This year, event organizers everywhere have faced a choice. They could cancel their events, and offset the economic losses and the disappointment with the knowledge that, from a public health standpoint, they’re doing the right thing. Or they could get creative, and leverage technology to honor that age-old principle that the show must go on.
We’ve been thrilled to see that, for the most part – at least in our space – organizations are choosing the latter. At the beginning of the year, our founder, Carolyn, was slated to travel across the country to speak about remote hiring, onboarding and management at TechDay Founders Summit and Outreach: Unleash. This week, those talks happened – they just happened remotely.
Carolyn’s session, Building, Managing, and Onboarding a Productive Remote Sales Team was hugely successful at both events, with lots of engaging questions coming in from the audience.
Key insights from our partners in Carolyn’s session on remote work
Our thinking behind the session was simple: Rather than simply prescribe strategies for how to run a successful remote team, we wanted to lend insight into what real companies have actually done. Showing instead of telling, and all.
So we interviewed a trio of our partners in the tech space: Stack Overflow, Outreach, and Spendesk. What we found was fascinating, and illuminated some things that even we hadn’t thought of before. Things like:
- Remote hiring and onboarding is a different process for go-to-market roles as opposed to engineering roles. Make sure you know what the specific needs are for sales reps and marketers, and design a remote process tailored specifically to those roles.
- In-person onboarding involves a lot of unscheduled, off-the-cuff content: chatting between sessions, “show of hands” surveying, etc. And trainers can see when new hires are tuning out and need extra engagement. You can lose all of that when you go remote. To prevent this, do everything you can to keep the processes engaging: use the chat feature in Zoom, schedule breaks, or give homework assignments.
- You’d be surprised how easy it is to overlook certain essential considerations with remote onboarding. If you’re not used to hiring and onboarding remote employees, you may wake up on a new hire’s first day and realize you’d forgotten to make sure their work computer and other necessary equipment had been sent to them far enough in advance. You’ll also probably be using a Learning Management System, and the new hire will need access to it before they start.
- But our favorite type of insight our partners gave us in this process was their words of encouragement. Everyone understands that for many companies, especially those that didn’t have robust remote processes built out before the pandemic, making the switch to remote can be intimidating. Our partners have a lot of comfort to offer people in that position. As Shane Price of Outreach says: “Most of your anxiety around the remote experience is unfounded. You can do it – you just have to make a plan.”
If you remember nothing else…
Plenty of great insight came out of our conversations with our partners. But when we put it all together, the main thing we found was this: Lots of companies kept the same hiring plans even after the pandemic started affecting the economy. It was their processes that needed to change.
As unfortunate as it is, a considerable amount of layoffs was inevitable in the first few months of 2020, no matter what companies did. But what you may not realize is that many leaders understood something critical: If you can adapt – if you can make a smooth transition to remote processes – you’ll have a much stronger chance not just of minimizing layoffs, but of actually continuing to grow during this time.