Liam is the co-founder and CMO of TimeDoctor.com, Running Remote Conference and Staff.com. After graduating with a masters in Sociology from McGill University, Liam opened a small tutoring company which grew to over 100 employees, and looked to solve a problem with remote employees not reporting accurate work data which turned into Staff.com. He consults on outsourcing and process design and is passionate about how to gain insights into the inner workings of how people work.
On today’s episode we discuss running remote teams, including hiring, performance, management, culture and mental health.
Liam’s Social Profiles:
About Time Doctor:
Time Doctor is a time tracking and productivity monitoring software for remote teams. The goal with the software is to help individuals and organizations to be more productive when working remotely
Time Doctor Social Profiles:
[0:02] Good morning Liam welcome to the show.
[0:04] Thanks for having me Christian.
[0:06] No absolutely it’s always my pleasure to have to have guests
and have guests talking about it as a topic near and dear to my heart. We’re going to get to on the show which is going to be a remote teams remote workings and certainly about how to manage and lead them remotely Liam I know you’re traveling today where you calling.
[0:22] Actually calling from Cleveland Ohio when it’s from Cleveland.
I’m here for one night only which you’re probably going to actually be able to get access to me at that point but I’m here for one that only just here for work and kind of for fun because I’ve never been to Cleveland before and I thought to myself well.
Since I’m the boss I can take properties this type of opportunity and head out to I don’t want to offend anyone from Cleveland but basically the middle of nowhere.
[0:53] And you know it you know it and maybe see a basketball games are on playing there tonight it’s so he’s a potential something to do in Cleveland.
[1:01] I don’t know I might drive her on the way in said that.
Corned beef in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is the two places that I should go so I’m just going to take up the sandwich I don’t know.
[1:21] Okay excellent normally though do you have a home base name where you consider home.
[1:26] I do it’s Canada but I do spend approximately four to six months out of the Year traveling and for me it just allows me to
to embrace a component of my lifestyle that I really like which is me and my girlfriend usually just leave Canada throughout the winter months.
And then sometimes will travel in the summer in so we get to experience the beautiful Summer’s in Canada but then also
we could have grabbed maybe one month out of the winter in Canada to get some skiing in and then the rest of the time we just go to Mexico or Costa Rica or Bali or somewhere nice and warm and Dacosta.
[2:06] And which will get you later in the show one of the definite advantages to having an and running remote teams and remote companies
certainly I can I can go along with that as I asked all of my guests Liam I can you give me a little bit of background kind of how you got to where you are today just kind of a highlight reel.
[2:25] Torso tattoo companies
eye doctor and staff. Com we’ve built those companies over the last eight years from pretty much nobody to approximately 90 people today located in 28 different countries all over the world
and it came off of
me having a online Tutoring company the previous business before and not being able to very clearly identify how long a remote worker
work for a student so the student would come to me I build them for 10 hours and then
say hey well I didn’t actually work with my tutor for 10 hours I worked with him for 6 hours,
I go to the tutor and say did you work with Jimmy for 10 hours and you would say of course I did so I’d end up having to refund the student for the 4 hours and paying the tutor for full 10 hours and that was really destroyed
the business so I’m doctor was one of those Jewels really scratch my own itch as you would say.
[3:28] Just figuring out a problem that I knew would have saved my online tutoring business and then from there I really became passionate about remote working remote teams I know that it’s getting a lot more exciting now,
plenty of companies becoming.
Full-time remote first companies that are very successful but we were back 10 years ago when it wasn’t as cool and.
That’s just a really cool thing that we’ve been watching happening on the last couple years which is why we built this conference running remote on building and scaling remote team.
[4:02] Sure excellent now you’ve kind of got into this Ava CU you run teams your manager
are there are at this is a podcast for most of my listeners are managers and some cases a growing number is also becoming either managing remote teams or being remote themselves but
you know any any mistakes you made that were specific to Remote Management or or just in general that you should have made as you’ve if you’ve grown in the teams over the years.
[4:32] I mean can we make this podcast 2030 hours you want to discuss what I did wrong today
large-scale problems that I think are unique to management for remote teams I think the biggest ones that we can boil down to is the different way that you communicate
with remote key members.
And how you interact with them needs to be a little bit different so the other part of that is probably prophecies as it applies to remote teams inside of what we like to call the remote work World on premise.
