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Strategies to Create a Diverse Workforce with Radina Nedyalkova

Radina Nedyalkova is a remote talent advisor, virtual lecturer, and LinkedIn coach. After 10 years in the corporate world working in executive search and the global recruitment or teams of LinkedIn and Airbnb, she jumped into entrepreneurship and set up an all-rounded remote consultancy called Vox Advisory in 2019. As a remote advocate, Radina focuses on virtual lecturing and training for individuals, startups, and growing companies that want to enhance their careers and experience.

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Luis:

Welcome ladies and gentlemen to another episode of the DistantJob Podcast. I am your host Luis, in this podcast that’s all about building and leading awesome remote teams. My guest today is Radina Nedyalkova. Radina is a remote talent advisor, virtual lecturer and LinkedIn coach. After 10 years in the corporate world working in executive search, and in the global recruitment or teams of LinkedIn and Airbnb, she jumped in the entrepreneurial ship and set up an all rounded remote consultancy called Vox Advisory in 2019.

Luis:

As a remote advocate, Radina focuses her practice on virtual lecturing and training for individuals, startups and growing companies that want to enhance their careers and experience. Radina, welcome to the show.

Radina Nedyalkova:

Thank you so much Luis. Really appreciate your time.

Luis:

So first question. You started your remote advisory, Vox Advisory in 2019, a couple of months later, COVID hit? What did you know that we didn’t.

Radina Nedyalkova:

See, I actually love to refer to myself as the wicked seer. Why? Because I’ve embraced remote a lot earlier actually than before 2019. But when I set up my own practice, I said to myself, I actually want to do everything virtually from the comfort of my own home. I’m going to explore what are the right tools, so I actually was completely ready. And then when COVID hit, I was like I told you, you should have developed this muscle to work remotely. So I guess I was a few steps ahead of the game.

Luis:

Okay. No insider information.

Radina Nedyalkova:

Unfortunately, nothing more than that. Just mindset, having the right mindset.

Luis:

Yeah, well, it’s definitely a good mindset. Tell me how was remote… I mean, obviously, your business is possible because remote work, it’s remote centered, right? But you could just be a consultant just a Vox Advisory in an alternate reality could be advising people about working in the office and not working remotely. So why do you think this is better? What makes you want to focus your coaching and your lectures in working remote?

Radina Nedyalkova:

Absolutely. And it does make a difference when you select what you’re good at, and also what you feel would be beneficial for people in the future. So I wanted to create my consultancy. First of all, it was a trial absolutely, I didn’t think I’m going to survive the first year, I did have a lot of doubts about it. But then it just spiked particularly in the COVID… When COVID hit in March, my business actually started blooming.

Radina Nedyalkova:

And I felt when I set it up on one site remote was already attendance. And it wasn’t something that was very new in the corporate world. I got in touch with some organizations that were fully remote. And it just felt that this would make sense in the long run. I am all for embracing technology and being progressive, being innovative, open minded, and it just felt right. And it seems like I’ve done the right thing. As you said, alternative universe, maybe things would have been different, but I think I jumped on the right ship.

Luis:

Yeah, no doubt about that. So tell me a bit. You also have a background in psychology, if I’m not mistaken.

Radina Nedyalkova:

Correct. Yeah.

Luis:

What do you think that unique background gives you as an insight in working with remote people in helping remote teams thrive?

Radina Nedyalkova:

See, when I was studying psychology, and that was over 13 years ago, I didn’t really know what that would help me for and I knew that I’m good with people, I knew that I can read people quite well. So it felt okay to just jump and study psychology. In the first few years, I was thinking, “Gosh, I probably made a mistake. I should have gotten a business education.” Because back then everyone was having business education and even my parents, my family, were asking, “Radi, why did you choose psychology? Why would that make sense?”

Radina Nedyalkova:

Now honestly, 10 years later, I think I made absolutely the best choice because psychology gives you not only the theoretical preparation in regards to how people think, how people feel, what triggers them, what their motivators are, and particularly in my world as HR and recruitment consultants. This is incredibly beneficial. Also, being a lecturer means that I need to create a connection. And it’s very difficult when you just have a box of Zoom window to create a real connection. But it seems like it’s helping a lot to understand the vibe, to basically be able to read the audience and see if they’re bored, if they’re excited and get the right buzz when it comes to my training sessions.

