily constrained by systems that hinder best practices and limit their movement within the company.
When you offer the right resource the space to have a measurable impact on the success of the company, amazing things can happen.
Make it an amazing day,
Thanks for taking time to read these essential factors which enabled us to create an amazing remote team at Youzign. Are you also working with a remote team? Let us know your thoughts below. 🙂