Building a Great Culture in a Remote World

November 28, 2023 | 59:21

Season 2, Episode 22

It’s no secret that companies have struggled with how to engage employees in a remote world. And recently there have been some bold statements in the business world highlighting how remote work is a problem in and of itself, even some daring to say it doesn’t work. What makes this even more confusing is the studies coming out are all over the board in their results.

On this episode of the Talent GTM podcast, Blueprint Co-Founder and CEO, Krissy Manzano, talks with Glenn Swindell, Americas VP of e-Commerce at Verifone, and the success he’s having in building a great culture with remote employees.

  • Why do people have such strong views on both sides about remote work?
  • Why does remote work for some companies and not for others?
  • What is working since COVID and what’s changed forever at the office?
  • What the future look like in the workplace?

We cover all of these questions and more while providing some great tips on how to create an engaging meaningful workplace whether you’re in a remote, in-office, or hybrid setting.


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Transcript Text

Krissy: Good morning, everyone. Happy Friday. Thank God it’s Friday. PGIF. I, I just, I’m always my happiest on Friday because I know there’s a lot, I can see the light. I can feel the light. Yeah. We all can. Right. So it’s so great. it motivates me to get all my work done, so I don’t have to do anything over the weekend, although I consistently fail at that recently.

So, but I’m going to try to not fail that today. welcome to another episode of the talent GTM podcast. I’m really excited about this episode, you probably you’re always excited about them, which is true, but, LinkedIn has been blowing up lately with a lot of people who want to talk about remote work, and how it doesn’t work.

And so today, I want to introduce Glenn Swindell on here. He is. The senior sales director and VP of Americas for e commerce at Verifone. He is a people first leader. he is all about innovation and being strategic with his teams and creating culture. And I’ve just. Experience that firsthand from him and I’ve known him for quite a while and, and, really excited to chat about how he’s created a great culture through remote work and what that looks like and how he is redefining community.

And so I think it’s a great episode, but also really want to dig into some of the recent things that are going on. where there seems to be this backlash, all of a sudden, now that people are hiring, for, against remote work, and I, I find it interesting, but Glenn, welcome to the podcast.

Glenn: Absolutely. Thank you so much for having me. it’s a pleasure to be talking today in regards to the remote workforce and just building that community. So, again, thank you for having me.

Krissy: Absolutely. it’s going to be a good one. So, just kind of going into the topic today is about building great culture in a remote world. But even really going deeper into does remote work, right? because that is what everyone’s talking about. and I know we, we definitely have thoughts on that, but, I believe it was the New York times or Forbes. It might’ve been both, but the percentage of people. Okay. Thank you. That we’re doing remote work before COVID with 4%.

Now we’re at like 53%. Okay. That’s not just a massive increase. That’s a massive increase in a very short period of time. And I’m going to remind people multiple times through this podcast. People do not like change. I don’t like change. That’s a lot of change at one time. Obviously, we know what that was from COVID.

Everyone was forced to work from home. Right. even in industries where it doesn’t actually even make any sense. but especially in tech, but the surprising thing was people were very productive. Right. And I, I’m not sure if, if you heard this before COVID, but literally every company I worked at was like, you will never be able to be productive and do well if you work from home.

Then the whole world did this experiment and companies at, at that time, we’ll get into current state, but at that time we’re incredibly productive. which, which took away a lot of that argument for, for folks. then, but you know, now I think some of the challenges people face and face then, I don’t know, show challenges now, how do you build culture? How do you onboard someone remotely? Because that’s harder. We’re not talking about folks like you and I were talking about people that just graduated of college or starting like completely new, their careers almost over a new industry. Like how do you train someone that, never got that in office experience, right.

That people, Phil, and there is, and there is value to that, right. Those are real questions. Curious your thoughts right now and taking a little bit of a step back of. where or why, like you’re thinking people are all of a sudden coming at remote work so hard and trying to highlight.

It’s not productive.

Glenn: Yeah, that’s a good topic there. And, just like you, I’m curious as to how people come up with that scenario because remote work does work. and especially over the past few years, we’ve seen that massive increase, as you stated, and, I am one of those that does not like change, but, change is inevitable, and, the fact that we are able to see now that remote work actually does work really just shows the increase in, awareness through remote learning. It is truly, I’d say now, an employee’s world. It’s, it’s not a world where employers have the, the upper hand anymore. So, I think as a whole, remote work has certainly impacted, huge, communities and, differences throughout.

Krissy: Well, I think people talk about remote work to blanket statement, right. I hear people say it doesn’t work. And I’m like, what, so why, why do you think that way? I’m curious, right? Did you experience that? is it not working with a certain industry that, you know, because look, we do recruiting and I’ll tell you, we’ve seen plenty of companies where it works very well. I’ve also seen companies.

Where it hasn’t worked well. Okay. But I’ll, the, the research, if we just go away from my opinion for a second, the research is all over the board that the New York times actually came out with a recent article. I’ll try to add it when we, when we post this, but in, in October of 2023. Right. And it is literally.

All over the board where, which, which actually comes to the, like some places as an example, right? Studies for productivity and work from arrangements. They really are all over the map. Some have linked remote work with productivity declines between 8 and 19%. And then others, it only drops by 4 percent for individual workers.

But then other research finds productivity gains of 13 percent earning 20 or even a 24%, right? And here’s like a big conclusion. a guy called Nick Bloom, he’s an economist at Stanford, and a prolific scholar on remote work. Right. And when he looks at all this, here’s what he’s kind of coming to the conclusion of how well-trained managers are to support remote employees.

