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Why Trust, Patience, and Stellar Hiring are Vital to Running a Successful Remote Business

Featuring
Chris Gimmer
,
Co Founder & CEO
at
Snappa
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“If you're hiring the right people, then naturally you should be trusting them and you should be giving them the autonomy to do their work. For us, running a remote organization has never felt difficult because we just work with really awesome people.”

Chris Gimmer

In this episode

When it comes to remote work, playing the long game, and the value of patience, Chris knows his stuff. As an entrepreneur and co-founder of Snappa, a bootstrapped SaaS, which recently hit its first $100K milestone, Chris is passionate about autonomy, trusting your employees, and adopting a lower time preference in both work and life.

But, with more businesses going remote, many face a range of challenges, like managing work from home employees and ensuring productivity. In this interview with Chris, we get the skinny on compounding growth, hiring the right people as a remote-first business, and why location really doesn’t matter. 

Listen in on the interview with Chris by clicking 'Listen now' above.

. . .

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In this episode

00:13

Introduction to Chris 

02:49

Concept of compounding growth 

05:03

Playing the long game 

08.33

Being a remote-first organization

10.24

Communication, autonomy and trust 

11.44

Three top hiring priorities 

16:29

Lessons learned from earlier projects 

20:39

The location compensation question

24:38

WFH, Flexibility, & Workations 

27.13

Hire the right people and measure outputs, not hours in the seat

30:00

Employee onboarding

Resources from this episode

Transcript of episode

Cassy Aite:

All right. I'm here with Chris Gimmer, Co-founder and CEO at Snappa. Well, first of all, welcome to the show and why don't you start by telling us a little bit about yourself and what you do.

Chris Gimmer: (00:13)

Well, the long story is, I guess, more of a traditional background in like finance and accounting. And then I was working in the federal government for several years, started to do some traveling and eventually just got to a point where I wasn't very fulfilled, wanted to have a bit more freedom in my life, and I really just started gravitating towards tech and online. And what have you. And so I ended up meeting Marc who's now my co-founder at Snappa, in the government as well. And we became pretty good friends. And then we just started launching a bunch of stuff on the side. And then eventually we were able to make enough money from one of our side projects to kind of take a leave of absence from work, and then eventually that led to Snappa. So we've been full time on that for several years now. And that's kind of the compressed version of how I got to where I am now.

Cassy Aite: (01:06)

It's fun because I've interviewed a few people on the culture builders podcast before, but I haven't had the opportunity to interview any friends. So I've known you for a couple of years now, and it's been pretty exciting to hear about the updates with Snappa. And I saw that you tweeted actually recently that you hit a pretty major milestone and, only a year after achieving another big milestone. So why don't you tell us about that?

Hitting the $100k milestone 

Chris Gimmer: (01:33)

Yeah, well, I was looking at our MRR graph, monthly recurring revenue, and last month we had hit, we had crossed a 100K, which is, you know, for a bootstrapped company is a pretty decent milestone. We're pretty pumped about it. And then kind of when I looked at the graph a little closer, I realized that it took 35 months or just under 36 months to hit the first 50k of MRR. But then the second 50K only took 18 months. So basically it took half the amount of time to do the second 50k as it did for the first 50k. So it just kind of reinforces that like compounding nature of a lot of SaSS businesses and some of the marketing that we do with like content and SEO, where it can kind of start out a little slow and you feel like you're not making as much progress as maybe some of the people that are a bit further ahead. But eventually that compounding kind of takes effect and then somewhat able to grow faster than you were like your first year or two that you're in business. So I just thought that was pretty cool. And remember when he first started things, I mean, actually, it still felt kind of fast at the time, but again, it's just like people have a tendency to always compare themselves to people that are like five, ten years ahead of them. And I think not really realizing like that compounding effect makes such a big difference in like year eight, nine and ten.

The concept of compounding growth 

Cassy Aite: (02:49)

Can you tell us more about it? I noticed that's something that you're really passionate about is the concept of compounding growth or interest. Can you tell us more about that?

