Remote Evangelist is a semi-regular newsletter living at the intersection of HR, organizational culture, and remote work. We unpack the most essential content and resources for people operations, HR, and L&D professionals that work with a distributed workforce.
A look into: remote culture
Company culture was really put to the test in 2020. Unfortunately, I even know many companies that failed in this area terribly. They failed because it turns out that office events can too often be mistaken as a substitute for culture.
So what is culture really?
Recently, I stumbled upon this definition of a compact culture from Katie Burke, Chief People Officer at HubSpot – “Company culture is the promise you make to your candidates and employees about the environment they can expect to work in and the values upon which your business operates”. To me, this really explains the concept well.
It’s a system of beliefs, values, and behaviours that your leadership and employees stand for. It’s how you communicate with each other, make decisions, dress to the office (or how you used to dress!), treat your customers… and many other factors! It’s a mix of all things big and small that makes a unique working environment at your company.
Ok, I bet there’s another question you might have already in your head, “How do I get my company culture right?”.
Well, there are no easy answers, but the sooner you understand that it’s something every single employee is able to influence, the sooner you will be on a path to success (whatever your definition of success is in that case).
Start with feedback, and make it regular. You can’t fix what you don’t know, and your employees are the best source of information. Whenever someone comes to you with an idea, or perhaps a company-wide initiative, make sure that your team helps support its implementation and don’t simply take it over yourself. Be positive and recognize and appreciate behaviours you want to see among other employees.
Lastly, make sure to never stop working on your company culture. It’s a process, it never stops. You have to constantly put it on your to-do-list and revisit it.
The 3 question interview: Darcy Boles, Director of Culture and Innovation at TaxJar
- What do remote-first companies need to think about in 2021?
Remote-first companies need to think about their culture in 2021 and beyond. I can’t take credit for this statement (I read it somewhere), but “remote doesn’t kill culture, it reveals it” Companies who are newly remote-first should solely focus on their codification of their values and explore the higher purpose of the company. Something your team aligns with and van rally behind – when you lose the office walls, what is left are your values and behavior – learning to lead and teach your values will be incredibly important as more and more companies decide that they’ll be remote forever 🙂
- What should HR leaders’ first priority be for 2021?
Protect your team. We’ve been through a hell of a year and 2021 poses similar challenges. HR leaders should turn their focus to the well-being of their teams – do people have the autonomy to set the schedule that works for them? Do they have the resources they need to take care of their mental and physical health? Are managers set up for success in support of their team members on a deeply human level? Those are all questions HR leaders should be asking themselves in 2021 to not only prevent burnout, but to also ensure that their teams feel supported as authentic individuals set up to do their best work.
- What is the project you and your team are looking most forward to in 2021?
Our cultural blueprint, which is something we are calling, “The TaxJar Way.” Our values at TaxJar have always been incredibly strong and rooted in the three psychological needs that humans have – autonomy, mastery and belonging, but we learned through scaling our team that our values could work harder for us. We spent the better part of 2020 learning from our founders and team what working at TaxJar means to them from a values perspective, and we’ve created a cultural blueprint designed to scale our culture while honoring our core values and DNA.- it’s so exciting!
If there’s only one article you read from this issue of Remote Evangelist, it has to be this one! Here’s a summary of Gallup’s top workplace insights from 2020. Lots of valuable discoveries here that can help you better support your company in 2021!
If you employ workers in the UK (or if your UK company employs workers outside the country), Brexit could create headaches for you and your team. This article explains what you should pay attention to in terms of visas, payments, and work permits.
Joel Gascoigne, CEO & Co-Founder of Buffer, shares the fully remote company’s 10-year journey of developing their product and scaling their team to nearly 90 people. They made a transition to fully remote in 2012 and since then have run many interesting “culture” experiments as a company!
You probably already nailed it, but here are 5 things you have to figure out before hiring remote employees. Give yourself time to review if you’re ready to grow your teams in 2021, and if any of these points need a quick fix, make sure to plan for them!
If it’s human nature to look for patterns and data to help us make decisions about other people, how can we recognize unconscious bias and mitigate it when hiring remotely? Read this article by Leah Knobler, Director of Talent Acquisition at Help Scout, another great remote-first company.