Hotjar, a Fully Remote Company, Shares Its Lessons Learned

A Hotjar employee, who wished to remain anonymous, expressed on the job review site Glassdoor that they could not think of anything negative to say and did not feel they had much to offer.

It is safe to assume that a business is excelling when it has achieved the highest possible rating of five stars on an anonymous review website. This prompted us to conduct our own investigation. If you would like us to assess your business, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Hotjar is an invaluable tool for gaining insights into customer behaviour. By recording user sessions and displaying heatmaps of their scrolling, clicking, and mouse movement, alongside a feedback system, it can help to identify areas of improvement in both new product development and website design. The popularity of Hotjar with its 6,600 users is testament to its usefulness, and a growth marketer may use this data to enhance the efficiency metrics of a conversion funnel.

It was particularly impressive to us how Hotjar appeared to be on the path to becoming an ideal business. In other words, the perception people have of a company on their own website may be different to how it is perceived on other, independent websites.

Customers and employees alike are full of admiration for Hotjar, a relatively new company that has enjoyed consistent growth and has already gained a reputation for excellence in its area of specialism due to its commitment to its work.

Here at Hotjar, we do things remotely and in style, complete with a unicorn.

It’s true that “a remote culture is something that continues to grow at Hotjar,” as one employee put it. – Chief Marketer at Hotjar, Tara Robertson

David Darmanin had a vision to establish Hotjar, which he co-founded in 2023, as an entirely remote organisation from the outset. Having past experience with remote working, he believes this to be the optimal solution. Now, the only employee remaining in the Malta headquarters is a postman who only visits to deliver mail.

He believes that a major advantage of working remotely is the freedom to recruit the best talent from anywhere around the world. Our founding principle was to ensure that this would enable us to establish and maintain a strong company culture.

They have grown to a team of 25+ people spanning Asia, Europe, and the Americas, and now generate €15M in yearly recurring income.

Hotjar is a process-driven company with a focus on perfecting the art of remote working. Our organisational culture values self-improvement and acceptance of others, with staff encouraged to experiment and innovate, all while having a great time and working towards shared goals. To demonstrate our commitment to this ethos, we even have an inflatable pet unicorn residing in our headquarters in Malta!

Despite the challenges of recruiting in a remote work environment, Hotjar has demonstrated a wise approach when it comes to selecting new employees. They have developed a comprehensive recruitment process to identify the right candidates who will succeed in a distributed working environment. Their process involves taking part in surveys, conducting interviews, completing tasks, and spending time with the existing team.

As Tara Robertson puts it, “We think that your culture is your brand.” What you just read is the Hotjar method of doing things.

The Concept of “Remote Start-Up” The success of Hotjar hinges on this feature.

Hotjar is continuing to thrive, like any other hard-working startup. They are learning from their mistakes and taking on board feedback from their customers and employees, as well as delivering outstanding experiences for their users. This dedication to continuous improvement and customer satisfaction is what sets them apart.

Rather than spending time trying to attain perfection, they are able to complete tasks in an efficient manner. As they have not been hindered by the bureaucracy often associated with achieving goals, they are able to pursue ambitious objectives with relative ease.

However, they are distinguished from the competition by their strong commitment to openness and responsibility.

Transparency: Hotjar is one of the most open and honest businesses in the industry, not shying away from utilising the latest buzzwords in their press releases. Furthermore, it is commendable that the company is willing to be transparent about their missteps, such as the $350,000 and 3,500 man-hours of development time spent on the Hotjar mobile app, as outlined in their blog.

On 24th December 2023, Hotjar experienced a breach in their content delivery network (CDN). In response to this, David contacted all users to explain the details of the breach, how it was resolved, and what measures they would be taking to prevent similar issues in the future. This commitment to transparency is not limited to sharing any mistakes they may have made; Hotjar has kept an open record of all incidents since their founding in 2023.