Chris Gimmer: (03:03)

Yeah. I mean, unfortunately, we live in a society where it's a lot about instant gratification and it's really sad because a lot of the average person, I think really puts himself at a disadvantage because they're trading future gains for short term satisfaction. But I think if more people adopted a low timeframe preference and decided to invest and not necessarily like investing their money or investing in stocks, but even investing their time into learning as opposed to just being on Facebook all day.

Chris Gimmer: (03:37)

And I think working out is also a good analogy. Like when people work out the first couple of weeks, usually you really don't see any difference whatsoever, but if you actually keep at it, the compounding effects of going to the gym three to five times a day per week, that you kind of reached us like inflection point where you look at yourself in the mirror and you're like, Holy crap, like I'm shredded, whereas in the first two weeks you probably look at yourself and don't even see any change at all. So if you just kind of stick with it and do those little things day in and day out over long periods of time, you'll look back and just be so shocked about the progress you made.

Chris Gimmer: (04:12)

And so I've certainly experienced that in my life, both in terms of investing entrepreneurship, fitness, really all aspects of life. Yeah. So it's just something that I try to preach is just adopting a low time preference, really thinking long term and try to resist the temptation of that short term instant gratification.

Playing the long-game

Cassy Aite: (04:36)

It's funny because I actually had this as one of my notes I wanted to ask you about, and you are probably one of the most patient people that I know. And I actually noticed in your Twitter that you've got a line in your bio that says you're playing the long game. And, um, I mean like, how did you become patient, right? Were you always this way? Did you always have this low time preference?

Chris Gimmer: (05:03)

No, I didn't actually, I was never one who would just like to spend tons of money or whatever. Like I was always fairly responsible. But when I was younger, I wouldn't say that I had this like ultra-low time preference and I was a super patient person. I think what I've realized is like the longer that I've kind of practiced this, the better results that I've seen. And as I get even more convinced that this is kind of the way to go, and it's also like a self-reinforcing thing.

Chris Gimmer: (05:29)

So take investing, for example, as soon as you start investing and you see your money compounding naturally, you're going to want to save even more and invest even more of that money. And it's the same thing with business. It's like, as soon as you start putting in the time, and then you start to see the fruits of that labor pay off a year or two later, you're even more motivated to keep doing that same thing and keeping up with that same mentality and the same thing for fitness. So I would say that as the years have gone on and I've seen the fruits of my labor, it's made me even more incentivized to keep having this low time preference and keep thinking about the future, keeping patient, keep investing.

Cassy Aite: (06:09)

There's a good, it's like what people typically tend to overestimate what they can achieve in a month, but underestimate what they can achieve in a year. Right. And I think even that's just a year, but like you're saying if you've got a time horizon that's 10 years, 30 years plus you can really achieve a lot.

Chris Gimmer : (06:30)

Yeah. A hundred percent. I mean, I think one of my goals has always just been like every single day, just try to do at least one task that has the potential to move the business at some point in the future. And I think if you just keep doing that every day for 365 days a year and multiple years, I think what Rob Walling, is one of the guys I look up to he's built and sold several SaaS companies. And he has this concept called relentless execution. And it's essentially just like every day, not necessarily like working your ass off or working, putting in tons of hours, but it's just like every day just doing one or two things that it's going to move the needle and just keep doing that day in and day out.

Cassy Aite: (07:14)

Interesting Rob Walling Okay, cool. We'll share a link in the podcast.

Chris Gimmer: (07:20)

He runs Microconf and he also has startups for the rest of his podcast. And he's super well known in like the bootstrapper community and definitely learned a lot from him over the years.

Running a lean team 

Cassy Aite: (07:32)

Cool. One thing that people always find interesting about you and Snappa is how lean the team actually is. Right? So then you're doing a 100k a month. I think people might be quick to assume that you've got a team of 30, maybe 20, 30 plus people. Right. But the reality is very different.

