Insights from Treehouse’s Co-Founder on Effective Methods of Remote Management

Treehouse is an exemplary educational organization, renowned for providing students with the necessary knowledge and skills to become a leader in the computer programming industry. However, as with many other successful businesses, its journey to success did not come without a few bumps in the road. In an interview with Mixergy, Treehouse CEO Ryan Carson candidly admitted to losing tens of thousands of dollars due to mismanagement by a single employee. The most detrimental aspect of this mishandling was the amount of time it cost the project, which also provided a competitive advantage to the other company.

For what purpose did this occur? Ryan was certainly no novice when it came to management; he was adept at motivating his team and recognizing their accomplishments. Taking the reigns was never an issue, even though he was aware that he could be too indulgent towards his employees at times. However, he hadn’t foreseen the challenge of managing someone who was not in the same physical space.

Many experienced leaders find it difficult to successfully integrate remote workers into client teams, but this does not have to be the case. At Works, we have identified that a widespread obstacle to effectively incorporating remote workers into client teams is simply a matter of shifting clients’ perceptions. Similar to Ryan, many experienced executives mistakenly assume that remote employees are treated differently to the rest of the team in terms of their work and management. Consequently, we have adopted “integration” as our company motto: a remote worker should be treated the same as any other employee; the only distinction is that they do not share a physical workspace.

Eventually, Ryan grasped the concept and was able to build an exceptional team that transcended geographical borders, making Treehouse a shining example of a successful globalized organization. As a result, they have grown to employ more than one hundred employees in a remote working capacity. Here are the three most effective approaches that Ryan created for managing his remote workers at Treehouse.

Incredible Advantages

At Treehouse, employees have much to be proud of when it comes to the fantastic benefits they receive. Ryan has implemented a strategy designed to give these members of staff benefits that they simply cannot get anywhere else, such as health insurance, a four-day working week and paid sabbaticals, in order to guarantee their continuing loyalty to the company. His financial acumen is impressive, as he firmly believes that with the proper planning and budgeting, all of this is very achievable.

Is it necessary to invest a large amount of money in providing bonuses for employees in order to make them happy? We do not think so. There are several ways to reward staff members with generous remuneration. It has become commonplace for some organisations to provide occasional gifts to their employees. For instance, some businesses give their employees an Amazon gift card so they can purchase books and music. The aim is to increase morale by making the workers feel valued.

Integrity in the Workplace and Professional Advancement

Treehouse is open and honest about its commitment to keeping its employees for the long-term, as long as they continue to make an important contribution to the organization’s success. Furthermore, the company provides a clear route for career progression.

Employees at any given time can understand their current position within the organization, the potential opportunities that may arise (such as potential salary increases each quarter for those who reach their targets), and what the future may hold for them within the company. It is essential that people feel that they are making progress towards a goal and that their efforts will be recognized and rewarded in order to motivate them to their best performance.

In-person recruiting

Treehouse and Ryan have refined their recruitment process over the years in order to source the most suitable candidates who will be able to integrate into their company culture and abide by their core values. They have a three-phase approach that involves initial inquiries, interviews and a final assessment.

During a first job interview, a recruiter might ask some key questions to get a better understanding of the applicant’s experience and suitability for the role. For example, they may enquire about why the applicant is interested in working for Treehouse, the most difficult challenge they have faced and how they overcame it, and a particular piece of work that they are proud of and why. This provides the recruiter with a more comprehensive view of the applicant’s character and capabilities in the workplace.

If successful, candidates will then be invited to take part in a series of interviews with representatives from various departments. The primary purpose of these interviews is to ascertain whether the applicant is a suitable ‘fit’ for the team. It is important to bear in mind that technical skills can be acquired, but culture and personality traits are more difficult to change.

Ultimately, the applicant will be presented with a test project to work on; this will ideally be something of significance to the company, but without any potentially damaging consequences should it be handled incorrectly. It is important to stress that this is a paid role, at an hourly rate that is reasonable for the applicant. As a result, they will not only gain an insight into what it would be like to work for the company, but also what it is like to become part of the organisation.

Do you think this is a good move for your company?

Randy and Treehouse have achieved great success by taking advantage of the global talent available to them, thanks to their well-structured solutions. Through careful planning and management, they have been able to take their business to new levels of success.

At Works, we understand that you don’t have the time or the resources to invest in the expensive and time-consuming education that Ryan offers at Treehouse. That’s why we have dedicated ourselves to researching and collecting the most relevant information to help you find the right people and guide you through the entire process – from hiring to managing and adapting to a new culture. We understand that there is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to addressing challenges, which is why we work closely with you to create customized solutions that are tailored to the needs of your particular business. We look forward to hearing from you – the world awaits.

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