Employees versus remote employees your on-prem employees you usually be able to see them face-to-face and there’s a little bit of serve
just a small conversations that occur throughout the workday that allow you to choose municate knowledge brake quickly and easily to those particular employees but when that employee is 10,000 miles away it’s a completely different process being very disciplined about how you
take information digitize it process it and communicated to remote employees is probably.
Biggest failure that I see remote managers on how they want tasks to be completed so by the boil it down to one core problems they always have it’s just process lack of communication.
[6:00] In any I gather that so anything of you.
My manager making the transition to serve managing a remote team will be like the one most important saying that you should say they should focus on right away.
[6:17] Well I could probably say.
[6:21] Jimmy would probably be without knowing the particulars of the business it would be.
Processing all of the information that you usually communicate in person and digitizing it.
So that means getting out we use,
anywhere from Google docs to there’s a great app called process Street there’s a couple more kind of more expensive option that you can get you can build your own Wiki to
document all of the processes inside of an organization and then allow employees to be able to get access to that type of information whenever they want.
Great place to start is a get labs.
Online process documentation which actually the co-founder of gitlab was speaking at running remote and he discussed isn’t our talk was only about this his process
document on the company is 3200 pages long.
[7:19] Entire git repositories so if you want to know what your Cher breakdown will be after you work for years in the company
it’s in that document if you want to know how to do a demo for gitlab.
It’s in that document if you want to know who to talk to when you have an HR issue it’s all in that document and it’s constantly evolving because it’s a gift repository so it’s a really cool place to start in
Dimitri suggest that you actually if he has no problem with you
literally stealing all of those initial processes to come and get you started and even just got a.
Willing to that data for an hour or two is probably really going to give you a fantastic contacts on how you should start to create your own process documents inside of a remote organization.
[8:07] Now that’s awesome in for my listeners I’ll make sure I think that in the show notes that simple Airship. IO and I think that points out a very important aspect that I’ve also found two as with running remote teams is the need to be.
Explicit vs. implicit right I think you need to just mention write everything down just don’t assume people understand what you’re saying especially not only with the the time zone and remote
but as we’re dealing with if people are remote in there that’s all remote you’re probably dealing with different cultures and some Lifestyles and other nuances that are different and having those things explicitly written down really goes a long way.
[8:46] Absolutely a particular example in which those two problems converge is when you look at the different cultural.
Norms for critique that westerners are a lot more comfortable challenging Authority
then people from Southeast Asia as an example and it’s not necessarily something that that might be a little bit Politically Incorrect but there’s a lot of Hardcore data to back that up so as an example when I deal with.
Team members from Southeast Asia I will not ask them something like.
What do you think of this process document I will ask them a very pointed question like give me three ways I can improve this process document.
So I’m very clearly identifying and giving them permission to critique
that particular document whereas in comparison if I did that with
go team are the key of team is very happy with challenging me on a thority
because it’s just generally inside of their culture to be able to challenge authority more than in Southeast Asian
culture so it’s you have to kind of adapter those different types of situations a particularly if you want very clear process documentation inside of your organization.
[10:08] And I think cultural differences are certainly right there’s generalizations but they’re certainly just just understanding the nuances
of culture so that you don’t accidentally insult somebody or understand and I think it’s important shows it a level of of respect.
That you are taking the time to understand and appreciate some of the nuances of the different cultures that we do have and to your point I think that.
One thing I mentioned this in a previous podcast.
Just because their silence doesn’t also mean there’s there’s a scent or agreement with what you’re doing right so I think it’s important as you’re running teams remote to two
also understand that whether the feedback for getting and really trying to call it out explicit again so those are those are great points land thank you.
[10:53] Yeah I think another thing that we always do which I should also add is we have a different levels of communication.
So video is always better than audio audio is always better than.
Instant messaging and instant messaging is always better than email and we generally communicate in that order so
you can hear silence and you can infer from that but if you have someone on video then you can also see their nonverbal reactions so the richness of communication is also really important we usually.
Almost always unless there’s a significant Wi-Fi problem do video calls.
Every single team member every meeting that I do because it’s just so information-rich experiment that we just recently is we tried to do some interviews in VR
we got a whole bunch of oculus goes and didn’t actually end up working out but we’re always trying to experiment to see if we can get some new levels of richness inside of our communication
so that we have the same sort of analog to innocence face-to-face communication.