Chris: (08:00)

Yeah. I think for a lot of like VC backed companies, they're obviously like always hiring ahead of their revenue. So yeah it's very, it's not uncommon at all to have a 100k of MRR with like 20, 30% team, whereas we're bootstrapped, so we've never raised any outside funding. So typically with the bootstrapped company, you're usually hiring after the revenue is there and then maybe even a bit more wiggle room on top of that, just to make sure. So including my cofounder, Marc and I were a team of seven. And so yeah, we have five full-time employees right now.

Being a remote-first organization

Cassy Aite: (08:33)

And you guys were remote before it was cool. Right. Or before it was the norm. Right. What's that been like to see the world go remote now. It's probably weird. Like considering you guys you've been doing it since day one.

Chris Gimmer: (08:46)

Yeah. We've been doing a since one. I mean, I've always felt like for, especially like a tech company and all the tools that we have available, like Slack and recording this on Zoom right now. I mean, there's definitely never any barriers to being able to work effectively online. And at one point we actually had a shared office space for several months and we abandoned that because we found that we were actually just way more productive at home. And the in-person benefits just didn't justify like even going into like an office for a couple of days a week or anything. So yeah, it's something that I've always thought was kind of the way to go, at least for like a small team or what I know. Obviously I've never run like a thousand-person company, so I'm not going to comment on whether in that sense, like fully remote is better or worse. But I think for small teams, it definitely works great.

Chris Gimmer: (09:39)

I found were more productive. I love being able to just go for a nice walk or working out in the middle of the day. We're just giving the flexibility to everyone and I like to travel. So even being able to like work, I spent the summer in Florida. So even just changing up the locations and stuff. So, yeah, it's interesting now because even pre Corona, every time I'd meet people and I tell them, yeah, I work remotely. It was still like a very bizarre concept, especially like here in Ottawa where there's a lot of government workers and kind of people with quote unquote like normal jobs. Whereas like we're not in like a tech hub or anything. Whereas now it's funny. Cause like everyone's working from home, it's no longer a strange thing. So yeah, it's been really interesting to see that transition from the rest of the world.

Communication, autonomy and trust  

Cassy Aite: (10:24)

Is there's anything that you do that you've realized over the years that have specifically helped your team communicate better while the team is distributed?

Chris Gimmer: (10:36)

Yeah. So one of my biggest beliefs in terms of like leadership and running a company is just giving team members as much autonomy as possible. I've been in work environments where I've seen micromanagement. And I just think it's like the worst thing ever. And with a small team, you're able to be very selective upfront in terms of who you hire. So if you're hiring the right people, then naturally you should be trusting them and you should be giving them the autonomy to do their work. So for us, running a remote organization has never felt difficult for us because we just work with really awesome people. And I think obviously you have to provide the right amount of training and support upfront and on an ongoing basis. But at the end of the day, like if you're hiring the right people, they should be able to take things and run with it. We look for self-starters and people that have the skill sets. So that's been for us been really effective. Whereas if you're working in like a culture that has like micromanagement and incompetent people working remotely is going to be very difficult.

Hiring priorities 

Cassy Aite: (11:44)

And you talked about being very selective when you're hiring too. What do you typically look for when you're hiring someone?

Chris Gimmer: (11:52)

We essentially, for a combination of someone who is obviously like capable and has the right skill sets and even more importantly, people that have the right character and who kind of fit within our culture. So our entire hiring process is kind of like designed to check those boxes. So in, um, I guess the initial screening phase we're really looking for, like at a glance on paper, does this person seem capable? And is there anything in this initial application that kind of shows to us that they have ambition and they seem like a self-starter and that kind of stuff.

Chris Gimmer : (12:29)

And then in the actual like interview process, we're really looking for like, do they fit well within our culture? So like I said, we're, we're looking for self-starters obviously, and we also want an enjoyable workspace. So it's actually pretty important for us. Like, can we see ourselves like actually working with this person? Would we actually want to work with this person? Do they seem pretty like happy and optimistic by default? And then, yeah, there's a bunch of other stuff. And then once we determined that like this person is, would fit well within the culture, then we really kind of look at, okay, are they capable of actually doing the job? And that's where we'll usually give them a sample project. And, lately, what we've actually done is paid sample projects that are a bit longer because at the end of the day, like you never really know if someone's capable until they actually start doing the work. So we essentially tried to like simulate what they'll be doing as closely as possible. So that gives us a really good indication of like, if they could actually do the work. So yeah, it's a combination of like culture fit and if they have the right attitude and skillsets.