And whether these employees have opportunities for occasional meetups, right? There are, there’s no one reason why companies are failing or seeing productivity and then why companies are being successful. It’s not just like a blanket piece and the interesting thing is mothers been able to stay and actually start to rise in the workforce.

Like we haven’t seen ever with, especially moms with kids five and under, right. That to me is one of the strongest things that it, it irks me, even people very close to me that when they say it’s just not a good thing. And I’m like, listen, I’m not going to tell you that there are some things that aren’t a problem.

But for you to say that we have to go back to the way that we were and be okay with whether you are saying it out loud or not. Of it, preventing a lot of women from being in the workforce, because I want to remind everybody, we do not have a country. We do not have a country. And we are the richest country in the world that supports working parents, especially working women.

Right. Okay. So when we see something that’s allowing them to get into the workforce, it should make us curious. And if we want to solve a problem, let’s really look at solving it versus I was comfortable with this. And I’m just going to make a blanket statement and say remote work doesn’t work because that’s not true.

There’s not research indicating that across the board. There’s research indicating that with some studies and then other ones are not right. So curious your thoughts on that.

Glenn: Yeah, absolutely. So, stepping back real quick when people continue to say. Remote doesn’t work, but they referenced the word it.

I always want to dig down deeper into, in regard to that, what is the definition of it? you can’t just say as a blanket statement, it doesn’t work. if, if somebody has the opinion that remote doesn’t work. Break it down. What is it that it doesn’t work? Hiring, training, the productivity of daily tasks, um, hours of people working. Defining it is so important, but, the function, to me, it does work because not only productivity, I believe has increased, but also it gives, as you stated, women and other minorities in communities, the opportunity, to have, employers to be at employers that maybe they couldn’t, travel to, or maybe they, weren’t close to.

So those in, in more diverse, communities, I think, along with just minorities, whether it be, women, LGBTQ, whatever it may be, have, have a chance now, in the workforce, especially with the remote world.

Krissy: I’m not saying there aren’t challenges, but people have moved outside of urban downtowns. Look at San Francisco. Absolutely. And they’ve moved out of that because it’s so expensive. Right there. It’s so expensive. It took forever to get in. That’s not changing. Okay. Maybe. But that’s not changing.

And so, but that is also where the, the, really the places you could put office environments at the top, is in a downtown, because that’s what makes the most sense when you don’t have people that live close to that anymore. And they’re far away from that and they refuse to travel your whole, this does, it doesn’t work is not going to fly at a high level.

Right. Absolutely.

Glenn: And just real quick, speaking in regards to that, think of it, especially in the tech boom industry, when you think about the San Francisco area, previous to this remote work, those in rural Iowa, rural Ohio, or what have you couldn’t apply or work for those, technology companies simply because they just didn’t work in the realm that they could go into the office, and now we’re able to see employers be able to hire such diverse as well as, fantastic expertise, professionals within these communities that may be a little bit rural. So, they’re not having to go in. I think it’s also a huge benefit to these employers to embrace that work, that remote work environment just because they’re able to open their player playing field.

Krissy: What’s your thought when people say, listen, it is. It’s not about the, some people will say it’s not about time management, but people are not able to learn quickly because they’re not around folks.

They don’t have someone that can really like, listen to what they’re saying. They’re not around a community where they’re, where they’re hearing and picking up what others are talking about. So, it takes them so much longer to get up to speed and they may not even get up to speed at all. They’re by themselves, right?

And they’re just not able. They don’t have enough of a mature experience drive to get up to speed with that. They need to be around folks, especially I think a lot of people would argue entry-level roles with folks that have less experience really struggle with remote work. What are your thoughts on that?

Glenn: I think again, going from the term it and then the they, the they is so broad. I think when you’re looking at training and just development of understanding and kind of the ramp up motion for me is you have to look at it as a complete individualistic approach rather than as a whole. So, understanding that person, how do they learn? How do they train? Is it hands-on? Do they interact? respond better with video and, written approach understanding how they actually learn and how they can ramp up and get up to speed quicker is really what’s efficient because if you I feel like if you don’t do that, you’re seeing a much longer approach for the ramp time simply because you’re taking an all in one inclusive approach to someone that may not learn that way.

And so identifying within your employees, how do they learn on an individual approach I think is so necessary.

Krissy: Yeah. Well, I mean, you kind of highlight something there. It’s like the biggest thing I see that remote work has kind of exposed is how many bad leaders we have. In effect. And in fact, yeah, that’s probably the best word. Cause it’s not, they’re not bad people, but I’m some, but not a lot of our group, but they don’t know how to be leaders. Right. And, and a lot of what they relied on was honestly like. Other, other reps or other, their, their peers getting them up to speed, which you should, right?

But that was like the the crux of kind of that. And when you have remote work, you don’t have that as much, right. it, in that sense, but just like even focusing on tech, because some of the things you’re highlighting are what a great manager would do. Right. And this is why management is not for everybody.

It’s a lot of work. You have to care about people that half the time do not give a shit about you. And so you, it’s honestly, I feel being a manager prepared me so much for parenthood. because you have to learn the patience and understanding what drives each individual while also holding a bar of accountability.

Now, now what I will say. I do think, and I don’t have the answer for this, right? Cause I don’t like to make over like blanket statements. I do think I could see it being harder to train entry. Like I’ll, I’ll see a lot of tech companies that like are remote, but when you’re in SDR, you have to be in office.

And I kind of get that because. For myself, for you, we have so much experience and know and have those time management skills and those productive skills. And that just that experience, which is, this is where experience does matter with your skillset, that we know how to do these things quickly. We don’t, I remember writing emails when I first started out, took me forever.