[12:07] Yeah that’s great I spend most of my days glue to my zoom zoom conferences and a VR thing is interesting ride him it might not be good if your if your employees getting queasy during during interview.
[12:22] So you know this is obviously a I want to spend a lot of this show to as we’ve already started discussing remote works and specifically managing and leading remote teams and a subset of that as well as if you are actually remote as a leader as well
and a topic close to my heart.
I have always run teams that have been remote but since joining off zero now I’m actually a remote myself and there’s a whole bunch of challenges that kind of go along with leading teams,
when you yourself a remote but,
I thought it was extremely important to and a funeral and dog food here and then as if you can engineering be remote myself if I’m going to be managing a team that is 85 + percent of people that are not in any office.
[13:08] I would completely agree with you there.
[13:13] Joel who runs buffer who’s the founder of buffer he was he had a big debate.
[13:21] Back to running Road and he’s spoken about this a few times before talking about first level and basically yeah.
2nd class employees if you run a remote team in some of the problems you can end up having is it the founders and the executive team are located in one particular area
the people that are not in that same area feel like second-class employees so
that’s something that we made a very strong commitment to from the beginning I am located primarily in Canada my co-founder is primarily located in Australia and
we operate on opposite sides of the planet and we operate very effectively on the other side of the planet
but it also allows for no particular grouping of. Org chart.
[14:17] In one particular area even now we have a small office in Canada
and we run a small sales team out of that office and I insist that when we’re doing Monday All Points meetings that they
access their own webcam so we don’t have a webcam for up just a multiple multiple people
every single person has their own webcam so they each feel separate and every employee feels like they’re in essence
in the same place because you can get that those grouping effects and they’re quite bad for company and employee morale rotor.
[14:57] Yeah now we try to do a similar thing to yeah definitely makes a lot of sense cuz you know what five people in one room and then one person remote and then you get that
yeah it just it just is not the best Dynamic there.
No you run two businesses and conferences and everything else but what percentage of your employees at a time doctor on staff. Com our remote in and I want to point out to you do mention this at a remote versus nomadic and what’s the score of the difference when you talk about this.
[15:24] Yeah so that’s an interesting problem right now is we have a few
as the rise of remote work is occurring there are multiple terms that are that are popping up so there’s a Outsourcing.
Arris remote work in there’s digital Nomads there’s those three terms.
Outsourcing are individuals that I would say probably work out of an office but they work for a
they work for another customer so BPO business process Outsourcing companies of the perfect example of what Outsourcing would be as can be remote
which is the second definition which is an individual that works from home or work from a co-working space but works individually for a larger-scale organization.
So that would be remote work and then digital Nomads are actually a subcategory inside of remote workers which are people that are not in one particular location
so most of our employees are actually they operate out of one particular location.
[16:35] And they work remotely sleepy remote workers but about 20% are digital,
Nomads so these individuals that basically work from a laptop and they’re in a different country every two to three months exam people is my co-founder.
Why is nomadic for 3 years and a half of that.
While we were building the company so he would not spend more than 3 months in a country at a time simply because he could.
And he sounded really enjoyable a lot of people do I think we are now kind of achieving the digital Nomad movement was and is really great for getting the word out of remote work.
I see a phenomenon where people will become digital Nomads understand that they can travel the world they’ll probably do it for about 2 or 3 years and get
get all of that traveling out of their system and then though usually settle in one particular place and I believe that long-term the vast majority the best type of work relationships from a perspective are the remote
is just a direct remote work relationship not necessarily the nomadic relationship that gets a lot of press.
[17:47] Yeah absolutely in one thing that I’ve found in remote working out and running and hiring a road teams is there also seemed to talk about the second class citizen but I want to talk about the levels right when I talk to people,
they say what’s really easy to find a job as a remote individual contributor but it’s really hard to find a job as a remote manager.
And I think it’s one of the few areas where companies like buffer Envision I’ll see you tomorrow get laments Mother’s offer that ability but I think those are few and far between then just being a regular I see especially in technology have you found that.
[18:24] I mean we haven’t done it inside of our personal organization so we have managers and then we have managers of managers and I suppose I’m actually a manager of a manager of a manager at this point.
But I would say we eat our own dog food so there’s no other option but that for us.
So I would say that’s an interesting point that you’ve brought up.
I think that might be my own personal bias because I just surround myself with really great remote.
Business businesses in Founders so I kind of think we’ve all got that figured out but I think for companies that are trying to become remote I can give you an example is.