Luis:

Well, I’m sure definitely helps. How does it affect your day-to-day thinking, the way you interact with clients, the way you prepare your lectures, the way you try to make sense of team composition let’s say. Can you give us some practical insights?

Radina Nedyalkova:

Absolutely. And first thing that I always prefer to say it’s not a straightforward game. It’s a challenging one. It’s difficult, especially now, because we are not in a normal work from home or a normal remote situation. We are currently, here in Ireland, we are on six weeks lockdown. Second one this year. And at some point, no matter how good you are, in terms of your time, skills, organizational capabilities, you do struggle.

Radina Nedyalkova:

So right now, when it comes to my day-to-day agenda, and how I cope with all of the different activities, it can get very messy, it definitely can get pretty messy and chaotic. And ultimately, what really makes it worthwhile is really building this positive relationships, having some positive routines, how I do that? I try to talk to people as much as possible, put all the cards on the table, what you see is what you get.

Radina Nedyalkova:

So we set up the expectations from the beginning, if there is some kind of communication or challenge, we try to resolve it ASAP, so that there is a smooth collaboration afterwards. If we decide this is not the right partnership, or the right moment, it’s better to say it much quicker than let’s say in a normal setup where you see people for a few times before you make a general call.

Luis:

Okay, so let’s talk about this new normal, the COVID normal, right? It’s kind of a trial by fire for remote work. It’s definitely not the best conditions, right? As you said, even people who are very good at remote work struggle, because you know they worry about their parents, their grandparents, their kids, their kids aren’t going to school in some places, etc. There’s this whole layer of anxiety for everyone really, right? Doesn’t matter who you are, where you are, what your work is.

Luis:

Some of us have it easier than others. But overall, the world’s anxiety level went up by at least 20% all around, if not more. Definitely everyone is… No one is exempted from that. There is a new normal, this was a trial by fire for remote work. What kind of things did you think were going to happen? When COVID hit that didn’t happen? What defied your expectations? When was something that you thought about remote work either positive or negative that now after most of the world is doing it’s in one shape or another? What were the things that you weren’t predicting. You didn’t think would go a certain way and went?

Radina Nedyalkova:

Yeah, and I’m not an exemption in terms of what most people thought initially, when this happened. It was, of course, media creates this kind of noise and negative buzz and we keep looking at the numbers, the first couple of months, I think they were quite stressful. And we thought that this is going to hit us hard and then disappear.

Radina Nedyalkova:

I guess my expectation, particularly on how that would impact businesses is okay, this is something that will be here for a month or two and then it will disappear. So we’ll continue back in the way things were before because there is no precedent in our lifetime. But one thing that I told about remote work is that we need to teach more people how to embrace it.

Radina Nedyalkova:

And if there is a silver lining from this whole Corona nightmare, is that people realized a lot of the work, a lot of the jobs can be done virtually, they can be still productive. But it is a matter of time to figure out boundaries, to figure out what makes you productive, what keeps you motivated, despite the fact that you will be more isolated in comparison to how you were before.

Radina Nedyalkova:

So I thought that this speed of embracing remote work or working from home or working from anywhere. WFA, which is the new thing. I thought that it’s not going to be so fast, but it was actually embraced very, very quickly. Which I see this is a positive thing. I think we needed that shake. Hopefully there’ll be more positives coming out of that. I prefer to look at the positives versus the negatives, but were things that I didn’t plan for.

Luis:

Yeah, it seems that the world changes really fast these days, right? I never thought that I would be walking down the street and see everyone wearing face masks. I never thought that would happen outside of an Asian country where that’s already part of the culture, right? But here we are. So I guess that people… In the internet age people are much quicker to change behavior than we thought. So that could be both good and bad, right?

Radina Nedyalkova:

Absolutely.

Luis:

But it is what it is. Let’s talk a bit about hiring. Because this job is a recruitment agency, we are actually one of the first recruitment agencies, if not the first in North America, to focus exclusively on remote. We’ve been doing that for many years now. And I want to talk about one of your hashtags. I don’t know if you were the one who created. But it was definitely the first time I encountered that was in some of your work, which is diversity by default.