To write a really good email, even if it was super short, because I wasn’t used to doing that. and so having someone there, walk you through it, ask questions, cause you don’t always have a manager that’s available 24 seven. Cause half the time they’re in meetings that they don’t need to be in.

Right. So it’s like getting that instant feedback, that person next to you, I do see how that’s helpful and it helps. Build that culture like I, I get that, but curious your thoughts on those.

Glenn: I think that’s a fantastic point to make the only kind of caveat and maybe not argument, but the go for idea that I would love to say is that, when you think about hiring entry level folks, I think the approach is, Maybe as a seasoned rep, you’re not going to have to handhold as much, but within the SDRs or, or, the entry level folks, you are going to have to handhold a lot, a lot more than, and so with a remote work environment, I don’t think it’s.

It’s all too necessary, to be directly in office, but what I do think is super necessary is the collaboration between the entire team along with leadership. And so speaking in regards to that, it’s, it’s so important to understand that, you have that effectiveness through a video, you have that effectiveness through, a team’s coming on, even if it’s just sitting there.

SDRs are going to learn from their other teammates. And so having everybody come with the approach and learn together. I think that’s essentially the same collaboration that you would get in the office, if not even better, because you don’t have even more distractions that you would have in the office.

Krissy: Okay, that’s a fair point. The one thing I will say, so my husband now has to go into the office two days a week versus one. And he actually, he actually really liked the one, right? I think there’s, there’s, he was like, I’m okay with it. And the, the two days I know as an organization, they have, they’ve not liked, but he is, he is less productive with his days in the office. Because everyone’s talking to him, right? And I. It’s funny because when I look back before COVID, because people will say now everyone just wants to chat, but when I actually am really honest, and I think if a lot of us are really honest, when you look back at COVID, as an in, when you, for individual contributors, in my time as an individual contributor.

I never consistently worked eight hours a day, wasn’t I, because I’m not a robot and no one is right. And so to say now when I did work that or more was when I was a leader and that was because I was at meetings that 90 percent of the time I didn’t need to be in, but they were forced on my calendar.

That’s right.

Glenn: They could have been emails,

Krissy: Right? Exactly. Exactly. Or just not at all. Right. The brain, the brainstorming meetings, right? No one needs a brainstorm meeting. We need you to have a structure and agenda, another topic. But when I, and right now, like I actually, I’m going and meeting up with, with people more and doing more things.

And those days are my least productive days, right? At the travel to all this stuff. And it’s not to say that they’re not valuable, right? But there is an opportunity cost there. And I look at office now as being more community. But less productive. Right. And so it’s like figuring out how we evolve as a society, because we always evolve.

And I think this is a true evolution point where I don’t think, for someone to say that all remote doesn’t work. and then for someone to say, we’ll never do office again. I think those are like just blanket statements that are not just incorrect, but that’s just whether you like it or not, that’s just not what is happening.

And it’s not, what’s going to happen. And the people that refuse to look at data or even try certain things to explore that are going to be the ones that are left behind. but I just, I think about, I think about that, right? Because you just, how many, from sales? we had a pretty big office here in Nashville, and the number one complaint that everyone had was they couldn’t find a private place to take their calls because it was so loud on the floor, including CSMs and everyone else.

Right? So if anyone is like on the phone with clients, they were all, we were getting all these. We’re spending all this money on phone booths and people like, can I work from home this one day? I literally have seven calls and I can’t hear. And let me tell you what Americans hate the most. They hate the most is sounding like someone’s calling in from a call center.

Okay. Everyone talks about offshore work and we’re setting the stage for, I, I don’t know if you know why people like, why. Offshore work where it’s beneficial and then where it’s not. But one thing that nobody wants is spam. And if they, if you sound like you’re in a call center, it sounds like spam.

Sure. I don’t care if you’re the most reputable company ever. So you’re, so the ironic thing is we’ve always been trying to find private space, right? and it’s nice to have lunch with your colleagues. It’s nice to build that relationship because it ties you to the company. So I get that, right. It makes it, but it going, just kind of maybe think of a couple of things, but we’ve seen a significant cultural shift in organizations, right.

Due to the rise of remote work and. I know this is something you and I talked about, but how have you created a culture with a pure remote team, right? What do you do that you found that’s beneficial? Because I think the argument is a valid one where they say, I get it, but I need people to feel like they’re a part of the company.

Right. And that is something that in office does that complete remote. It can make you feel like you’re on an island, even if you remove the productivity element where people are productive, how do you make them care about the company and have the passion and the energy like being in office does right, which I think is a fair point.

Glenn: Yeah, I definitely think it’s a fair point. And it’s a talking point, in discussion. of just having that remote team. I think from me and my perspective, what I, have learned that, assists in my ability to really create that community and that, that, that just culture that really is vibrant within the org or at least within my team is, just as I stated earlier, just being on Zoom sometimes with it in the background, you’re able to have that feeling.

That’s that you’re working with somebody with people on just casually be able to chat or throw ideas off each other, similar to what it would be like if you were in office on. So that’s one of the items along with that is creating the ability to be in person. You don’t have to be in person, 24 7 with your work or go in office, create the ability, such as a quarterly meeting, quarterly meetings and different various places, Make it fun and energizing as well.

So everybody meet up in, in, in San Francisco, or then the next quarter, everybody meet up in Iowa farms to go pick corn or something, but, something along those lines every quarter. and, and I urge leaders to do that simply because it builds that culture and fosters that ability to stay engaged.

When you don’t have that ability, you’re losing a lot of, employees engagement. And it’s just really reinvigorating for, people to do that.

