All hands on deck: How these tech teams build strong remote cultures

by Kelly O'Halloran
September 14, 2017

A lot of companies with satellite offices in Austin are headquartered in another part of the U.S., and even in far-flung locales around the world. We wanted to know how those companies maintain culture across campuses.   

Fortunately, three tech teams in town were willing to give us some insight to how they make sure no employee feels left out from life at headquarters.

 

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Headquartered out of Carpinteria, CA, Procore has grown to nearly 1,000 employees worldwide today and added an Austin office four years ago. When Procore senior strategic product consultant Garrett Sheeran joined the team, it employed merely 50 people. We caught up with Sheeran to learn how the construction management software company has maintained its culture across all of its campuses, including Austin’s.

How would you sum up your company's culture?

Procore’s core values of “openness, optimism and ownership” guide a lot of what we do and how we interact with each other and our customers. Our environment is very hard working but relaxed at the same time, and work/life balance is encouraged and exemplified from the top down.

How does the Procore team ensure the culture spreads across offices?

Since our three core values play a large role in hiring, we are able to grow and maintain our culture across the world. While I do think each office takes on the flavor of its host city, we promote the same values. This is key to cultivating and maintaining the culture. The growth of a culture happens organically by instilling and practicing company values from the start, not simply through providing perks and benefits. 

What cultural similarities and differences are there between the Austin office and your HQ?

The pace and general atmosphere are very similar to HQ, but the Austin office does carry its own unique flavor. There is a Texas hospitality and bent to the Austin office that we are very proud of. We do crawfish boils together and breakfast tacos on Friday, and HQ celebrates their local team in different ways. While we have different beers in the fridge and activities we do together, the core of the office cultures remains the same.

What effort does your company make to connect both offices?

We hold events at the same time, such as Bike to Work Day, Health and Wellness Day and classes put on by our Learning and Development group. Plus, in every meeting where another office might want to attend, we set up call-ins so that anyone, anywhere, may join the conversation.

 

 

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AdAction Interactive’s manager of people and culture Dianne Wright filled us in on the company’s “Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop” motto and how their staff embraces this mentality in and outside of the office, regardless of their location. Among the things AdAction does to maintain culture: They emphasize communication, provide equal resources to both locations and host an annual trip.

How would you sum up your company’s culture?

We value the dedication that our people apply to their work and want to be sure we recognize and reward their efforts internally, while also providing them the flexibility and resources to take advantage of opportunities and events going on in their personal lives.

We put together monthly staff outings and volunteer opportunities to encourage our staff to break away from their day-to-day tasks and form personal connections outside of the office. We make a point to welcome new team members with happy hours and celebrate life achievements, such as first-time home purchases and new family members. Ultimately, it’s all about promoting a work-life balance for our people.

How do you ensure that spreads across all of your offices?

A consistent culture starts with hiring the candidates that complement who we are as a company. We have a three-part interview process that includes conversations with different staff members each round. This allows us to evaluate if a candidate is not only suited for a certain role, but also whether they will be a good cultural fit. Since the foundation of AdAction, our CEO has conducted the final interview for every candidate to make certain they meet the criteria necessary to be an all-around fit for our offices in both Austin and Denver.

While it can be a challenge to have offices in different locations, it is our ability to communicate with each other that empowers us to preserve our culture in both offices. We make sure that that the Denver and Austin teams are provided the same resources, flexibility and activities to ensure they have work-life balance.

What effort does your company make to connect both offices?

Every year we bring both offices together for our annual staff retreat, providing an all-inclusive trip to top getaway destinations like Mexico, Florida and California. The retreat encourages our staff to build friendships outside of the office and allows for new employees to meet their counterparts for the first time, while sharing in unique experiences together.

With a staff of nearly 50 people, we strive to give everyone the opportunity to engage with one another, planning exciting daily activities and festive entertainment to commemorate the trip. We recently announced that this year we will be traveling to an exclusive villa in Palm Springs, California, enjoying such activities as racing around the BMW High Performance track and riding the aerial tramway for a unique dinner, over a mile and a half above the city skyline.

 


 

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Derek Rosenzweig, Brightpearl’s head of global partner business development, said there’s not a day that goes by when a team member in Austin is not working with someone from their U.K. office in Bristol. That consistent international collaboration, plus laughter on the job, are a few of the ways Brightpearl spreads its culture.

How would you sum up Brightpearl's culture?

We are a culture of quirky, curious and strategic innovators driven to exceed the status quo for our customers and our own personal development. We work very hard and have a great time in the process. I laugh every single day at work.

How do you ensure that spreads across all of your offices?

In addition to our global all-hands meetings, which cover learning sessions, we have weekly lunch-and-learns on a variety of topics. It's also important to note that our success, as a company and individuals, rely on the complete coordination of our cross-functional teams. There simply isn't a day where a team member is not working with someone overseas. That alone adds so much to our culture.

Are there cultural similarities and differences between the Austin office and your HQ?

Our personalities are very similar. You will find everyone is very easy to get along with and excited to build a great product. We are also very aligned on a "customer first" culture. I credit that to the extensive effort our recruiting, HR, management and execs take when hiring new employees.

How does your company regularly connect both offices?

We are “one team.” In fact, one of our values speaks to that specifically. As a culture, we really support face to face interactions. That said, we tend to utilize technologies like Slack for video conferences.

Additionally, we try to encourage cross-country visits. In the last month alone, we have had a handful of visitors from our U.K. and San Francisco offices (as well as having our U.S. team visit our U.K. office). Our executives are also committed to one-on-one time with everyone and make that happen with monthly visits from the U.K. to U.S.

 

 


 

 

Images provided by featured companies.


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