Luis:

Now, I’ve been banging this drum for a couple of years and my American friends get crazy when I say this, but I tell them, the things that you implement in your company isn’t real diversity, you’re just getting different colored Americans, right? If you want to have real diversity, real cultural diversity, you should probably hire remote. Because when you’re hiring remote, you’re automatically hiring from the whole world.

Luis:

So it really is the best way to promote diversity in a company, instead of just looking at people’s photos, and finding people with different looks. But you hash tagged it. You created… Hash tag diversity by default or maybe you didn’t create it, but certainly, you’re the first person that I’ve seen using it. So tell me a bit more about that.

Radina Nedyalkova:

Of course, absolutely. And I completely agree with you to a certain extent that it is a perception what diversity and inclusion mean, actually, the hashtag is hashtag inclusive by default.

Luis:

Yeah sorry.

Radina Nedyalkova:

But this is very much… They are very close to one another because one cannot exist without the other. And particularly diversity comes in so many different ways. In so many different variations. You mentioned, obviously, the color of the skin, but there are at least 20 other categories from a diversity standpoint. And my concern, particularly what I have seen, unfortunately, is that people, companies take this to an extreme, they perceive, “We need to have diversity,” and then they make some very loud commitments publicly, such as we are going to have ratio 50/50, male versus female.

Radina Nedyalkova:

And they do everything in order to achieve this ratio. And for me, this leads to positive discrimination. Which means that you prioritize, let’s say more, just to give an example, you prioritize more females, just because you want to create this ratio. And that’s not the right thing to look at diversity nor inclusion. For me inclusive by default, I haven’t seen it before, I created it after a very emotional reach on LinkedIn, I was looking at professionals that I can interact with.

Radina Nedyalkova:

And a lot of the times people put that they’re inclusive employer and they embrace diversity, and then they either not respond to their messages. They send very, very exclusive types of mails. And it seems for me that if I show that I’m inclusive by default, this is how I’m born. This is what I believe in. This is part of my values as a human being. It’s not just nice PR activity. I thought that this would help people understand what I bring to the table.

Radina Nedyalkova:

Now some of the audience might decide that this is a bit too presumptuous, or it’s not a type of PR. But for me, it was important because the people that know me and do business with me, from a hiring perspective, training perspective, they know that what I do, what I say, how I think is absolutely aligned. So for me, this is inclusive by default.

Luis:

Yeah. That definitely makes sense. I hear you, I hear you. It makes sense. And I was thinking about it in the context of remote work, right? And hire all over the world. I mean, you’re obviously you’re going to try to find the best person for the job. But if you’re looking for the best person for the job in a global scale, how likely is it that you’re going to find someone who looks and thinks and speaks like you?

Luis:

Not that likely probably. And that’s pretty good. That’s pretty good. Obviously there is something to be saying about some cultural overlap, right? If we didn’t speak the same language, this call would be more diverse. But it would be a lot less fun. For something like that. But you do need to have some cultural overlap. But overall, if you hire internationally, you do get, like I said, diversity by default, you corrected me to inclusive by default, which is actually an even better, an even better hash tag.

Luis:

And let’s jump to team composition. There’s something that… I have to thank you for doing a bit of my work for me because I work in the marketing department for DistantJob. And one of the things that I’ve been struggling a bit to explain to potential clients is the strength of our recruitment team, right? Because we have recruiters all around the world, we have recruiters from one edge of the world, Vietnam, passing through Ukraine, Europe, South America, and US.

Luis:

So we have recruiters all around the world. And yes, I used to say that we speak the candidate’s language, and that is literally true, because whatever the candidate’s language is, we have someone who can speak it, right? We have a very diverse recruitment team. And they always add a bit of expressing how that was good.

Luis:

But then I ran across an article by you where you actually explained that if you hire diversily, if your team, if your recruitment panel is diverse, then you will more naturally hire diversily, because there’s less inherent bias. So would you likely extend a bit on that. Please do more of my work for me, I’m loving it.