Krissy: Yeah. A hundred, a hundred percent. I mean, I just think this is a moment and I love that. Those are some things that you do there. I think this is a moment where we are as a culture, redefining what community looks like to get those needs, right.

You look back, historically, right. Right. Over 50 years ago in the U S standpoint, but we’re, when you used to, and a lot of cultures still do this today, but outside of the U S where, when you had kids, right? Like the whole family lives together, right? Like my husband is Filipino in the Philippines. They all live together. So they all help each other and do those things. And, and for the U S that’s not a standard or normal thing. You could argue that it’s. It’s helpful. In some cases, it might be toxic, right? The last thing you need to do is all live together, but we don’t do that.

Right. and I say that we, like we Americans have, that’s how we evolved from what we consider community right or wrong. and I, I think this element that, you have to be in the office consistently to have any form of community is, is too big of a blanket statement because. When we really look back at it half the time, like there was actually less productivity and more distractions, in, in getting work done, but.

What I’ve seen some people do really well on top of some of the things that you’ve mentioned is that, I’m seeing more people hire in hubs, right? Hey, I want to hire in Denver. I want to hire in Nashville or Tennessee so they can find ways for folks to get together, right? So, or it’s, Hey, it’s once a quarter we get together or My team, we, we haven’t done a great job with this in the past, like month, but we try to get together every other week for a team meeting. Right. those types of things. And I always feel more energized and less productive on those days, but I always feel more energized. And I think there’s that balance.

It’s really important. Right. and just creating those, those connections that in person does make a huge difference with, but, I just find. That, I think we’re really trying to determine, what does community look like? And we know that there’s an element that coming together in an office of some sort is, is beneficial, but is that once a quarter?

Is that once a month? Is that two days a week? What does hybrid look like? Because I do think hybrids the future, but I don’t think that it’s defined and maybe it won’t ever be fully defined. But what’s going to work, the best essentially. So any, any thoughts on that?

Glenn: Yeah, I mean, I definitely think that when you look at the hybrid thought process there, I think it’s extremely beneficial in a lot of cases. Again, looking at the individualized level. it’s definitely beneficial to a lot of people. The one thing that, you’ll see, nowadays is that these larger employers are, leasing out their major headquarters and such because so many people are headquartered or that are remote.

So, I think downsizing headquarters or in-office approaches on a more, expanded scale. So maybe you had Two headquartered offices, which were very large, lease those out and take the approach of, more regional offices so that there is that ability to have hybrid, opportunities there. So it’s kind of the same approach, but not mandating it be in a, 1 or 2 centralized locations.


Krissy: Well, and the thing that I think a lot of companies miss is they get so focused on what people are doing and not staying focused on their outcomes. Yeah. Right. if someone is being. Like a great cultural contributor to your organization. Okay. And they are hitting all the things that you expect them to hit outcome wise.

Why do you care how they get there during the day? If they’re not, if they’re literally morally and ethically and culturally, everything you need. Right? And they’re hitting their goals. Why do you care that they spent two hours at lunch or that they started at 9:30 or it took them four hours? Why do you care?

Glenn: Right? I agree. And just stepping into that. I think why, so many employers love to really focus in on that is simply because of the, what’s been the routine is. work environment, which is just bog employees down with as much work as possible, even if it isn’t in your realm of scope. I think it’s, it’s the aspect of I need to get every single moment and hour and minute of their eight hour shift throughout the day, even if it’s, putting them into a scenario where It’s really not their work environment.

And so I think, just from my approach coming to my teams and such is, Hey, I don’t really care if you start at 10 AM and you leave at 2 PM, as long as you’re executing on your work, your job requirements, hitting quotas, hitting goals, communicating effectively. I let that be how it needs to be for them.

And this remote work, we have to accept that.

Krissy: Totally. And I’ll also highlight recognize if someone’s well, what if I need to Slack someone, I have a question that’s not available. So that’s a part of the job. That is a part of response. So if, so if someone is going to be done working by 2 PM, well, guess what, if there are questions or something, they need to be available during working hours to answer those.

Right. So it’s one of those things like. And I just, it is, I’ve seen so many women, including myself, like we are able to be the parents, the moms that we want to be. We’re able to have the businesses we want to have. And I’m not saying we can’t have that being in an office at all, but let me tell you something.

When you have to leave work. To pick up your sick kid from daycare. Cause here’s what happens when you start daycare, which a lot of families, that’s what they have to do. And they pay an outrageous amount for it. Okay. You not only have to get there earlier so you can get to work on time, right? So you literally get no life on those days, literally no life.

If you want to talk about burnout and not someone not feeling motivated, but oftentimes the first year and any doctor will tell you this, those kids are sick. Constantly. Cause our immune system’s getting built up. When you leave an office, not once, but multiple times, because you got to go pick your kid up.

You, even if you have a great partner and you’ll switch up and tag team on it, there’s not one person in that office. I don’t care if you’re a woman and you go through it because this is culturally how we’re set up that their instant thought, it may not be their permanent thought. Some it is. That doesn’t judge you because they’re always having to leave.

They’re always having to leave. Okay. That’s gone. When you are in an office, you don’t have to go, I don’t have to tell everybody like the personal things that I’ve had, I’ve got to go pick my kid up again. I’ve got, it’s I can, I can make it all work. sometimes you have to, but it’s such a nice relief and to be able to do, help and do those things.
Right. Versus what people start doing then is they see that and it’s like bias comes in and now they start taking away in their head at They’ve been gone. Now that was three hours this week and now I’m going to look at their performance harder versus halftime. I have a sick kid today. That’s it.

