How To Maintain Standards And Culture While Building Remote Teams

By Paul Slezak - Sep. 21, 2015
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Throughout my career prior to RecruitLoop, I had been personally responsible for building teams in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, and Hong Kong – as well as being part of a leadership team opening offices and growing a recruitment business across Asia Pacific and Europe.

The idea of “building a culture across cultures” is one that I have been familiar with for many years. Not to mention all the challenges that come with building remote teams, satellite offices, and businesses in foreign countries. And by ‘foreign’, I mean in international markets outside of a company’s global headquarters.

Today the core RecruitLoop team is spread across 5 countries – so we continue to strive to build a culture that crosses borders, time zones, and hemispheres.

Since we are continually asking ourselves how to best maintain our standards and the RecruitLoop culture while building a global team, we figured there would be other business owners, startup founders, and human capital managers asking the very same questions.

Last week we ran a webinar where we asked 2 experts to share their stories and tips on building a scalable process to source, hire and engage talent in remote locations. Our panelists Scott Davis, VP of Talent Acquisition at TubeMogul, and Catie Brand, Talent Acquisition Lead at General Assembly have been instrumental in hiring hundreds of people remotely. As the webinar moderator I learned so much, and really enjoyed hearing their stories.

I thought I would share a few of their stand-out pieces of advice or the questions they posed which resonated most with me.

1. Having a ‘toolkit’ for opening in a new location

Catie explained how General Assembly has a toolkit and a guidebook for how to open an office in a new market, and how to ensure that the culture is maintained in every single one of their offices – from London to Los Angeles and from San Francisco to Sydney. Every new hire is greeted with a welcome helium balloon; the signage appears at precisely the same height on every wall in every office; and even the coffee is exactly the same in every location. Talk about a streamlined culture.

2. Give up control in favour of local expertise

Scott shared the TubeMogul philosophy about hiring leadership in a new region first and relying on the local expert to build out the team. After all nobody knows the local nuances and cultural sensitivities better than a local – especially around areas of compliance.

3. Build for the 99%

I really liked Catie’s story here. When a company launches in to a new market, it’s completely understandable that you will worry about all the things that could go wrong. I have experienced many of these first hand! General Assembly’s approach is not to dwell so much on preventing a minor disaster, but to create policies and processes for the 99% of time where everything will work smoothly.

4. When you scale, stay true to your culture and who you are

Scott posed the question, “How do we scale and stay true to our culture and who we are?” – a question I think everyone listening would have been asking themselves. At TubeMogul culture and values are embedded in everything they do from Shanghai to Sao Paolo, and from Tokyo to Toronto. “Inclusion in communication” is a core philosophy to ensuring standards and culture are maintained. Hopefully you also benefit from what our panelists had to say. The full recording of the webinar appears below.

Cofounder and CEO at RecruitLoop. I've been a hands on recruiter, manager, trainer, coach, mentor, and regular speaker for the recruitment industry for nearly 25 years.


Paul Slezak

Cofounder and CEO at RecruitLoop. I've been a hands on recruiter, manager, trainer, coach, mentor, and regular speaker for the recruitment industry for nearly 25 years.

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