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Global Startups, Like Buffer, Build Distributed Teams — Here’s How

Modern global teams have awesome people spread across multiple timezones. Lots of teams have digital nomads changing locations faster than we can keep up with.

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  1. Academic Achievement Is A Delusion

    While most corporate positions demand a certain GPA and experience, academic achievement doesn’t hold as much value in startup. There are two reasons: First, skills are more valuable since nearly all positions involve multitasking. Secondly, for an entrepreneur, it is more important that new hires have dabbled in a side project of some kind that has enabled them to widen their perspectives. For example, most of our staff has contrasting interests. When coupled with their skills this helps them bring the best ideas to the table.

  2. Continued Learning Is Valuable

    Continued learning is another aspect that all entrepreneurs should explore with remote employees. This may include acquiring a specific skill through short-term programs in their local area. This can make them feel valued along with positively increasing their ownership of an assigned role.

  3. Culture Is Critical

    Leo Widrich mentions that culture is an essential and integral part of a growing startup, especially in a remote setup. Since remote team members don’t meet physically, this element binds them to the core values of the team and the company. For instance, at Buffer, applicants are gauged on their communication skills and how well they can express themselves both internally and on social media platform like Twitter. A healthy culture ensures remote employees value your startup, even in the absence of frequent physical meetings.

  4. Do They Love Your Product?

    Before I hired remote employees, I made sure to induct them through product through demos and hands-on experience. We’ve also made sure they know our competition and our story. This has given them better insight into our product and helps them appreciate it. The same hiring philosophy is followed at Buffer too. Buffer’s leadership team is a firm believer of transparency; having knowledge and first-hand experience with Buffer is a prerequisite for new hires.

  5. Value Communication

    The success of any remote team depends on open lines of communication. Thankfully, technology has made it easier to connect. Courtney Seiter, Buffer’s content crafter, shared an awesome post on the remote working tools they use, which includes HipChat, Sqwiggle and Hackpad – to name a few. At AppVirality, I depend on Fleep, Skype, Google Hangouts, Google Docs and Wunderlist to organize tasks for our remote employees.

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