Marcy Murray who is the director of support for Shopify she has 1400 remote employees.
[19:23] Fire support team is remote and she has significant challenges on the second that the second class citizen.
Problems and the lack of a kind of organizational upward movement.
Inside of Shopify because a lot of these customer support reps want to become managers but they have to go to the Ottawa Canada head office to really get access to that so they’re not developing that.
Remotely which I think is probably something that is a big challenge for hybrid companies that run maybe a department remotely
as opposed to running their entire organization because you’ll end up having that bias where people want to come into the the mothership office to be able to be trained and then.
Buy them taking that action their den seen as more important by everyone else in the organization which they really should not have been really want to build a successful remote.
[20:29] Yeah I agree with that now let’s chat a little bit about that hiring I think it’s an important aspect it it plays a lot into the remote aspect of of companies that that allow that kind of thing and that’s their culture.
Obviously having an available pool of talent that spreads the whole world can be extremely helpful.
On the other side there are certainly challenges and not even necessarily challenges with managing the but just you know challenges of just just hiring them right pipelines and interviewing.
Personally again and other things you do my heart have to hire have to have like a hundred people in the next year or so.
Yeah it’s and the majority of them were going to be remote so quick question for you how do you find people what’s the best way you found
a finding people who talented people that maybe not are in one of the top of the unit metropolitan areas.
[21:21] Sure so I think in that context the first rule that I would have is find out where those employees are located so a lot of people.
Automatically find remote employees or stay will not look for them to try to hire remote employees from places that are not remote.
So my first rule on hiring is hire people actually want to work remotely and you’d be quite surprised by the amount of people that within the first interview.
You’ll find out that they’re actually not very excited about working remotely and for particularly for us where our entire mission statement as a company.
We want to empower people to work wherever they want whenever they want.
[22:09] That is a big problem and we originally when we were doing a lot of our filtering of candidates we weren’t asking that question what do you think of remote work how do you like it what do you not like about remote working.
After we started asking that question we’re actually able to filter filter out a lot of questions.
As it applies to culture so after that we basically I mean if you want to go into the more specifics about it.
Best two platforms that we’ve currently found right now is remote okay and we work remotely and I know that that’s probably not a ton of pipeline for people.
2 job boards are specifically for remote employees so we don’t have to explain to those candidates
what a remote work relationship is because a lot of them have already had that type of experience honorable mentions would be flexjobs.
I dribble has a fantastic platform right now for front end developers and designers and then
if you really need the job done and you’re willing to pay top talent crossover are two other great fantastic options however they are going to cost you
quite a bit of money so once you kind of got no other candidates together then you really what we in essence do is we do it culture fit
first before we actually go into there a how qualify they are the candidate so.
[23:38] We’ll get all of our interviews in will do an initial filter to just say yes these people meet the base requirements but then.
After that is completed we’ll go and we’ll do a counterfeit
are you a little bit of psychosomatic testing I we found the introverts usually work a lot more successful in remote teams and extroverts and there’s a couple other variables that we look for
that’s probably the most important one that we look for from a cyclist metric perspective and then we also figure out whether or not they actually like our process so are they.
Are the individuals that like remote work do they like traveling do they understand that once a year we do a team retreat.
Country are they willing to do that all of those little variables kind of work into that that culture filter level then we boil down to probably about
67 candidates of the shortlist which goes to the direct manager the direct manager interviews those people we end up usually choosing two people
for one job in the reason why we choose to is because it’s very quick for us to be able to hire those people on a contractor basis for a month.
[24:51] And so we work with at least two people for that one position.
Usually given the same tasks enough to confirm that the process was run properly at the beginning and you’d be very surprised how you’ll have one candidate.
That is maybe 20 to 30% cheaper than another candidate and the
candidate that’s cheaper actually end up blowing the more experienced candidate completely out of the water
cuz we just didn’t assess their skill-set from the beginning and then at that point we end up hiring one of those people there on kind of.
[25:30] A three-month free months of just.
Time that they spend with us a camera with that word is that they use in the company but we work with them before they are directly hired they suggest three months to we work with them and find out whether or not.
They are really the right fit and then after those three months we confirm that yes they are a full-time person and the end up getting all of our kind of employee perks in that cup holder inside of the organization that’s her process from top down
I think that the culture is probably the biggest one I mean particularly if you’re hiring a hundred people you are probably the most important variable that you’re measuring is retention.