You don’t know anything else.

Glenn: Yeah, and just taking it from that approach of what you’re stating of the, aspect of visual, aspects when somebody leaves the work, day and needs to go and take off. Taking it from a different approach here, what I’ve seen as extremely beneficial with this remote work environment is simply the fact of when you think about LGBTQ, plus individuals, I myself am a part of that community.

And so what I’ve seen is that. you’re enabling, these communities and minorities to have a better work environment because a lot of times when, LGBTQ employees go into work, there’s so much bias based upon these communities. And so if somebody sees visually on a daily occurrence that Somebody in their office is of this nature, then that bias is there automatically immediately.

And so the judgmentalness of their work ethic, their, their personal approach or what have you is automatically criticized. And so I think remote work again, gives that capability to be a minority in the workforce and strive, and thrive a matter of fact, thrive even better.

Krissy: Yeah, well, and I think it’s. When I look at problems that people are facing that, that are like onboarding, right? Onboarding remotely is hard. I’d be curious, like how you do that. It is hard. Onboarding is hard period though. let’s be real. It is. Everyone is always oh, well we were too small. We don’t have an enablement team.

Our enablement team isn’t there. And I’m like, listen, this is nothing against enablement because I love enablement, but I’ve just yet to see really any company. That’s you all have, you are, you’ve got this so together that the hiring managers just really don’t have to step in here. and it’s a lot to ask, like hiring managers are stretched so thin.

I have immense empathy and sympathy for that because I’ve lived it. And I also just see it all the time. Right. You’re asked to. Yeah. I think it’s so onboarded while, managing other ones. But then you’re pulled into all of these meetings and special projects that don’t even let you focus on, on your real job.

You’re being pulled in a million different directions, but how do you cause that would be something that someone would say, like, how do you onboard people effectively when they’re all over the place? Right. I think whether they’re entry level or not.

Glenn: Sure. I mean, I think whether it be entry level or, CEO, VP, whatever it may be, I think hiring and onboarding no matter what is definitely difficult.

I think the approach that you have to come with is the understanding that initially there’s going to be a lot more time requirement and holding. To get them a little bit more ramped up to kind of release the aspect. I think with remote work, why it is actually in my thought process, valuable in the approach of onboarding and training is because now you can essentially hand, if there’s training videos or documents that need to be reviewed or taken.

Now that employee that’s being on boarded has the capabilities and time to be able to do it without being, interrupted so many times along with that is, leaders again. We spoke about that a little bit earlier in regards to ineffective leaders, but And my thought process is that when you are an effective leader, you’re understanding truly how it is effective for that new employee to be onboarded.

So an all in one inclusive approach is not going to work. You have to understand, how are they going to respond? Do they respond by you just handing out documents and then reading it? Or do you need to go through a step-by-step process through said software on that approach? I think understanding and identifying that is so important.

Krissy: Are you saying we should prioritize onboarding our employees to help them be successful?

Glenn: Good question there. I like that. That I think, I think you should, no matter what, prioritize a people first Approach in a culture. So instead of thinking about yourself and how many meetings you may have to have or what have you, prioritize your, person, your people within your team and their success as well.
Don’t just look in the mirror and say, I, I, I, me, me, me. Think about your team as a whole and how can y’all be effective.

Krissy: Yep. Yep. Totally. I think, we’re also in this era of responsible growth, right? So we, we’ve left this golden era of just like hiring like crazy. And here’s the thing, like we could hire like crazy.

And if, five of the 10 people we hired didn’t work out, it was okay. Cause we’ll just go hire some other ones. Right. And it’s what’s happening right now for remote work has really kind of, it’s forcing people to care about things that always should have mattered. Right. Especially in an era of responsible growth.

It has always been important to onboard people, right? The whole, I want them to have all this experience because I don’t have time. I’m a startup. Again, another topic, everyone thinks they’re a startup, and so they can just do whatever they want. Right. It doesn’t work that way. I recognize the amount of time it takes, but or this is what has to happen.

And I think what really good companies have done, they put together a plan, whether they’re fully remote or they’re hybrid, right? And they go, okay, here’s why we’re doing this. And here’s before we go and hire and hit these numbers, even though we have all this pressure to go so fast. And we’re, we have to get this stuff in place first.

Like people do not appreciate planning and structure. They just, they, they’re like, you don’t have time. The amount of people that have told me, you’ll never grow. You’ll never be successful as a business owner. If you don’t move fast. We’ve just proven that a million times, but also it’s do I have to just prove that when you see all the train racks around and the amount of companies that fail, that shouldn’t fail because they were just like go a hundred miles an hour, that’ll get you there faster.

But we would never tell anyone. Hey, if you’re going to go from this city to this city, you’ll get there by going. A hundred miles an hour, you’ll get there faster. You’re gonna get in a million wrecks or stopped. Right, right. Potentially never even make it right. So going fast is not strategic. It’s the same.

I mean, you look at it through, it’s, it’s an analogy even through sports, right? Being the fastest person is not going to win a game regardless of what that sport is, unless it’s swimming, of course, but that’s a fair track. That’s very true. boy, don’t get me in a race, swim and I would fail immediately.

Glenn: But I think the approach, the approach with, the scaling at an exponential speed or what have you, I think if you just look at it with every stage or process needs an SOP. How you truly execute on that SOP doesn’t have to be a complete step-by-step or anything of that nature. It’s a guideline.

