How To Effectively Manage Remote Employees At A Start-Up

Joy Ghanekar

SVP, Head of Product at talech



I have worked with remote teams at large companies, but handling this working relationship in the start-up world is a completely different story. In a start-up, everything moves so quickly. The value of having those in-office, hallway conversations cannot be understated. In this role, I approached the management of remote employees more carefully to compensate for this.

Actions taken

I approached this from two directions, employee selection and communication.

  1. I selected employees who were "self managers" that I could trust to work effectively without the office environment.
  2. I stressed the value of over-communication. All employees are on a chat messenger (Slack) to have consistent, real time, casual conversations about regular daily updates, resolving issues, and daily push outs. Additionally, we have daily team stand ups to ensure that everyone is on the same page about project status and progress. We have weekly one on ones for all employees, including remote, to gauge the health of the employee and how they are doing long-term. Finally, remote employees are encouraged, once a quarter, to come into the office to experience the culture and connect with their teams.

Lessons learned

  • The people you choose to work remotely with matters. The style of how you work with someone is very different when you work remotely. You have to have a feel for their communication skills and be confident that you trust their efficiency. If an employee is always waiting on "what's next", that may not be a good person to have remote.
  • In a workplace environment, hallway check-ins and updates just happen; remotely, you have to make them happen. The more that you can casually communicate along with formal meetings, the better of a read you will have on the progress and work ethic of your remote employees. Using face to face communication tools such as Skype is helpful in communication with remote employees.

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Joy Ghanekar

SVP, Head of Product at talech


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