Company culture

Cassy Aite: (13:35)

Yeah. It's interesting. And do you think, the culture has evolved over time? Or do you think it's been relatively the same since you started Snappa?

Chris Gimmer: (13:46)

I would say it's relatively the same, but it has to involve or evolve a little bit, I guess you would say, but we're still such a small team where we haven't really had to evolve it that much. So in the beginning it was really just being remote, hiring self-starters, autonomy, flexibility. So yeah, nothing's really changed in that part. I guess the only thing is going from two people to four people, to five people, we just kind of evolved like how we're communicating with each other, nothing groundbreaking, but that's yeah, it's been more, I would say like operationally, as opposed to like the high-level culture that we want to support at the company.

Cassy Aite: (14:30)

I heard this interesting concept. I don't know if you've ever thought about this or if you have an idea here, but people assigning the sort of character to their brand or to their culture, which often are the same. So if you think of Apple as an example. Their character would be like Sherlock Holmes, right. They're very clean, very smart, very sharp, but kind of an asshole. Right. Kind of arrogant. I've also heard of, I think if Hoppier is an example, right. Where we're very fun, playful, you can think of us as let's say like Tweety bird, right. So fun, playful, like very friendly, but the character flaw is that Hoppier is not always, it's not exact right. Like we don't care about being very exact we'd rather move fast. And have you ever thought about snap as kind of a character before?

Chris Gimmer: (15:24)

It's interesting. No, I haven't thought about it in terms of like an actual character, but I would say we'd probably be someone who's pretty casual, I would say, and laid back, maybe some kind of cool character. We're not like overly fun and goofy, but at the same time, we're definitely not like serious or anything overly serious. So we're probably like somewhere in the middle, like just kind of a casual, calm type of character, maybe like Matthew McConaughey or something. I dunno.

Cassy Aite: (16:00)

I know who's going to play you in the Snappa a movie in 10 years now, McConaughey.

Chris Gimmer: (16:06)

Oh, God. Yeah. He has a way better voice than I do.

Lessons learned from earlier projects 

Cassy Aite: (16:16)

And a Snappa It wasn't your first company, right? Like you've started a few before and with Mark too, your co-founder. So what were those like and what was the learning experience of running those companies?

Chris Gimmer: (16:29)

I would hate to even call them companies. I would categorize them more as like projects or maybe startups. But so, yeah, I said, Marc and I, we met in the government, and to be honest, our goal at that time was just to make enough money, with our own business so that we can quit and do that full time. And so I'd be lying if I said that we were like really thinking about what's this innovative stuff that we can start. So yeah, it was just like a couple of like side projects. One of them was like a student dating website, which, you know, got a bit of traction in our local cities, but we had no idea about raising money. Obviously we couldn't really monetize other than ads. So after a year, we ended up shutting it down. And that was kind of when I realized like we didn't know what the hell we were doing. So I started learning a lot about online marketing and how to actually run a business.

Chris Gimmer: (17:25)

And then the next thing that we started, which like actually got some traction and we made some money from, it was a marketplace for bootstrap themes and templates, similar to WordPress, but with the bootstrap framework. And that's when I really started to kind of get good at content marketing and SEO and kind of learning those skills.

