Many people get excited about the prospect of working at home in their pajamas. But few companies have really figured out how to make this work. It’s so difficult that IBM, the company that pioneered the idea of telecommuting, recently announced it would end the program. Yahoo, Bank of America, and Aetna have made similar decisions.
CrowdStrike, founded by YPO member George Kurtz, is a tech security company that has successfully mastered this challenge. They have quickly grown to 800 employees with 400 working remotely from home. Kurtz has committed to hiring the best talent in the world, and that means equipping employees with what they need regardless of where they are. He has also decided not to micromanage employees but rather encourage their creativity. And the results have been great. The employees are highly engaged and very productive, and CrowdStrike has been recognized as a Great Place to Work in Technology among Small and Midsized Businesses.
Here is how CrowdStrike makes working from home better than coming into the office:
1. Develop a Consistent Hiring Framework…
Kurtz knows not everyone is cut out to work remotely. “It takes a certain type of person to be successful at CrowdStrike,” Kurtz acknowledges, and so the hiring process at CrowdStrike is rigorous. “We use predictive analytics to more accurately identify who the right hires will be.” They also continually refine their hiring methods as they learn more.
2. …And Use It to Hire Only the Best
Kurtz knows that to get the best work, he has to hire the best people. “As a core philosophy, we hire only the best - regardless of their location,” he says. But this can complicate the hiring and recruitment process. Kurtz says the way forward is to tap into your relationships and past experience to bring together the most trustworthy team possible, explaining, “When I started CrowdStrike, I selected the launch team based on professionals I knew would share a common vision for the company’s success, and could be depended on to work relentlessly towards that goal. Work with people who will build a highly functional team that can contribute in their first 90 days or sooner.” That team will be able to work autonomously across geographies and can be trusted to get the job done outside the traditional office environment.
3. Have a “Culture Team”
One of the most difficult aspects of telework is fostering the right culture. CrowdStrike has a unique solution to this problem. “We have a Culture Team, made up of a dozen or so of our top performing long-tenured employees. They meet once or twice per quarter to ensure innovation is still being inspired and that our core culture is being preserved,” Kurtz says. The team works to limit the implementation of needless policies and red tape, which is particularly important at a tech company where innovation and speed are key. “By design, there are no executives directly participating on the team. Rather, we bring together the professionals on the frontlines who truly shape the culture of the company, and then leverage executive sponsorship for impact,” he asserts. This promotes cultural buy-in from every level.
4. Make Meetings Better
Meetings are hard enough to manage when participants are physically together and can be even more challenging when they’re virtual. But at CrowdStrike, there’s simply not enough time for this kind of inefficiency. “People manage their time much more diligently, and meetings are much more purposeful - because they have to be,” Kurtz explains. Meetings are tightly timed and are regular enough without being unnecessarily frequent.
5. Focus on Accountability
CrowdStrike establishes clear strategic objectives for each team and every individual, and then assesses the progress several times per quarter. Kurtz says one of the keys is open sharing of information. He explains, “Since we all know the initiatives and goals and review them on a regular basis, we maintain a high degree of transparency and accountability.” In addition to promoting accountability on an individual level, this formula also ensures that each team is getting the support and tools it needs from executives.
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