Interview on Building a Global Remote Team - Thrive

In the time of a global pandemic, we need to stay connected more than ever. (sign up to be in my network to stay connected.) This new WFH situation reminded me of my conversation with Linda Joshua earlier last year on building a remote team. So I reached out to her to talk more about building an innovative team and working in a global and fully remote team.

Background story.

Linda is a developer at Thrive, a company that empowers brands to create unique eCommerce experiences by easily building and optimizing online stores. Linda started college thinking she would study Math, but her family encouraged her to try computer science, so she took a CS course and found she really enjoyed it. She ended working in technical roles following graduation at companies including McKinsey before starting at Thrive. 

Have a trial period as a part of the application process. 

At Thrive, prospective team members can go through a trial period where they work parttime or fulltime depending on their availability. The program usually spans a few weeks, a low-pressure experience where applicants work closely with other engineers and receive feedback on their work. Through this period, applicants can get a better sense of the work culture and style. On the other hand, Thrive can better understand applicants before they are officially brought onto the team.

Why is it important to have a trial period?

• Enabling the organization to evaluate the employee’s skills and interactions on the job.

• Engaging in less risk; it is much more difficult to terminate a full-time employee than a trial hire.

• Requiring fewer costs and expenses; trial hires do not receive benefits and may even have a reduced salary during the trial period.

Organize teams based on geography. 

Thrive's support team is internationally distributed so that there is someone available to help customers and team members at all times. Their users get assistance and help with using the product whenever they need it. However, the teams are organized partly by general geographic locations so that team members have time overlap and can schedule meetings to move conveniently. This type of structuring is also necessary because of the cost and availability of resources, distribution strategies, and laws in foreign countries. 

Build global, distributed teams to improve team diversity. 

With the remote structure of the team, Thrive can bring on great engineers from around the world. It currently has people in 12 different countries, including Canada, Bulgaria, South Korea, England, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Jamaica, Scotland, Georgia, Australia, India, and the US. Thrive has also focused specifically on hiring more women to create a more inclusive and gender-balanced organization. Through their remote team, the company can find and bring on the most talented people regardless of who or where they are. Its remote structure truly exemplifies the fact that talent is universal but the opportunity is not.