Chris Gimmer: (17:45)

And we built up that business to we were doing like maybe four or five grand a month in profit. And that was when I decided to take a leave of absence, to focus a bit more on that and try to continue like sharpening my skills. And then eventually started learning about like SaaS and recurring revenue. And that was really attractive to us. And while we were running BootstrapBay, I was running into the issue of like design, and graphics for blog posts was a huge pain. So one thing led to another and then we ended up kind of moving on from that business and starting a Snappa. So that was kind of the evolution of just messing around in the beginning, like throwing spaghetti T the wall, just trying to make enough money to quit. And then kind of eventually like learning about actually how to do marketing, learning about how to actually come up with like business ideas, how to do customer development, how to iterate and test these ideas and yeah. That eventually led to us to Snappa

Cassy Aite: (18:46)

Amazing. And that was how long ago was that when you started that first business?

Chris Gimmer: (18:50)

So ClassmateCatch was 2012 and then we kind of had like a two year period where we were just kind of spinning our wheels and not really knowing what we're doing. And then BootstrapBay, we launched in 2014, and then Snappa was the end of 2015. So depending on what starting date you want to look at, who is anywhere from like, I guess four, three, four years, or like two years if we're talking about like BootstrapBay. From when we first launched Snappa yeah.

Cassy Aite: (19:22)

Okay. So one thing I wanted to ask you about, and today it is May 28th, Thursday, May 28th, 2020, and in the last couple of weeks. Well, even in the last couple of days, there's been a number of companies that have decided to go remote or fully remote. So you can say you’re before Facebook, you’re before Google or Shopify going to remote first. But, it was interesting because some of these companies, I know Facebook said that they will adjust the salaries or total compensation of people that decide to move depending on their location. And they were going to adopt a location-based or continue to keep their location-based compensation. And I thought that was interesting. And David Heinemeier Hansson the creator of Ruby on Rails and founder and CEO at Basecamp. He was pretty critical of them. I know he's very critical of Facebook in general, but, he was very critical and he's been very critical on this. And there's been a number of people debating this idea of whether you should adjust the compensation of people depending on where they are now that we're moving to kind of remote work first world.

Location compensation debate 

Cassy Aite: (20:39)

And so what's your, what are your thoughts on this? Do you guys compensate people based on their location or like what do you think about this?

Chris Gimmer: (20:50)

It's a very interesting debate. So to answer the direct question, so all of our employees right now are across Canada and we there's, well, I guess like if we're talking Toronto or Vancouver, there's some definitely some high real estate prices or whatever, but apart from real estate, like the cost of living tends to be fairly consistent, I guess. So we haven't done a cost of living type of formula or anything like that. I haven't fully like analyzed or looked at this too closely. So no one like please attack me, but my gut instinct tells me that it's something that is probably, I don't know how sustainable it is to do this like the cost of living formula. Because first of all, you need to define what the cost of living is. Right? And then you have situations where like if someone's living somewhere and then they're moving because their wife got a job somewhere else. And now all of a sudden like that person has to take a big pay cut just because they're moving cities. Like to me, it just seems very messy. So from the, I guess the founder’s perspective, I would rather just pay what I think is fair for this job or market rate for this employment. And if someone wants to make the decision to live in either a high or low cost of living area, then that's kind of their choice. So on one hand, I don't think you should necessarily like to punish people for living somewhere that has a lower cost of living. And on the flip side, I don't think maybe you shouldn't have to reward someone for choosing to live in like a super high cost of living.

Chris Gimmer : (22:27)

And this is if we're talking remote here now if you're like running a startup in San Francisco and you have to come into an office, like you kind of have to pay up a little bit because the cost of living is just so much higher. So that's kind of my overall thoughts is like, I just think in the long run, if it were me, I would rather just pay a set market rate. And if someone wants to live in a van down by the river and collect the difference, all the power to them.

Cassy Aite: (22:56)

And have you thought about hiring people outside of Canada before?

Chris Gimmer: (23:01)

Right now, no. Just because like we're a pretty small team. And so just like logistically speaking, it's just much easier for us. And every time that we've posted a job or ask for referrals or look for people to hire, we've been successful in hiring really great people. If all of a sudden there's like a huge talent shortage in Canada, then maybe at that point we would consider going outside of that. But until we kind of reach that limit, which quite frankly, I don't think we ever will. There's not really like a need for us to hire outside of Canada.

