Who needs an office anymore?

Zapier is the author of a recent survey which tells us that 95% of employees in the tertiary sector (United States) want to work from home and that 74% would even say they are ready to leave their job to do so. Some companies are going further than a one-off telework day, they have chosen to do without offices. This is the case of Zapier, a web service that facilitates automation and connection between different applications. With 300 employees in 27 countries, Wade Foster can boast of concrete feedback!

In the early days of Zapier, in Columbia Missouri, teleworking was not a topic of discussion between the co-founders, but a simple reality. Zapier was then a side-project on which the entrepreneurs worked evenings and weekends. A project that did not allow them to earn money or rent office space. As the number of users grew, Zapier became a full-time project and the co-founders integrated an accelerator in California. One of them finally made the choice to go back to Missouri. The team, which had never considered having even one office, then took its first steps in remote collaboration with the arrival of a first employee in Chicago and a second in Missouri. The goal? To hire the best employees, no matter where they are.

Recruit profiles that are truly suited to remote work.

For telework to work, a whole corporate culture must be nurtured. Zapier’s culture is based on a common appetite for action and transparency. Action first, with a posture of curiosity and a get the work done mindset shared by the employees who are recruited and who contribute to the efficiency of the teams and the progress of the overall project. Transparency too, because sharing information enables the best decisions to be made even across several time zones. When a team member is not available because it is 2 a.m. at home, employees have access to the results of their previous work day.

Tool used: ASYNC, a continuous flow that reports on everyone’s work. If you want to use it, your only option is to apply to Zapier, ASYNC having been developed internally for the specific needs of teams who use it in addition to Slack and share information to remain visible. Look at Confluence, Coda or even Google Drive for something similar in the objectives.

Growing from the feedback of its employees

All feedback is important to develop a project, that of customers, partners, but perhaps even more so that of collaborators. Especially if your teams are composed of people with different languages and cultures. "When the majority of employees do not have English as their mother tongue, there is always the possibility of misunderstanding each other. Under the motto “empathy no ego”, Wade Foster recommends adopting a stance of mutual understanding rather than trying to hold on to one’s positions. The founder of Zapier also notes that this diversity in the teams is a richness that makes it possible to better understand users with different needs.

Tool used by Zapier: Small improvments, for employee feedback and evaluation of team performance.

The recruitment process at Zappier

Wade Foster insisted on this point: in order to recruit the most talented profiles, it is better not to set boundaries. Rather than duplicating yet another ad, take the time to think about how your company and the jobs you offer stand out.

The rest of the process is fairly standard, with different phases designed to assess both the hard and soft skills of a candidate, all without any meetings other than video exchanges. The onboarding is then done by sessions every other Monday, with at least two candidates at the same time.

Tool used by Zapier: Zoom, for videoconferences, but also Skype or Hangouts.

Necessarily effective meetings

The secret of the Zapier meetings? Anticipation and prioritization. Zapier teams use Slack to share an agenda for the upcoming meeting, to be completed by its participants. A color system allows for prioritization in the treatment of the different items (green, we’re ok, orange, there are still things to see/settle, red, a whole agenda). The aim is to exchange ideas in order to make concrete decisions quickly.

After the meetings, we immediately look forward to the next steps and the participants give feedback on the efficiency and interest of the meeting (green, it was great, orange, can’t do better but it’s okay, red, I wasted my time).

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