Accountability: The initial Hotjar team, which consisted of only four or five individuals, had to take on all elements of the business from development to recruitment to customer service – a common feature of many startups. This was a major challenge for them, and when they made a mistake in their search for a new Vice President of Marketing, it highlighted the importance of taking ownership of one’s actions.

The organisation underwent a major restructuring, placing a strong emphasis on accountability. This included everyone taking responsibility for their daily tasks, as well as the introduction of new managerial roles.

At Hotjar, we strongly advocate for openness and accountability, which has created an environment of collaboration, trust, and an ongoing drive for improvement.

Hotjar Provides a Variety of Resources, Including Tools, Communications, and Shared Libraries.

Tools: The Hotjar group use the standard suite of software to coordinate their efforts:

  • HipChat: A Tool for Companywide Chat
  • Notices on Basecamp
  • Utilizing Trello, Teams Can Work Together
  • Task Management using Jira
  • Google Suite: Teamwork and Organization
  • Get insights and comments from your users using Hotjar.
  • Suggestions from Staff #15

Communications: The team utilises Trello and weekly sprint cycles to get things done. Daily 15- to 30-minute scrum meetings are held across all departments.

Every Friday, all members of the organisation present the work they have accomplished during the previous week. Group boards, department boards, and individual message boards enable continuous communication among all sections of the company.

The Benefits of a Shared Library Upon commencement of employment at Hotjar, each new employee is provided with a Kindle which they can use to read and exchange books between each other. As part of their onboarding process, Hotjar requires all new hires to read the book StrengthsFinder 2.0 and take the accompanying test during their first week in the job. This can be beneficial to the entire group, as each individual’s answers and findings are tracked in a shared spreadsheet, allowing everyone to gain insight into the overall results.

Hotjar uses Trello for the whole onboarding process.

Five Things I’ve Learned Working Remotely at Hotjar

  1. Processes for bringing new employees into the fold might be indicative of the remote culture of an organisation.

    Ken Weary, Hotjar’s Vice President of Operations, is confident in proclaiming that the organisation has the best onboarding process available. New team members are provided with all the necessary information via Trello boards, and before the official process begins, colleagues will contact them via email to aid them in transitioning to their role. We have long been aware of the importance of a successful onboarding process, but it still fills us with joy to witness it in action.
  2. In a tight-knit, remote team, the term “family” may have a very literal meaning.

    If you have doubts regarding remote working due to a lack of interpersonal connection, I strongly recommend that you take the time to find out more about the Hotjar team. They are very proactive in staying connected with each other, whether it be through HipChat conversations or through the judicious assignment of tasks in line with the strengths of each team member. The Hotjar team always has each other’s best interests at heart.
  3. Self-improvement and maintaining physical and mental health are crucial.

    Many companies state that they are committed to their employees’ growth and wellbeing, but Hotjar actually does provide the resources to make this a reality. In addition to a host of other benefits, Hotjar offers its staff a yearly training stipend of €1,000, a monthly wellness allowance of €200, and a Fitbit, amongst many other things.
  4. The rewards for exerting more effort, working more efficiently, and making better use of available resources are greater.

    Rather than relying on cumbersome paperwork, they prefer to use streamlined procedures. They value progress and productivity over perfection, preferring to complete tasks and reduce their “to do” list. They employ a method of breaking down larger goals into small, incremental steps in order to achieve them.
  5. At Hotjar, they believe that culture should always take precedence over the company’s logo.

    This means that they never compromise their morals and values. It is not enough for these principles to simply be mentioned on the website; Hotjar puts them to full use. They truly value the opinions of their customers, and make a concerted effort to improve their service. Every year, the team hold two retreats to help maintain the group’s unique culture even in the great outdoors. This is possible because everyone works together in harmony, as there is a great degree of mutual respect between all members.

Hotjar is a highly sought-after employer, and it’s easy to see why. The key to their success lies in their commitment to developing a remote-work culture that is as close to perfect as possible. Rather than treating remote work as a secondary option or a temporary solution, Hotjar has made it their primary approach to getting things done. We are here to assist you in achieving the same outcome. If you have any queries, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

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