On those candidates so in my opinion you really need to make sure that those people are ready to work remotely because
if they’re not ready to work remotely sometimes loneliness can set in particularly with extroverted people
and it’s not your fault they’ll just end up leaving the organization not because they don’t like the work or they don’t like the organization but because they want to work in an office as an example.
[26:42] Sure haven’t you mentioned in your hiring process.
You mentioned how do you how do you get some of that good signal about introversion or you know it’s easier for one thing I can say I’ve been working remote for a while and they’re cool with it that’s that’s kind of busy signal the guy but for the ones that maybe there are they going to shift
into being remote after being in an office for a while you are there any there any tips or questions you have that decking sus that out a little better at that beginning.
[27:09] Sure I mean we do the the hexaco personality test and that’s actually a pretty good variable for us to be able to figure out who you are and whether you meet that kind of that.
The triggers are the flags that were looking for outside of that however we.
[27:30] Look at just generally are you enthusiastic about working remotely, to be honest with you and that has 6s
in long-term work engagements with us is whether they have previous experience working remotely a lot of the.
It is an extra challenge if someone has been in the workforce for let’s say fifteen twenty years and they haven’t been working remotely and then they enter our organization so we’re going to have to spend a couple months
getting them adapted to that environment because they’re not really used to that.
Way of working and that’s a bit of a risk on our part but.
I think we’ve got that process down pretty solid at this point we would basically the first three to four weeks we kind of put them through a retraining process to train the on tram.
[28:32] Work mindset out of them and go back to the remote mindset so,
do you need to work from nine-to-five not really do you need to do.
Do you need to work out of just your house know you can work at a coffee shop you can work at a co-working space you can do whatever you want and that’s usually a little weird for people.
And then sometimes people will take way too much.
[29:00] Thatsheart and they actually won’t really hit their kti’s at all to this kind of those two extreme side because they’re given so much freedom
that they just run rampant with it and you need to kind of make sure that they’re also
answerable to their deliverables but then on the other side of that there are people that steal her in that headspace and they should actually become a little bit more free with their time because a lot of people at particularly Developers
which I find.
Most closely correlate to writers in terms of how they work and if you analyze any type of.
Famous writer you’ll know that they keep very weird hours.
So they may write from 10 p.m. to 3 in the morning for three nights out of the week and then they just sleep for the rest of those nights and that’s fine as long as they’re actually producing
product at the end of the day that ends up moving very happy to be able to have them but they just stayed to adapt to their own particular workflow
and we’re honestly just trying to optimize for productivity at that point.
[30:16] Yeah and that’s that’s a good segue to into the concept of productivity and you mentioned kpi and time management
when I want people to remote it’s no longer about the you know you’re clocking in it’s a 9-5 job your butt in your seats and that’s how you determine like if you’re working right because I didn’t even know it and see the employees have the time but how do you,
and it’s really about output you talked about putting delivery in meeting York apis how do you
how do you how do you do that like what’s important and how do you make sure people are working and more importantly working on the right thing.
[30:48] Sure so I think you need to very clearly identify those from the very beginning so we.
I’ll give you an example I just had a meeting with my content team and we have what are called Compass metrics
for each particular employee so each employee has a compass metric and they also managers have a rock task or teams have a rock tax so a compass metric
it for the punting team is cumulative domain Authority
and for anyone that knows search engine optimization the cumulative domain Authority is the cumulative.
The amount of domain Authority is a measure from 1 to 100
defining how important website is so Google would be 100 and a website that you just started would be so we measure all of those linkers
by how many of those links they end up getting on a blog post or on our website and then what we do is we count up all of those points so if someone gets 5.
[31:55] Backlinks as an example but they’re all D820 back links that would work out to 100 points but if someone got a backlink from Google as an example and that would count for 100
on that scale so it allows us to very clearly identify.
People are putting their time and what they’re doing with it and then the team’s Rock tasks so generally the manager is responsible for those particular Rock tests and we have four quarter.
[32:27] And we’ve identified that those you can’t really do them once a month or once a week
because they’re usually a little too small and sometimes you might even extend them into two quarters
but Russ that might be something light up putting together a conference in promoting that conference that would be a rock task and see whether or not that works
or that might be restocked during our API so that we can do this new kind of integration.
Inside of our app that’s that would be a quarterly Rock task for the integration team as an exam.