Cassy Aite: (23:37)

And you said you go to your you're in Florida every year. Right. You spend winters there. I know that you're afraid of the cold, although, you know, you are, Canada it's okay, Chris.

Chris Gimmer: (23:47)

I am afraid of the cold, but this was my first winter. It was the first time I tried it. And uh, I don't know how I can do another winter now that I've escaped it. So we'll see what happens this year with the travel restrictions. So we'll see.

Traveling and holiday policy 

Cassy Aite: (24:03)

So then are you, because I know that, uh, like, I mean with the remote team, what is the, what is your policy around people like traveling and working? Is it similar to it almost, it has some similarities to this idea of location-based compensation? Is it okay for people to travel and work from, let's say Tokyo? If they wanted it to be in Tokyo three months of the year, or let's say they wanted to visit their parents in Winnipeg or something or in some other city, is that okay with you as a manager?

Chris Gimmer: (24:38)

Yeah. A hundred percent. I'm sure as hell not going to be the kind of founder that takes off for the winter and then tells everyone else that they can't. That would be brutal. So yeah, no, I encourage it to be honest. Like I think that's one of by far, the biggest perks of working remotely is like, when I worked in the government in, you know, I had like three or four weeks for vacation, it was like, that was all I was looking forward to. And I think it's just a huge benefit to be able to, whether you call it a workation or whatever, but just being able to switch up your location or your scenery without having to take a vacation. So one of our employees actually, he has family in LA and so he goes out there quite a bit and usually he'll take like a week or two of actual vacation, let's call it. And then for another two, three weeks, like he'll just work from there. And yeah, so we encourage it. I would say like the only exception would be like, we have a customer support role. So obviously like time zones play a factor in there as well. But yeah, for the most part, we definitely have no issues with people working in other locations. Like whether they're working from home, a coffee shop, as long as like the work's getting done and it's getting done to the level that we expect, to me, it makes no difference where they're actually sitting while they're doing the work.

How to measure performance 

Cassy Aite: (25:56)

And I know this has been interesting, like at Hoppier we've been 60% remote forever, and people have always had the ability to work remotely if they've wanted to. But I know people will always that are kind of new to remote work, especially as managers that are struggling, they're going to ask how do you know that they're working? Right. And that's always like, it blows my mind, but how do you think about that? How do you think about the question? If people asking you, I'm sure you've gotten it before where people have been like, Chris, how do you know that people are actually working when they're at home? Right. And not making sourdough bread or going to the beach or whatever.

Chris Gimmer: (26:35)

Yeah. The easy answer is output. So let's say a developer if they've been working for a week and there's no lines of code, uh, and there's no, basically nothing going on with the code base, you know, that they're not working, take a graphic designer. If there's no templates being created, if there's no SVG's or whatever, you know, they haven't been working. On the marketing side, if there's no blog posts that have gone out or if there's no backlinks that have been created. If they're on the support side, if all of a sudden all the tickets aren't being answered, we know they're not working. Like it's just, it's so easy, at least for us to tell if someone's not working.

Hire the right people

Chris Gimmer: (27:13)

And again, I go back to the initial hiring, if you're hiring people that you even have to question whether they're working or not like you've made a terrible mistake. Like I've never once ever had to question whether our guys and girls are working never once. Right. So that's kind of my answer to that. It's like a, it's really easy to tell you, just look at the output and if there's no output to look at, then I almost question like, you know, even if they're sitting in an office, you know, what are they actually doing? And then, yeah, I think just hiring the right people upfront, just kind of alleviates a lot of those issues, to begin with yet.

Cassy Aite: (27:55)

It always strikes me when people say that, because it's like, well, if you don't trust this person, should you even be hiring them in the first place? Right. Do you think that skills, I've seen one example, automatic company that employs over a thousand people remotely and now, you know, it's the norm, but do you think that would scale considering it sounds like the way to do this even at scale is just by having a good handle on what success means for that individual role. Right. And how to measure it. Do you think that scales?

