The Ingredients -- Zapier 100% Remote Team Success CodeThere’s no secret to how Zapier has built history, even as it is distributed across the world. Be it their ultimate guidebook on working remotely, or their different employee-generated content -- they all point to the fact that team, tools, and processes together form their backbone.
Zapier 100% remote team- hire a clan of doersCan everyone be just as prolific and driven in the remote context? The world is presently finding its answers in the most unfortunate scenario. But if you do it Zapier’s way -- their work from home or anywhere mantra depends on choosing the right talent.
Hire the doersThey bet on doers (those who take ownership of action), hustlers(those who find solutions and answers to seemingly hard roadblocks) -- those who can make it happen -- in an office, or in a remote island off the Pacific Coast. The ability to ‘prioritize’ is especially important if you are managing a remote start-up.
Trust is the bread and butterTheir belief rests firmly in trust -- hire people you can trust and then go on to trust your team. Losing sleep over poor hires (not uncommon in co-located offices) can sabotage remote productivity.
Communication is the keyThey also focus on people’s ability to communicate and write clearly -- away from each other, nobody wants to be busy with pesky clarifications.
Balancing work-life is criticalThey look for fairly flexible people who can do without the chatty ‘socializing’ of a traditional office. Let’s face it. If a person’s only support system is work, they could really go off balance, being away from the team.
A strong company cultureIn addition to the attributes of the right hires, nurturing the team in a conducive culture, through best practices and company retreats are all areas that make the Zapier’s remote work formula the success story that it is. They have a well-defined company culture that not only gives high-level behavioural guidance but also elaborates on what is acceptable. Here are Zapier’s values at a glance --
- Default to Action
- Default to Transparency
- Grow through Feedback
- Empathy, No Ego
- Don’t be a Robot, Built a Robot
Take action to solve the problemThey define values through actionable steps instead of subjective descriptions. For example, here is an example of how ‘Default to Action’ works -- “When I see a problem, I take action.” vs. “When I see a problem, I ignore it because it's someone else's job.”
Efficient onboardingFor onboarding, Zapier recommends warm welcome notes, assigning a motivated buddy, encouraging off-work conversations, and regular check-ins that foster belonging.
Team empowermentWhile a company-wide retreat may not be possible for everyone and at all stages, we highly recommended this to teams to really bond, and know each other as more than slack thumbnails that they work with. To nurture and encourage the team to be at it, Zapier believes in evaluating its remote workforce on outcomes over input. It believes in paying people generously and offers full-stack benefits.
Spend more time sharpening your toolsAs per its value statement - ‘Don't Be a Robot, Build the Robot,’ Zapier is heavily invested in tools. They believe that when equipped with the right tools the company can outperform similar-sized companies and can also make its distributed workforce feel connected. They are generous enough to share their (non-exhaustive) must-have tool stack with the whole world, that successfully made Zapier- 100% remote team-
Slack -Zapier’s virtual office by the company’s own admission, with over 100 channels spread across departments, projects, and water-cooler stuff, being on Slack means being at work. The best part though is how one can utilize Zapier’s own integrations to turn slack banter into notes!
Async -If Slack is about the conversation, Zapier’s internal tool, Async is where the team shares work. They look at it as a combination of blogs and Reddit. Almost like an internal email thread, it helps employees keep work discussion archived and referenceable.
Trello or equivalent project manager -If you are a remote manager you know how hard it gets to put to-do lists together (yes ‘bring ‘em together is THE first thing on the list!). So Zapier uses Trello or an equivalent (as per the team’s liking) to build roadmaps -- across product, marketing, and support. What prevents them from being over-ambitious with cards -- having to give detailed descriptions with why what and how so no one gets to create and abandon cards.
GitHub -Much like all other Github users, Zapier uses the solution to build its product. While requests and planning happen over project management tools, feature shipping, issue resolution happens over Github.
1Password -Productivity as well as a security solution, utilize 1password to assign role-based accesses. New employees can get quick access without having to wait for credentials. Further, daily logins and accesses get far easier with 1password.
Google Docs and Quip -They use docs for documentation and quick analysis. We have all been on calls where taking notes together on docs or plugging in spreadsheets for quick metric analysis makes the most sense. The shared environment and the fact that you only need a company Google account makes this a go-to. As for Quip, they utilize it as a knowledge base since the organization is not Google Docs’ strongest forte. Over Quip - everything from blog post guidelines to QA protocol is shared.
Zoom -Over the years, Zapier has used various conferencing solutions and now prefers Zoom when it wants an organization-wide video call. They like it for its clarity with larger groups and find that their weekly all-hands meeting is best experienced via Zoom.
Hello Sign -A virtual work environment relies on digital signatures --imagine printing, signing, and emailing papers halfway across the world, every time you have to furnish documentation! A remote team needs a signature solution and it is never too soon to invest in one.
Help Scout -Everyone at Zapier does a support shift! They use this week as a window to give non-support staff an understanding of the product, while customers get touches from people across the board. Zapier’s go-to for ticket-resolution, conversation, integration, and everything support is Help scout.