It’s guide rails that establish a foundation. and so whether it be hiring or onboarding or, scaling or what have you. I think everything needs an SOP. And so, creating those SOPs, that standard operating procedures there, I think those are just steps and guard, guardrails rather than a, a step to say it’s mandatory that we hire immediately.
It’s mandatory that we scale so fast. It’s mandatory that we train this particular way. I think that you’re, you’re seeing that defined more and more within this remote work.

Krissy: Totally. And I think. Forbes actually wrote about this, right? For, for talking about remote work and, and how to create the conditions for productivity. And they’re like, you’ve got to align work with skill levels and get people meaningful work and look at interviewing folks. Based on their skills. So again, we’ve had, it’s a strong word. It doesn’t mean people are lazy, but the process we’ve had has been very lazy for how we hire people over the last 10 before COVID over the last very, very lazy.

Right. Let’s go fast. I just want to look at this profile and I just want them to make me feel good, which basically is I don’t really have to try. I might be on a bunch of interviews. So I feel like that’s a lot of work, but I’m not really trying. I’m making people figure out like, hey, I want you to read my mind and make me feel good.

And then you just come here. I want you to be a self-starter, which means I don’t have time to invest in you. because you have this experience or, whatever it is. And. It, that process is lazy and it doesn’t work and we’re being forced to look at, we’ve got to put work into these things in the front end.

We have to understand what are the skills that are needed because experience does not determine success. I preach all the time.

Glenn: It is so important to say, that, that phrase right there, I think is just so important, honestly, it’s just. I think that’s something that so many leaders and so many organizations really need to lean into. Success is not dependent upon your skill level whether it SDR or a VP. It’s really, I think, ambition to learn and ambition to actually get that skill.

Krissy: Yeah. Hey, question going back a little bit on the culture piece. You had talked about how there’s, I think it’s once a month that you do a, yeah, it’s a virtual Zoom.

Okay. Tell us more about that and how it works.

Glenn: Once a month. it’s a Zoom, meeting essentially. And it’s not really a meeting because all we do is, within. That day or whatever it may, it may be, one day that’s a middle of the month or first of the month. It kind of fluctuates, but all it is a Zoom where everybody gets on the meeting and there’s no agenda.

There’s no anything. Everybody is still doing their work. But all they’re being able to have is that approach of camaraderie from, 13 other people being in the Zoom, y’all all working, still getting all of your work done, but maybe being able to collaborate a little bit here and there, or, joke while you’re doing the meetings or while you’re doing. It to me provides that sense of being in office because you have others that are there on the Zoom and you’re able to just see them every now and again, whatever it may be, but there’s no set agenda. There’s no goal. Everybody’s still working. And for me, doing that once a month for minimum of two hours is so effective because you’re allowing that, camaraderie, that collaboration, and then that just feeling of togetherness.

Krissy: Can I Because I know people that are going to be listening to this are going to poke holes in it. So let me ask some answers or questions that they would be asking. You, you, you might’ve answered my first one. Cause you said two hours. Cause I was going to say, how do you have a whole day committed and people, especially if they’re in sales, they’re on phone calls, right?

So it’s like they go off camera and they’re on mute. So how is that? How does that even for the two hours? Like, how does that work? Right? When they’re trying to do their job, which might be talking to people, not be on a Zoom and they might need to use their Zoom to actually show a demo or something.

Glenn: Yeah, that’s a great question there.

And so what we really like to focus in on is, is if you’re able to attend, if what we really want to ensure is that a month in advance, we are scheduling that out so that you don’t book over it. You have that allotted amount of time to be able to do that. That’s something that I don’t think that it has a whole bunch of wiggle room.

Now let’s just say you are in a call center and all day you are, all day having to be on the phone calls and such, what I’ve seen, is allowing that call rep, or STR or whoever has to use their Zoom and phone calls throughout the entire day is let the, employee. Start their day maybe two hours later, so they’re only having to be on those calls for maybe two hours less.

And then afterwards, they’re able to do the execution of admin work for after working hours, which also accumulates to, let’s say, a happy hour of approach or you think of that nature. Does that make sense? Yeah, yeah, I think I was just gonna say it’s so, Okay. It depends obviously upon what the environment of the organization or the reps or what their duties are, but nine times out of 10, it works extremely effective, given the scenario, if you’re just doing admin work, you’re able to just be on a call with Zoom, with most of your team.

Just being effective and taking care of your work, but also having that camaraderie and collaboration. Okay.

Krissy: So question, maybe a two prong question here. Someone could say, I mean, honestly, this might be like the definition of not being productive because now you’re not making the phone calls you need to make for two hours out of this day. Like what are, what are people doing? And also. This would be one that, again, I don’t believe, but I’m going to highlight it because I bet I want to hear your answer based on what people do. Well, Glenn, you’re saying that this works because you’re on this podcast and we’re talking about it, but like, how do we know that it actually really works? Does your team really like it or do you like it as the leader?

Glenn: That’s a great question there. So because I have such a people first approach, I really lean into what does my team like? What does my team respond to? And so what I’ve seen is that even though Let’s say that person may lose two hours over the entire month of that, caliber just because of that two hour, meeting, how much time think of it as a leader, how much time are you actually gaining in productivity just from allowing that collaboration and that culture to really get into your month, your day, your everything.

How much time are you actually gaining and productivity. Think of that approach when you think it doesn’t work and you say, Oh, this will never work. Well, instead of just thinking that try it. Does it work? Absolutely. Try it. Why not try it? Yeah. Because at the end of the day, if the approach is, is that, oh, that’ll never work.

If we said that throughout this entire, time, look at remote work. They said that before it would never work. Yes. Now working.

