Getting remote teams right
Yesterday I was listening to a podcast interview with Gitlab founder and CEO, Sid Sijbrandij
. As someone who has managed a remote team in the past, I was happy to hear that Gitlab handles its remote employees well. It hires wherever the best people happen to be and pays them as sensibly. What do I mean by ‘sensibly?’ I mean 'in a way that works out best for employees and employer alike.’
As discussed in this blog post
, Gitlab has a formula for calculating pay that takes how much a role would be paid in San Francisco where the company is based, and then adjusts for factors including an employee’s location
This makes sense for both sides, as the company prioritises the quality of life the person can expect with a certain role. If you paid someone in India the exact same salary as someone in pricey San Francisco, the Indian employee would be living like royalty, whereas the American employee would perhaps have a comfortable but unremarkable existence. That’s not exactly fair, is it? And it can’t do much for team morale, either — or the company’s bank balance.
Smart, location-aware salary calculations are just one factor in running a good remote team. I’ve experienced good remote teams, and bad ones. The bad ones are where remote staff members are treated as second-class citizens. The best build all their processes around online communication and documentation, meaning staff who happen to be based at head office don’t have an advantage in progressing their careers or just getting day-to-day things done.
If I’m 1,000 miles from head office, I should be able to get hold of the head of HR just as easily as the person sitting three desks away from them, for example. This is perfectly possible with modern software and a bit of discipline.
As remote working becomes more common in fields like software development, this kind of best practice will become ever more important. If this is all new to you, perhaps it’s time to start thinking about how your workplace can become remote friendly.