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Working remotely is here to stay, and as organizations continue to grow, engineering leaders need to get wise on how they can create and maintain a culture of encouragement, inclusivity, and motivation.
This series explores how leaders can ensure their remote teams are feeling supported and empowered right from the hiring process through to the everyday and beyond.
In this article, Ivana Ng shares practical tips on creating and sustaining an inclusive work culture. She looks at what a ‘work culture’ actually means and the challenges of staying connected when teams are remote – including lack of spontaneous interactions, alignment of time zones, and partial distribution. Ivana then introduces norms, rituals, and spaces as the pillars of culture; she explores what they mean and how they can be established and aligned to cultivate a healthy culture. Her final advice is to get started and stay intentional, sharing questions that engineering leaders can ask themselves to begin the journey.
What does culture mean to distributed organizations? Which tools are required to define and implement it? As workplaces move towards becoming more remote, engineering leaders globally are looking for ways to continually shape and refine their cultures at scale in distributed environments.
This conversation centered around creating an inclusive and supportive remote culture with our panelists – Vaidehi Joshi (Lead Product Engineer at Forem), Daniel Burke (Senior Engineering Manager at Square), Ariadna Font Llitjós (Director of Engineering, Machine Learning at Twitter), and Danjue Li (VP Engineering at Procore) – and moderator – Katie Wilde (VP Engineering at Buffer) – discussing their own experiences of doing so.
During this discussion, our panelists explored:
- How being remote allows you to connect with people on a more personal level
- Video etiquette: what if people don’t want to bring their full selves to work?
- Joining a new company remotely as a leader and shaping the culture
- Managing work/life balance and burnout in a remote culture
- Synchronous and asynchronous communication
- How to measure whether your efforts are paying off
Santiago Esteva reflects on the uncertainties that the pandemic has caused in workplaces and the questions that engineering leaders globally are asking on how best they can lead and grow their teams. Santiago shares in-depth advice for three techniques to help ‘steer the ship’ in the right direction and empower the ‘crew’: building a dashboard with actionable metrics, objectives and key results, and tailoring management style to meet individual needs. Santiago recognizes that embedding these techniques into a culture takes time, and that if the reader does not know where to begin, ‘to always start on matters that impact people.’
As the Senior Director of Talent Acquisition at Twitter, Maisha Gray-Diggs understands exactly the impact and importance of a diverse hiring culture. At Twitter, they treat ‘engineering recruiting truly like lean innovation: failing fast and succeeding faster’, and in this article, Maisha shares the developments they have made in their hiring process to amplify diversity and champion flexibility.
Maisha discusses why organizations need to be diversifying their recruiting teams; recruiting, retaining, and promoting diverse senior engineering leaders; training engineering managers on diversity and inclusion; and sharing diversity recruiting plans between the business and talent acquisition. Finally, Maisha discusses the positive impact remote working can have on tapping into diverse hiring pools and the way in which this needs to continue beyond the pandemic for the tech industry to see progress in building diverse organizations.
A final takeaway
Building a thriving remote culture and adapting to the new normal is a tough gig for engineering leaders. But through knowledge-sharing, empathy, and best intention, practices can be created that allow remote teammates to feel included and supported no matter where they are in the world.