Boldly Remote Company Q&A
Sandra Lewis, Founder & Director - Interview with Remote.co
Boldly supports demanding founders and executives by matching them with premium remote staff whom they can trust to represent them, and their business for the long term on a flexible monthly subscription.
We differentiate ourselves in three ways:
- First we relentlessly search for top talent. Our premium team are selected for their innate sense of service and care, and their years of corporate experience. Both of these key attributes qualify them to become an integral part of our clients’ businesses for the long term.
- Second, we provide customized and personalized support. We get to know our clients’ unique requirements, and only then suggest the most qualified team member to support them. Clients and team members get to meet and decide mutually to work together to ensure great fit.
- And third, we go over-the-top on support. Our personalized service continues after signup as we work relentlessly to ensure that the partnership is successful for the long term, and offering a lifetime satisfaction guarantee.
Working remotely is an integral part of our business model, we don’t work any other way! I believe that the world is quickly moving towards more flexible working arrangements, and that professionals will value more and more the ability to work from home, or from anywhere in the world!
In our hiring model it has become evident that remote work, if done well, can be extremely successful for both employers, and employees. The talent pool is significantly expanded, time, energy (and money) is not wasted traveling long distances, infrastructure costs for offices and equipment are reduced to almost nil and employees value the freedom and flexibility. In order to make this shift, company cultures, hiring and training methods and attitudes will all have to change.
We wanted to give the opportunity to as many talented professionals as possible to join the industry and to find rewarding work no matter where they are located.
We look for individuals who have made a conscious decision to work remotely. These days with the rise of flexible working, many people apply for our positions without having necessarily thought it through, and it just seems like a novel idea, and one that should be “trialed”. We look for applicants who desire this lifestyle, who value the flexibility that it provides, and who will work hard to retain that privilege.
We have a 3-step interview process, which consists of a pre-recorded video interview, a video interview with our hiring manager and one with our CEO. The hiring process takes around 2-3 weeks for each candidate, as we really want to ensure each person is going to be a top-notch performer.
We have built an intranet or what we call “our Digital Vault” with onboarding videos, guides, and a knowledge base. It’s also a place where we post company news, video updates, and team insights. The onboarding is of course accompanied with video Skype meetings to go through the materials “in person” but the Digital Vault provides the ability for new team member to learn at their own pace, and to revisit the content, and review procedures whenever they have a question!
Communication in a virtual environment is absolutely key to building trust. And so for this reason we expect our team to respond to emails, and messages within 2 hours max during business hours. This also gives us peace of mind because our team is so spread out that if we don’t hear from someone for a whole day we do get worried!
We meet with our core team in person twice a year. It is somewhat of a retreat in that we work, and strategize but we also catch up and walk the dogs, and spend time visioning!
In our line of business, our team’s productivity is measured by our clients’ satisfaction, and so it’s a relatively easy gauge of performance!
We have made a concerted effort on hiring outstanding team members and so we work hard to empower them to do their work and what they know best – support their clients with premium help, and a heavy dose of care!
On a practical level, last year we built proprietary software, which allows our team to log their hours that they do for each of our clients. Our clients are able to login as well and see tasks that have been done on their account. This provides transparency and builds trust, and any issues about productivity and performance can be addressed more easily.
I would say that the number one key success factor has been to focus on OVER communicating. Since we don’t see each other at the water cooler, we have made a concerted effort to stay in touch with our team often, and to foster a virtual open door policy – that is, speak up no matter what the situation, and speak up often! We also make sure that communications are done via video as much as possible because it’s nice to “see” each other, and it helps us connect on a more meaningful level. We prefer Slack as the easiest means!
We have a monthly newsletter called Yours Virtually and the team takes turns to write in it from their perspective, and to share a little about their world, their life as a virtual assistant, and what works, and what they have had to improve upon! We have gotten really great responses from our team who feel more connected as a whole, and who can relate and learn from others’ experiences!
Our team is free to use whatever tools work for them! In fact, since we integrate fully into our clients’ businesses, we encourage our team to find out what their clients use as a way of making their support seamless.
We started the company as remote, so there is no other way for us!
Getting everyone on the same page! Since we don’t “see” each other on a consistent basis every day, we have to constantly be thinking about what to communicate to the team, and ensuring that everyone still feels part of our company, and understands and are reminded of our values. I wish there was more of a way to “mingle” just for the sake of it!
Raising the Bar by Cliff Bar Founder Gary Erickson. Gary’s inspiring story about how to lead a business with integrity and passion is absolutely riveting. I have read it a few times and tried to apply my learnings to our business.
I love this quote by Maya Angelou “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel” and try to apply it in all of my interactions by making sure I am mindful of how I make people feel.