How to build a great corporate culture for a 68 person remote team: 10 tips from ConvertKit’s CEO
The founder and CEO of the marketing platform ConvertKit, Nathan Barry, has built a 68 person remote team. His company earned $29 million in revenue over the year. On his Twitter, Barry shares some tips on how to maintain the corporate culture with a fully remote team.
- Create a private team stories podcast. Everyone has the same get to know you conversations starting from zero. Instead interview them about their life story for a private internal podcast. The whole team can listen and get a head start on building relationships.
- Build a culture of written and asynchronous communication. This will save so many meetings, avoid people feeling left out if they weren’t in the meeting, and protect focused work. Your team will also be forced to clearly articulate and refine their ideas.
- Shared “no meeting” days. Everyone has the same day for focused work each week. Team members can have days that they don’t need to get the camera ready (e.g. hair, make-up, etc) if they don’t want to. At our company, we do “no meeting” days on Tuesdays and Fridays, which are wildly productive.
- Ask “What did you get into this weekend?” Every Monday morning we, have a bot that posts to Slack asking people to share a photo (or a few) from the weekend. It’s a great way to get to know co-workers on a personal level and see their families, interests, and lives.
- Create an automated email sequence for new team members. Explain how you work, where to find important things (like the joke slack channels), fun facts about team members, explain inside jokes, & more. It’s all automated so you can curate their first 30+ days at the company.
- Host “unsolicited feedback” sessions. This is where a small team (usually 4-8 people) gathers to talk about someone in the hot seat as if they aren’t there for 10 min. When it’s your turn, all you can do is sit & take notes, then you get 5 min to respond.
- Mandatory fun days. With teams feeling burnt out force, everyone to take the same day off. That means you don’t have to come back to a mountain of slack messages and emails. Come back & share a photo. We did a 3-day weekend for the last 3 months of the year.
- Schedule S’Ups. We use a bot to pick 3 people at random each week for a 30 min catch-up / get to know you call. A triad means you always get a dynamic group from a cross-section of the team. This builds relationships and breaks silos across product, eng, ops, growth, etc
- Host retreats 2x a year. Regularly gathering your team in person is one of the most important things you can do. 2x a year ended up being the perfect cadence for us. We split our time: 33% work & strategy, 33% personal connection, and 33% downtime & fun.
- Donate money together. At a team retreat, we divided our team into groups of 4 with one goal: give away $10,000 in $100 at a time. With 50 people on the team that meant each group had to find about 12 charities to support. Then we regrouped to share who we donated to & why.
“Don’t let anyone tell you company culture is defined by free lunches and ping pong tables. It’s a culture of trust, clear feedback, focused work, meaningful connection, and a shared mission.”