Krissy: So how does that work when you have 10 people on a Zoom call? Like two hours. You just have people that are just quiet and turn their cameras off? Because it’s different than conversation in an office where you can have side, you can’t really have a side conversation.

Glenn: On Zoom we really want to, promote it, to have cameras on, and it could just simply be two hours of complete silence and somebody in the background on your Zoom.

But what you do feel in that moment is that somebody’s there with you. You have that feeling of somebody’s there with you, just as in the office, if you’re in cubicles. Y’all could be silent. Yeah, but you could feel and know that somebody’s right there with you. It’s the same approach there. It’s just different because remote work.

It’s different.

Krissy: Yeah, do I know where we’re getting close to time just A couple more things on this. What are your employees like? What have your employees said about this that they like giving you that feedback?

Glenn: Yeah, the feedback is yeah, just just a few points. There is one that it provides that feeling of togetherness that you’re not alone.

That you have that, that team that’s always going to be behind you. You can talk the talk, but are you going to walk the walk and stand, right beside your employees? and it just brings that team, thought process and that team feeling really into effect. and so they mentioned that they do that approach.

Additionally, they mentioned that, throughout the month, sometimes they get bogged down and they get this feeling of, maybe a pessimistic approach or they’ve not closed a deal or, their calls are not really being answered or anything. And all that allows them is to, let’s say, make a phone call on your cell phone to a prospect, and they don’t have to talk directly about it, but you’re making a call as if, again, in a cubicle right beside, you’re knowing that somebody else is beside you.

It’s the same aspect in that same approach, just different with the work. And so what I’ve heard from my reps and every, all of my team is that it has been effective. Now, sometimes there are one. Before they get in the meeting, they’re like, Oh, man, do I have to get into this? But then when they get into it, the statement of feeling is that they enjoy it, that they really liked it.

Krissy: I mean, to your point, I, I’ve never tried this before, so I, I only know what you were sharing. Right. So, but I would say that anyone that is skeptical before you go hard on that, try it first. Right. Cause I can see, it’s if you have a real time live question, Oh, you, I just, what do I do?

Or no one’s answering my calls today. Right. I feel at the Pavilion GTM Summit, what was really powerful is everyone talking about the challenges that they’ve had this year and everyone having the same ones, honestly. Right. And so that is where community is important. Hey, we’re all feeling that we’re not alone on an island, but also to the two hours piece is like the amount of time that you save by not having to drive in every day.

That’s so unproductive. I think on top of just evolving, we’re evolving from the industrial revolution, right? And you can be like, what do you mean we’ve, but we haven’t work wise. We still like the 8 to 5. this goes into slightly different topic, but it is on topic. You’re starting to see companies in the US pick up 40 work weeks, right?

There was like 100 that did it as an experiment. All 100 said they never go back, right? They’re working less. Which that’s what everyone’s concerned about with remote work, because you work less, but we’re finding that people, and this is like the mental health is really kind of the parent of all of this.

People care about their mental health and we are not robots and we’ve been pushed to try to perform like robots. And when everyone got away from that, it’s like you get away from some toxic relationship and long enough and you’re like, wait a second, I can see now. And I, I’m never going to do that again.

And so I think that, are so many things, especially as you get more experience, like you don’t need 40 hours every week to do, sometimes you need more than that. And sometimes you need less. It’s very trans. It’s different. And I think that’s the beauty of remote work, but also here, here’s the reality.

We’re never going all in office. Like 24, seven, I will make that statement across the board, across the board. I mean, not saying that some folks or some companies aren’t doing that, or, like obviously if you’re in a restaurant or you’re in a certain industry, like you have to be there that, that, that makes sense.

Right. But for tech specifically, that’s not going to be the norm. And, and for every company that pushes back and says, We have to do this. There are 10 other ones that are saying, this is not what we’re going to do. And that’s where candidates are going to go to, if they care about that. There are some people that care about having hybrid.

There’s some people that are like, Hey, that’s not for me. So there’s just, there’s opinions here where I don’t think it’s that employers have. Or employees have more leverage or been over employers. I just think that the leverage is, is more equal now. Right. And, and I think we’re being forced, when you talk about Kind of closing, what works, right?

It’s, it’s actually like spending time digging into building out structure and process for how you hire, how you onboard, how you measure success and not saying, I don’t have time for this because we have too many things. Well, you got to make time for it. Like you have to make time for it because remove even just the productivity argument of remote work, which again is all over the board.

People have moved. They are not in urban areas anymore. They’re not going to go so we have to think about it differently. They’re not going to leave their home in the suburbs. Sorry. That’s just not going to happen.

Glenn: Just speaking from example here, our organization, our CEO probably, I think maybe six months ago, he actually tried to, enlist No more work from home policy for a lot of departments.

And what you saw was a absolute mass influx of extremely unsatisfied employees and also people leaving the organization because they were not going to come in. And so I think taking that and leaning into that and saying, I accept it and I need to, take that approach. I don’t need to require the employees to do that.

I think it is something, that employers need to really focus on.

Krissy: Yeah. Well, it’s just the argument that. You won’t be productive when you have plenty of people who are not everyone, but I’d also argue they may not be productive in office at some in office. Some might be more productive. Like it’s figuring out what works for people, right?

That’s where hybrid again, hybrid doesn’t need to be defined as two days in office. Like it could be, three days a month or whatever that looks like. I think there is absolutely an element of that, but we’re still trying, kind of figuring that out, but. You have to care about onboarding and we have to put that focus there and we have to care how we hire and just tell employees that it won’t work when all of us have experienced where it does work and how it is beneficial.