So between those two that’s basically what we measuring we do weekly check-ins on our Rock task and then obviously the kpi the compass metrics that we set for everyone.
Is something that’s measured either daily or weekly and we use a tool called klipfolio and usually will have someone put that data either automatically into a system like MPS for product managers
and customer support reps or we’ll have it put into a Google sheet and then that will push directly to a gas board that we use klipfolio as a dashboard that allows us to be able to see all that data.
[33:50] Perfect and I think the second part of that goes into.
Communication transparency like distribution of information super important for remote teams we talked about it a little in beginning about explicitness what what are the really important things you have to help promote teams communicate properly.
[34:11] Sure we do Amaze every two weeks.
So me and Rob to ask me anything sessions that anyone can show up to and they’ll usually ask questions preemptively in the answer them during those are as much like any other startup.
That’s that’s around 50-plus employees would usually have these types of things and.
We also do 360 reviews one tool that we started using recently which were liking quite a bit is a tool called fellow which allows you to be able to get feedback
remotely on any particular subject so I can be working on a particular project with somebody else
and then I can say I would like to ask for feedback from those different team members and then they would provide positive and negative feedback positive points negative points
on that particular project that we worked on and then that’s all documented inside up the fellow at the URL as fellow. Co.
[35:19] Show it.
Really useful for us to be able to see what’s going on and we also do our one-on-ones to fellow and then we also do our 360 reviews.
Usually do a one-on-ones either every month or every quarter and we do our 360s
once a year and 360 review is basically I’m sure everyone knows this but I’ll just reiterate it it’s a review process of you as an individual not only from the people that report to you but the people that you report to
and even your co-workers so it gives you a very full 360-degree view of who you are as an employee in what you’re doing well and what you can do.
[36:03] Perfect. That’s great and another topic here is.
The non were cast x-rays to find maybe is culture in some aspects how do you how do you build and maintain culture,
Baltic scale and remote right the water cooler talks at the camaraderie at what do you do as a company or I would have you seen work at other companies to help do that remotely.
[36:27] So some general trends that usually come out that I’m seeing trout remotes companies and this is another reason why we built this conference is we were doing a bunch of stuff.
Giving people Oculus go headsets and seeing whether that would work we were trying this kind of excuse tried types of experiments
but there was areas currently no Playbook up best practices that have been proven quantifiably
so that’s another reason why we just started this conference was because we kind of wanted to figure out that Playbook and very clearly now some things that
most people are doing that I think are successful and we do them as well is we’ll have a water cooler chat.
[37:12] So we have one on slack and
you can chat about anything you want you can chat about work-related stuff you can chat about non-work related stuff no one can tell you to get on or off of it
so you can talk as much or as little as you would like that’s one thing that we do.
During our one-on-ones will usually discuss
more career goal focused activities which again communicates culture is well we also every single person inside of our organization once they join our company they get a little.
Identifying they get a T-shirt and they get a couple other things but the
thing that I think is the most interesting is we give them two posters we give them a poster that identifies what we stand for as a company and what the purpose of this company is.
So if he the purpose for you is to make money you should really put it down there but if you have a higher purpose you should put that down our mission statement is we want to empower people to work
wherever they want whenever they want so whether you are an outsourced worker a remote worker or a digital Nomad we want to be able to empower that type of movement
top it which is why we would do things like a conference as an example because it feeds into that mission statement and we go back to that mission statement quite a bit.
I’m figuring out well should we actually add this feature or should we build this extra product.
[38:40] Go back to that mission statement document to be able to find out whether we should in the second document that we have is the customer avatars that we have for a Time doctor and stuff
and we also talked about them like they have a name so we make sure that both of those posters get two people and that they.
Somewhere inside of their work space so that we can communicate number one which we stand for which I think is really the colonel of culture and then who are the people that we serve so those customer avatars of the people that you serve
and if you are not.
Every action that we should take inside of the business should be feeding that mission statement and then should also be serving one of the three customer avatars that we have inside of her.
[39:28] I think I’m going to borrow that idea I like that to consider the concept of mailing someone’s I’m going to give him t-shirts and one today but I’d like to come to the voice having something I can look up to reinforce some of those Core Concepts of your company that said it’s a good idea so.
[39:42] Generique wisdom as well,
if they if they will be falling off if they’re falling off the wagon and they’re not really communicating what I think is mission-focused activities then I will ask them.
