Remote work is a polarizing topic of conversation. Some people love it, while others are apprehensive toward the idea of an entirely remote office.
ReCharge has not only made it work, but the company has been able to scale globally via remote work. ReCharge is based in Santa Monica, CA, but has employees around the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, United Kingdom, France, Serbia, and Australia.
Chathri Ali, COO of ReCharge, shared their secret to remote success at Recur 2019.
How ReCharge does remote work
Chathri says ReCharge has been remote-first since the start and has been bootstrapped since 2015. She says having an office in Los Angeles created talent restraints since there’s not a huge tech pool there, encouraging the company to expand its boundaries. She also mentions that technology enabled ReCharge, and the entire company has had a remote-first mindset embedded into its culture.
To quote Peter Drucker, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.”
Focus on various areas of operational excellence
Chathri says ReCharge’s remote culture remains successful because of its focus on operational excellence in various areas.
1. Job descriptions:
Chathri says ReCharge learned early on that it was hard to hire from junior talent. Now the team hires people who have at least two to three years of experience. In addition, job descriptions are hyper-specific. They explain what they’ll be working on, who the candidate is working with on a team, and how performance is gauged.
2. Interview process:
If your company is remote, then that means your interview process will also be remote (most of the time). Chathri says teammates will regroup to go over which questions each person is asking and discuss what they’re looking for in a remote candidate. ReCharge has a streamlined approach to Zoom interviews. The company emails candidates explaining who they’ll be meeting with and then the team regroups after the interviews via Zoom to discuss the candidate. They gauge candidates on three core values: simple solutions, empathy, and ownership.
3. Onboarding week:
The first day of work at ReCharge is from the comfort of the employee’s own home. It sounds exciting, but can also be daunting. Chathri says ReCharge gives each new employee a full week of onboarding before releasing them with their respective teams. The onboarding process includes training modules and meetings with the VP’s of each department.
4.30/60/90 day review:
This is for every new hire. Every 30,60, and 90 days, management will check in with a new hire to see how progress is going. For example if you’re on sales, after 60 days you may be asked if you’ve made five sales calls on your own. These checkpoints are valuable for providing feedback, plus, 90 days is a good time period for deciding whether an employee is a good fit for the company or not.
Keep it human
Even though remote work requires communicating virtually, Chathri shared some ways ReCharge keeps it human.
ReCharge holds bi-weekly town hall meetings to reinforce culture and values plus review failures and successes each week. ReCharge also frequently gifts company swag to employees. There are multiple department retreats per year, as well as an annual retreat including the entire company.
Genevieve Nakos, Sales Consultant at ReCharge, shared her experience with remote work:
“Being a remote-first company, we are unable to hide behind these sort of typical cultural pillars—things like beer on tap and a ping pong table. Instead what we have is this culture of flexibility and transparent communication that allow us to really live our fullest lives.”
Remote has wrinkles
Even though remote has worked well for ReCharge, it’s not without a few blips. As Chathri says, with every wrinkle they try to work out a solution.
- Terminations: How do you terminate someone virtually? Firing someone via Zoom can be tricky. Chathri said ReCharge has mastered this by providing a lot of documentation during the termination call and inviting a third person from People Operations to join in.
- Ad hoc collaboration: No hallway chats or chair rolling to the next desk. The perks of physically being in an office with someone is being able to pop by their desk or catch them on their way back from the bathroom. You don’t have this option with remote, which means you need to be checking Slack more frequently.
- Team silos: You end up in a vacuum conversing in Slack channels with people from your direct team. ReCharge has created Slack channels for various interests to encourage meeting people outside their work teams. Chathri says there are channels for people who like to garden or cook.
- Global payment and benefits: Since remote work gives your company the option to scale globally, you need to figure out how to pay people and provide benefits globally. There are plenty of tools available—it’s up to you to find the one that fits your remote needs best.
The future of remote
There are more tools that will probably be built along the way, meaning remote work will only continue to improve. If you’re at all skeptical about remote work, ReCharge is proof that it can work… it’s scaled to 130+ employees worldwide.
In a sum, here’s how you can scale your remote team:
- Connect remote work to business goals
- Hire the right people for a remote-first mindset
- Focus on communication and culture
- Seek advice from those who’ve done it
“If you’re going to be remote, you absolutely have to commit to it.” - Chathri Ali