It just makes individuals look very micromanaging and very tone deaf to what’s going on. And last thing I’ll say, employees that have to travel into an office. Have to spend 31 to 50 more every day and the entry level employees or folks that make less actually have to pay more in order to go into an office.

They have to, and so look at our economy right now, right? everything is so expensive. We’re working on inflation, but it’s still so expensive. So there are so many elements to this outside of just. A blanket statement of productivity, right? It’s of why you’re not going to get like, folks will try other things, in order to have that flexibility and people want to be treated like adults.

And they’ve been able to find ways to be successful and have more of a life. They’re going to focus on that, but I do think, I love the two hours a month piece I could see like at a high level, how that could be. Weird for some to think, how do you do that?

But then just kind of talking through it. And I would just say like for folks, try that. And then meeting up quarterly, finding what works. So for your organization, right. For some people it is every other week to meet up once together and hire and hubs. And for others it’s meet once a quarter and do what you’re like, it’s not all the same.

And I think, again, it kind of goes back to that lazy process approach was like in office was all the same. It was all eight to five, nine to five when no one had to think about that. Now we have to think about that. We have to think about what hybrid means to our organization. We have to have a really clear and strong why, and to say, this is why this matters to us.

This is what we’re going to do. And so we, and we’re going to focus and put the front work. And, that working on the front end to hire folks with these skill sets, and we know what we have to do to make them successful. And this is how we’re going to create community. Right. And I think we just have to be much more open on how we create community, but to care about it versus again, taking that lazy process of if you’re in the office, there’s community because that doesn’t one, just because you become friends with someone doesn’t mean you do a good job at work.

Right. And so you ultimately want people to do a good job at work and care about the company. It can’t just be. Like, rah, rah, right? we’re not, we’re over the whole, like kegs in the office. I hope we are, let’s party. And, it’s such a much bigger deal. And so we need to, I think that’s where employers really have to kind of, they’re going to 2024 and hiring is ramping back up and it’s still hard as heck to hire.

Right? and there’s a lot of reasons for that, but last thing about work. Last thing I just want to say real quick is that I think when leaders look at remote work as a whole, I think remembering that you are enabling your employees to be autonomous. Have that autonomy, let them have that autonomy.

Glenn: Don’t micromanage. Don’t be that ineffective leader, that really drives someone away from an award, or from that leadership. So just remember that autonomy is super important and that’s a motivator.

Krissy: Yeah, it’s, it’s exactly a motivator. So I think that’s super important. And don’t feel cause you’re a startup or you’re growing too fast that.

You don’t have time to do these things. Could you do that’s the biggest lie out there. Is it hard? Yes, it is hard, but it’s not as hard as you think. And it will save you 10 times the amount of time that you’re wasting because you didn’t do that on the front end. It will save you tons of money and tons of productivity issues, but you have to do it on the front end.

Right? It’s I mean, honestly, it’s if you want to lose weight and work out and eat better, right. But then you’re going to feel better once it happens versus I want to do that, but I don’t want to do things to get to that place. It’s, it’s a very similar thing. It just, I mean, there’s a million analogies for that, but anyways, I know we could talk about this for a while.

I know we’re out of time, but I. So I so appreciate coming on here and sharing some of the things that have worked really well for you. I know you are a servant leader and that’s what’s so needed right now, right? Like it’s changing, honestly, the hearts of leaders of what you have to be, to be a successful leader and how you have to dig in and care, right.

In order to have this success. and I think it’s going to continue to evolve and we’ll get more and more data, but, some great things for folks to try here. most importantly, understand that, it’s, it’s on you also to figure out and test some of these things on why what’s going to work and have a strong why behind it. That is motivating and encouraging people to be adults and not treating them like their children.

Glenn: Right. Absolutely. Yeah. I definitely appreciate you having me on today. And, it’s been a fantastic conversation and. I just want to piggyback on that. Not everything is going to work for every organization or every leader, but I think saying that it doesn’t work before you try it out is, is, is not good for your organization or you as a leader or your employees.

So please don’t just say it’s not going to work, test it out and give it a try first.

Krissy: Yeah. And if it doesn’t work, be open to the fact that You could be the problem. It wasn’t working. You could be the reason it wasn’t working. it’s not always just, I tried it, you may not have actually tried it well, right?

It’s like someone not hitting a quota. It doesn’t mean that the quota was wrong. It could just be you don’t have the skills to hit it.

Glenn: You got it.

Krissy: All right. Well, Glenn, that’s all the time we have today. I so appreciate you and your advice and wisdom. again, an ongoing topic I’m sure we’ll, we’ll be chatting about.
I know it’s, a hot one and, hoping that some companies and, and hiring managers listening to this can take some pieces of advice here and really find ways to, make their culture stronger and, and their employees even, even more effective at what they do.

Glenn: Absolutely. I appreciate you so much, again, for having me today, and, yes, looking forward to the continuing of this conversation.

Krissy: Awesome. All right, well, until next time, we’ll see you later. Thanks, you all.

Glenn: Thank you. Bye bye-Bye.

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What roles do you recruit?
Our team superbly recruits for any roles within go-to-market (GTM) functions, including:

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We go deep on your business and into talent markets to foster connections that other recruiting firms tend to miss. And we work with our hiring clients to ensure excellence in their hiring process. Please reach out to us for more information!

Is SaaS experience important when hiring?

Hmm, what does this mean anyhow?! We recommend defining the skills and behaviors sought before running a search rather than using buzzwords or phrases from other people’s job descriptions. We help employees go beyond acronyms to ensure they develop robust job descriptions that tie to specific candidate profiles for targeting in the market. Need help? Let us know!