Well you know what’s what’s the third tenant of what we stand for as a company and if they can’t really answer that question,
then hopefully we train them but eventually that might also show that those people are not really expected to your mission statement and in my opinion those are people even.
Most difficult ones are the ones that are really high-performing but you have to get those people out of your organization because they will just take you down a path that you really don’t want to be down and.
Some of the hardest decisions that I’ve made are to let go of people that are really good at their jobs but think that remote work is done,
those are not the people that we should have inside of the company a sales person who that you’re if it’s the top salesperson in your company
but they don’t believe in your product you shouldn’t have them in the company because they’re generally going to there are cancerous towards your culture and if you really want to take the company
to text where it is right now you need everyone to be on the same bus.
[41:04] Yeah. Very sad very sad D I don’t want to talk about next is
I something I mentioned it at talking to you over the summer and we were talking before the show when you were just on a panel about it it sort of about employment of health and.
I don’t think it’s a topic that really gets discussed enough to treated like this hidden thing but it’s only I think affects everyone and potentially has the effect.
It has the ability to affect remote workers even more potential red studies,
plus and minus on both sides but at tell me a little bit about you thoughts and making sure remote employees are in a good emotional Place. Saint is remote work better for employees as if I personality type and what are you what are your thoughts on. How do we help.
Mental health for employees.
[41:49] What’s the number one the data is very clear on the studies that were done there’s the Harvard study that’s quite famous that looked at call center reps.
And found that remote work was a net-positive towards employee happiness however
direct cabinets to that certain personality types don’t perform as well as others and that’s something that obviously.
Spoken about previously but you really need to be able to
measure those early indicators as quickly as possible because or you need to be more aware of them maybe that’s a better way of communicating it because
they are unfortunately not as easy to detect when your remote,
so someone who’s just generally down and unhappy
that’s something that you can detect when they’re in on from employee but when they were a remote employee you may not see that as much they may be able to get themselves really pumped up for the video mean that you have with you.
So you need to take that into consideration.
[43:02] What will usually end up having is we have in our HR department is a little bit different I think from most other HR departments.
The HR department is they kind of have a firewall in between.
Deep management team management executive and founding team.
And the employees so they work as a third-party arbiter.
And we really tried to invest a lot of energy into.
[43:38] All of the employees understanding that you can go to HR and you can talk about being suicidal.
We had those instances you can talk about your depression you can talk about all of these things and we encourage you to do it and HR can solve those problems.
Without directly going to your manager.
And the reason why we made that decision which most HR organizations are generally working for
Executives we’ve have the reverse K charger Works directly for the employees and their job is to basically make sure that everyone is back on track so the reason why we made that decision is because we just don’t see that data
pop up as quickly as we would on a non-prime organization
and it creates a good circle of trust between that employee and that HR person.
So that the HR person can come in and say well actually.
Shoes and needs to take a month off and here’s why we’re going to we’re going to have her take this month off and I’m not telling you why.
As an example and then they would work with them directly to be able to get them back on track so we found in the we don’t have to use that that often.
[44:59] But definitely that’s kind of they feel a little,
a little more comfortable going to HR now than they do their direct manager so we’re kind of creating that and making sure that that feedback loop.
[45:13] Isn’t going directly to the manager Food
Daisy may be a little bit fearful that they’re going to lose their job if it’s something serious I can think of one instance where it was a pretty serious problem with one employee that we had about three or four months ago
and that employee needed to take a leave of absence for a month and HR did it.
[45:38] And it was something that the direct manager was actually pretty frustrated about because they needed that person for a very critical project but HR had.
Basically override that type of decision and that’s something that I think is quite unique to us I don’t think other organizations do it but
that’s basically the current solution that we have for being able to detect the mental health of employees
basically we’ve just told our employees you can talk to HR you can talk about whatever you want and you will not get fired if anything will try to solve the problem as quickly as possible.
[46:16] Sure and give us some too I think.
Even though you do mention a new number of companies serve have a get-togethers once in a while there’s an all company or team meetings how important you think getting a FaceTime is for keeping employees mental health in just culture functioning well.
[46:34] I think it’s really important for culture I think it is very interesting when we do so we do a team Retreat every single year and.
It’s very interesting to see what happens to people that have never done a team Retreat and then after they do that team retreat.