Focus on outputs not hours in the seat

Chris Gimmer: (28:30)

The answer is, I don't know, because I've never run a hundred thousand person organization, so I can sit here and give you my theories. But I don't like to pretend to know something that I don't, I think at the end of the day, really like once you get to a hundred people or a thousand people, obviously there's different levels of hierarchy. And then that kind of trickles down throughout the organization. So obviously like the CEO is not going to know if every single person is working and doing their job, but he'll have, or she'll have people reporting to them. And then those people will have people reporting to them. And then I think it's kind of at the manager level to really have the heartbeat on what their staff is doing if the output is. Yeah. But again, I think at the end of the day, if you always default to output and what's being produced and the measurables to me, I would think that it shouldn't matter if it's remote or not. As soon as you're measuring productivity by hours worked or hours or ass in the seat, that's where you're going to have some real issues. So my gut tells me, as long as organizations are looking at output and measurables, then it probably shouldn't matter all that much.

Onboarding new employees

Cassy Aite: (29:47)

And how do you find ramping people up when they join your team? Especially as a remote-first team, what's that? How do you make sure that goes as smooth as possible to get people up and running immediately?

Chris Gimmer: (30:00)

That's a good question. And something that for each employee that we've added, we're trying to get better at it. So I think like, again, it depends on the role. I think there are certain levels of process or documentation that I think is helpful. We don't want it to be to the point where like, people are just nothing but following checklists and what have you. And then also just making sure that the training upfront is really well done. So typically what we'll do is let's take like a customer success role that we have, or what have you, we'll kind of walk through like some documentation that we've prepared on here's 90% of probably what you would need to know, go through this, read this over. And then the first week let's say we'll probably do some type of like shadowing essentially. So whoever was doing that role before would basically like go through with the new hire on like video chat, let's say and saying, okay, you know, here's this problem here. Here's how I would do it. And then that person kind of gets to know how it's being done. And then from there, what we'll do is like, okay, now you try to answer these 50 tickets or like answer them in a draft form and then I'll go look over them. So then you kind of start to give them kind of let of the training wheels a little bit, let them kind of answer some stuff on their own, but you're still there to kind of look over things or whatever. And then eventually it's just like, okay, you're on your own. Like, let me know if you need help. Obviously I'm always here for you. So it's kind of like a gradual approach.

Chris Gimmer: (31:32)

And then obviously leveraging like tools. So for example, like going back to the customer support role, we have a knowledge base we use like Healthscope. So if there's something that they're unsure of, the first thing they can do is just search for previous tickets. How did we answer previous tickets? They still don't know, then they can kind of ping whoever in Slack. So yeah, it's for us, it's trying to give them that proper training upfront, having some sort of a shadow period where they can kind of see how that kind of start to give them that autonomy while still being there to answer questions. That's typically kind of what we would do to get someone up to speed.

Employee Handbook

Chris Gimmer : (32:09)

And then one thing I'm actually trying to put together now is some sort of like an employee kind of handbook that goes a bit more beyond just the actual job or role itself and more about like how we communicate, what are kind of, I guess, more like our culture kind of written down, I would say. How we operate, whereas we've usually just done that over video chat. Like here's kind of how we operate, but kind of getting that more in writing, which I think is probably a bit more scalable and maybe more helpful for newer hires.

Cassy Aite: (32:42)

Well, Chris, it's been great having you on the culture builders podcast. Is there a way that our listeners can keep up to date and follow you and keep up to date on the journey that you have?

Chris Gimmer: (32:52)

Yeah, they can follow me on Twitter. My handle is @cgimmer and I started blogging a little bit. I have a couple of posts up now, but anyone wants to check them out. It's chrisgimmer.com and there's a newsletter sign up there. I'm just emailing when new posts are going out, nothing crazy. But yeah, those are probably the best ways that they can keep in touch and follow me.

Cassy Aite: (33:14)

Great. Thanks, Chris. And thanks for listening.

Chris Gimmer: (33:16)

Yeah, thanks for having me. It was fun.