Erin Davidson, Recruiting Coordinator
Appirio, a Wipro Company, is a global services company that helps customers create next-generation Worker & Customer Experiences using the latest cloud technologies. Our free-thinking consultants deliver unmatched customer value by creating actionable strategies that deliver results quickly and help organizations adapt to a new experience-driven era. We do this by harnessing the power of one of the world’s largest crowdsourcing communities and thousands of pre-built solution accelerators. Appirio is a trusted partner to some of the world’s largest brands, including YP, Cardinal Health, eBay, Facebook, Home Depot, Sony PlayStation, Moen, and IBM.
Appirio started out as a remote company. We had a headquarters in San Francisco where local team members could work from the office, but those located in other locations were able to work remotely. Furthermore, those local to the San Francisco office would also have the flexibility to work from home for part of their week.
Remote work is extremely important to our business model as we are a company that encourages flexibility, work-life balance, and employee experience. We believe in what we call “the Virtuous Cycle.” What that means is, when our employees are happy and are given the tools and flexibility they need to do their jobs, in turn our customers will be happy with the experience they receive from us. Empowered workers lead to empowered customers. Flexibility is a key component of a successful virtuous cycle.
This goes back to flexibility. With our remote work we also offer flexibility within schedules. For our employees, flexibility is the biggest benefit. Working remotely makes it easier to have work-life balance. Starting with the lack of commuting, all the way to being able to pick up your kids from school.
We integrated remote work to best support our clients that are located throughout the United States and globally to provide a flexible environment for our employees. We look for individuals who are self-driven, motivated, and entrepreneurial so a flexible and remote environment allows our team members to thrive.
We conduct interviews for our remote jobs via phone, video, and in-person sessions. The variety of interview formats reveals our virtual culture to our candidates but also allows them to see a physical office location.
We love using Google Hangouts for our interview process as this is the same tool that we use internally to connect with teammates. This introduces the virtual nature of our operations to our candidates.
- The Recruiter Screen
- The Peer 1 – Cultural Fit
- The Peer 2 – Job Competency and Skills OR The Technical Exercise (if applicable)
- The Hiring Manager
- The Onsite
We don’t have any policies in place around communication norms for our remote team. We just ask our team to be respectful of others and respond in a timely manner, ideally within in 24-48 hours.
Our remote teams have many opportunities to meet in person. First and foremost, all of our new consultants in the United States visit Indianapolis within their first two months of employment for what we call Consulting 101. This is a workshop where new hires come together and learn about Appirio, our business, culture, and methodologies. In addition to this, many of our consultants meet in person when working onsite at our customers’ offices. While visiting, the teams often have the chance to go out to dinner after work and spend time together. For our non-consulting employees the in-person cadence may vary but most teams are able to get together as a full group at least twice a year.
The toughest part about managing a remote workforce is making sure everyone feels connected to the team and culture of Appirio. We work very hard to have local team events, virtual events, and constant video meetings; however, it can still be difficult to ensure everyone feels connected. Since you don’t see your team members in the office on a regular basis you may not always know what is going on in their day to day so it is crucial to find ways to stay in touch regularly.
In addition to promoting local outings and events, our CEO leads biweekly company-wide meetings with the team virtually. During these calls he and other executive team members address the “state of the union” and often open up the floor for employee Q&A. Additionally, our executive team travels and hosts these meetings from different cities across the globe for roadshows where local Appirians can attend in-person.
Appirio has a very generous policy when it comes to time off. Employees are given 15 days of vacation annually in their first and second year of employment, and then 18 days annually in their third, fourth, and fifth years of employment. Employees that have been with us over six years are given 20 days of vacation. We also offer 9 paid holidays each calendar year.
We have do not have a policy when it comes to sick time or personal illness. Appirio recognizes that an employee may need to miss work due to emergencies, personal, or immediate family illness, or medical appointments during office hours. We just ask that this does not exceed a reasonable amount.
The biggest fear is “culture cracks” as our CEO calls it. Since we do have such a significant amount of remote team members, it is crucial for us to keep a strong focus on culture and to ensure that we are constantly listening to our team and what is important to them. On our team, we have had a few times we felt some culture cracks. However, the team worked very hard to fix these cracks and engage team members in team events and training, and provide transparent updates and feedback.
From its inception, Appirio has had one headquarters with the rest of our United States employees working remotely. Globally, we have six offices: Indianapolis, San Francisco, Tokyo, Jaipur, Dublin, and London. Each of our global offices has varying levels of remote work flexibility. However, the remote work flexibility has been in place from day one of Appirio. We provide the tools and technology that allow our team to work anywhere in the world!
There are some things that Appirio has done to maintain a sense of community within our remote workforce. Since most employees don’t go into an office every day, or at all, we have worked to find other ways for everyone to stay connected. Our advice to other companies would be:
- Encourage video calls. This promotes face-to-face interaction between team members even if it isn’t in person.
- Encourage local meetups. Appirio provides a stipend to organize events or outings to any employees that work fully remote. For example, groups of Appirians in different cities could use this money to get together for a baseball game, a play, or a happy hour.
- Provide the necessary tools. At Appirio, our company operates 100 percent in the cloud. This makes it easier for our employees who work remote to stay connected from any location.
We love Google for Work! Google Hangouts are a great way to connect face to face with teammates on a video call or to quickly reach each other over messages.
Additionally, we utilize Salesforce Chatter heavily. It is a great way to share pictures, updates, kudos to a teammate for a job well done, industry knowledge, and company announcements. We have hundreds of specific Chatter groups dedicated to anything from “Craft Beer Lovers” to “Data Management Center of Excellence.” Appirians communicate frequently in these groups.
I find that I need to set “hard stops” for myself at the end of the workday when working from home. At a certain time of the day, unless something is extremely urgent, I sign off and begin my personal time. We have a very flexible environment that allows me to manage my own schedule so if I need to step out for a personal appointment, I have the ability to do so. I simply manage my work outputs instead of hours worked.