[46:50] Things kind of change like Ville say wow I didn’t know how tall
Christian was I didn’t know how much Suzanne really likes coffee or these little things that you kind of pick up can’t pick up on when the team is remote and they come back.
Context on their co-workers which I think is a net-positive we also do smaller teen retreats.
So we do an entire company Retreat once a year and then will usually do a team or departmental Retreat or.
Once a year and that’s also quite useful up for them in terms of their overall Mental Health.
I mean there’s definitely a net gain if they’re happier when they come back from their team Retreat and it’s always something to look forward to it’s a really cool perk to be able to say well we’re all going to fly to Thailand are we all going to fly to
South Africa or some other really interesting place that you’ve never been to before people look forward to that throughout the year and.
I see it as a major employee perks but in terms of mental health it’s really one of those things that will do a long-term check in.
[48:09] At that point with all of those employees and see where they currently are and also what they wanted you over the next year
as it applies to me be there three to Five-Year Plan as an employee but it’s not as useful as being able to make sure those
there are those early indicators of Mental Health.
Because I know that someone can be fine one month and then they can be absolutely depressed,
the next one and it’s one of those things that it’s just very hard to detect when your remote unless they you.
Read an environment a culture where it’s okay to go to someone to discuss that without any fear of them getting fired.
[48:55] Sure you know good thank you for that for that answer I want to.
Chat really quickly or give you an opportunity we’ve mentioned it a couple of times you have sort of founded in organizing the running remote conference.
You act like the 92nd sort of elevator pitch for what that is where it is and how my guests could could participate in.
[49:18] Sure so if you want to learn how to build and scale a remote team and you don’t know the current best practices like we
Innocents were not sure about even two years ago and to be honest with you or not really sure at this point is always of all
but this is the place to find out that information so if you want to go from 10 to 100 people if you want to go from 100 to 500 people that are remote first
this is the conference that we designed specifically to give you the Playbook to be able to answer all of those
problems we also do it because most of
the attendees are remote first Founders or HR managers we’ve decided to do it in a really cool place
in Bali last year we did it in Bali in a network of bamboo tree houses which was pretty cool so we had almost 300 people
in this five-storey bamboo teepee.
And talked about everything connected to remote working where we see the future of remote work kind of happening over the next couple years and we’re doing it again in Bali
end of June and you can go to running remote-com Liam and if you go through that link you’ll get an extra little discount from us.
[50:43] Excellent that sounds like a great conference for all of my listeners who are Remote Management or I see or even thinking about it getting into running remote teams
Vale awesome awesome play so that sounds like awesome as well tree houses you know what more can you ask for.
Any news any last resources you have obviously you’re you’re running remote conferences is great any books blogs videos anything else that you might recommend to my listeners in general about leadership management or even specifically about running remote teams.
[51:17] Sure so two sources that I would suggest to you is number one one of the best books that I’ve currently read in the last few years on management is radical candor.
And I can’t remember the name of the author at this point but if you just Google radical Candor book you’ll be able to get it in.
[51:40] Is it a okay great yeah so fantastic,
I read it about two or three times at this point I think it’s really a great playbook for someone like me who would not be radically candid with M please because
I want to receive of myself as a nice person.
And sometimes that actually ends up being a net loss for employees cuz you end up terminating people and they thought they were doing a great job
so he’ll teach you how to solve that problem and then.
II Resorts based off of remote work is we’ve actually published all of the running remote talks for free
so you just go to youtube.com running remote and you’ll be able to see all of the talks and come and get a taste for what we do at the conference,
some of the talks are absolutely amazing I would particularly look at Dimitri who’s the founder of get lab.
And how he built his process documentation on his rope team of 500 people would she’s been running over the last couple years really interesting talking very insightful if you’re interested in a remote teams.
[52:53] Awesome and any particular way that might be the best for my listeners to get in touch with you Liam if they have any questions or comments.
[53:00] Sure so you can always leave any comment on YouTube channel
youtube.com running remote you can just message me directly on Instagram very excited about Instagram trying to learn it so I’m at Liam remote on Instagram and you can message me on there and I.
Very happily will respond to you and if you can teach me about Instagram to please send me a message on there so I’m just trying to learn the platform which is why I’m trying to filter all my responses to there.
[53:30] Awesome wolf Liam thank you again for being on the show greatly enjoyed our conversation I think was very informative for myself and for our listeners so thank you very much.
[53:40] Yeah thanks for having me.