Software Blade is put together by people in the US, Brazil, England, Portugal, Canada, and Japan.
From day one, we’ve been a borderless team, drawing on talent far beyond the restrictions of New York City.
And with the growth of remote work and global hiring, we wanted to offer a few thoughts on how to hire globally and how to make it work.
Here are three things we’ve learned about building a top-notch global team:
Have as few meetings as possible
We almost never have meetings.
When you’re global, you have people in several time zones. Prime working hours for one person is 3 AM for another.
Having meetings a) normally isn’t that productive – you talk about work without actually doing work – and b) forces people to be up at odd hours for something they probably could have done asynchronously.
Even something as simple as a 9 AM meeting in New York can be hard, as that means 6 AM for someone on the west coast.
Get really good at written communication
Because global teams work mostly asynchronously, you’re going to be doing a lot of writing to communicate.
Getting used to understanding cultural differences in written communication is important, too. This makes a big difference.
Don’t track the number of hours that people work
Flexible hours are a must for global teams, for two reasons.
First, it enables you to leverage contractor talent. In most countries, you can’t specify contractors’ hours.
Second, because you’re working in different time zones at different hours, it doesn’t matter much when somebody does their work so long as they do it.
How to get more qualified applicants from your job postings
It’s hard to find good talent right now. Really hard.
But, there’s a simple solution to getting good people (and it’s something we do at Software Blade).
The solution? Hire people remotely
The majority of people today want remote options, and job postings with remote or hybrid options are receiving 7x more applicants than office jobs.
What this means for you
If you want the best talent out there, start hiring wherever people can be found, not just in your home city.
Our entire team at Software Blade is global, and it’s a big part of why we’re able to run such a tight ship (well, most of the time).
Take hiring a writer, for instance
If we limited our applications to only the US or the UK, we’d receive a fraction of the great applications we currently get.
In fact, two people on our writing team aren’t native English speakers, nor do they live in English-speaking countries.
They’re simply the best people for the job, even among plenty of native English-speaking applicants.
If we didn’t hire remotely, we never would have had a chance at some of our best talent.
So don’t limit yourself by hiring in one city or country. Great people live everywhere – and it’s easier than ever to hire them.
How to work well as a team, asynchronously
Is your team working remotely?
At Software Blade, we’ve been a fully-remote team since we founded the website.
And there’s an important aspect of working remotely that we’ve learned to leverage well: Asynchronous, or “async” communication.
Basically, async communication is the kind that doesn’t require your team to be online at the same time. It’s necessary if you want to have a great remote team.
Here’s how we approach async work:
Default to never having meetings
Most people’s default is to book a quick meeting.
If you want to work async, make it the default to never have meetings.
Only schedule them if you’ve tried through other channels or have a complex topic that would be better discussed in person.
Try a fully-async week
If your team is having struggles, have a week where meetings are banned. You’ll find that it’s easier to work around this than you might think.
Try to hire good writers
Most async communication happens in written form, so it’s crucial that you hire people who can write well. And if they can’t, it’s important that you teach them how.
Understand that some communication still needs to happen in real-time (or close to it)
Fully-async work is unrealistic for most teams. For example, you may still communicate in near-real time when you’re in the final stages of building and launching something.
Some things are time-sensitive.
One size doesn’t fit all, of course
What works for us might not work for you. But we wanted to share our candid thoughts on working async.
Hiring global – try hiring as contractors
If you’re hiring abroad, you may be able to hire your team as contractors rather than full-time employees.
When you hire someone as an employee in a new country, you’re getting yourself into a complicated legal tango.
Employment laws differ from country to country, and so do employer obligations.
For most teams, the only real option is to use an Employer-of-Record (EOR) solution, which lets you sidestep establishing your own physical entity in a new country.
But… EORs often charge at least $500 per month per employee, and onboarding can still take a long time.
So try hiring people as contractors instead
If you’re remote, output-focused, and mostly asynchronous, there’s a good chance your talent abroad can be classified as contractors.
If so, you can avoid employer obligations, expensive fees, messy solutions, and onboard people in minutes instead of weeks or months.
A contractor classification can be better for your new talent too, with the main benefits often being how they can file their taxes… and their flexibility.
It’s what we’ve done at Software Blade and it’s worked well for us.
But remember, this stuff can get complicated
It has pros and cons… We think for certain businesses and people, the pros are better than the cons. If you’re not sure, talk to someone who’s an expert in compliance and hiring abroad.
We truly believe in the power of working with great people. No matter where they live.
And if you’re interested in building a borderless team, too, the tips above might help you get started – or improve a team you’re currently on.