Radina Nedyalkova:

Absolutely. And this is a great point, when you bring the strength of the team and this should resonate with people. Why because it’s understanding the cultural specifics. And by the way, culture awareness is one of the skills that would be highly in demand in 2021 and beyond, and nurturing this culture awareness with all due respect, I also worked at the global scale, I actually worked on five continents.

Radina Nedyalkova:

But I don’t even think I’m there yet. Because I don’t understand the complexity. I don’t understand the habits, the trends, even the timbre of my voice should vary depending on what kind of country I’m talking to. So I absolutely agree with what you just mentioned, in terms of having a diverse panel and having diverse panel from a mindset perspective, cultural angle, nationality, heritage, I wouldn’t say go for the biggest mix possible. Of course, it has to make sense. Of course, it has to resonate with the purpose of this job, of this company, of this organization and team.

Radina Nedyalkova:

But ultimately, if you really commit to creating a diverse workforce, then you need to understand, okay, what does that mean on the long run? Is it just involving people here and now? Or is it looking at the bigger picture? Who can I invite to become part of my panel? Why am I inviting them? What more do they bring to the table? And when you’re interviewing people as well, I keep teaching that to all of my students and professionals that you cannot copy and paste, you cannot look at yourself in this person.

Radina Nedyalkova:

You mentioned it yourself in terms of if you embrace remote hiring, you won’t probably see someone who looks like you, talks like you, sees the picture like you. But a lot of the times the struggle of companies is well, I’ve hired someone that is doing a good job, why am I not replacing them, copy paste syndrome. And it’s so difficult to explain to them, “Well, you cannot do that. You need to see what could be a cultural act, not a cultural fit.” Because if you want everyone to fit in the scheme, at some point, you will lose the diversity.

Radina Nedyalkova:

And that won’t lead to better inclusion and belonging. Because ultimately, these things are so intertwined. If you commit to one, you commit to the other too, otherwise it’s just noise and like on the surface. Hope that makes sense?

Luis:

Oh, no, no. It does make sense. Let’s dive a bit into the fit part of the thing. Now, obviously, if I’m hiring for a marketing team, or hiring for a development team, or hiring for, I don’t know, online teaching, let’s say. I’m looking for completely different skill sets, right? I want people to be good at what they do. And each specific job requires a specific set of skills. But I do think that there are at least some skills that apply not in the person’s job category. But then the working remotely category, I mean, skills that someone needs to have to be good at working remotely. And I wanted to get your opinion on that. What do you think? What do you look for if you’re hiring people specifically for a remote position?

Radina Nedyalkova:

Yes. And I think this is so critical to bring up every single time for every single role. Even if you’ve hired already remote professionals, you need to bring this dialogue, this conversation over and over again, because things change. And obviously, as we saw with COVID, things happen for a reason. And on one side, let’s say if you ask me this question at the beginning of the year, and maybe January and February, I would say, communication and flexibility are incredibly critical, right?

Radina Nedyalkova:

So these are the two skills communication, both written, verbal, being able to understand context quickly, even using emojis nowadays, I mean, we all communicate on slack a lot of the times, and if you don’t understand what thumbs up means when someone sends a post, you recognize that they’ve done something. And that’s also part of the communication, right?

Luis:

Yeah.

Radina Nedyalkova:

And then flexibility, of course, showing that you’re able to adjust quickly from one environment to the other. But now, if you ask me this question again, I will probably add to this two skills, I would add, ability to manage yourself. So self organization, self management, because ultimately, you might be a fantastic project manager. But if you’re not able to cope with your own time, with your own complexities of working from home right now, with your kids, dogs, cats, partners, etc, you’re probably going to fail sooner or later, or you’re going to bring yourself to burnout.

Luis:

Yeah.

Radina Nedyalkova:

So mental strength, being able to deal with stress and change management, I would absolutely add these three skills, how you measure for those? Of course, you can ask for examples, which is, as always, competency-based questions do make sense if people can provide solid examples from their past. But I will also ask hypothetical questions, how they cope in situation A, B, and C, because you can’t prepare for these types of questions. You have to respond right here right now.

Radina Nedyalkova:

And if it hasn’t hit you at all. If you’re just opening your eyes to, “Yeah, well, these are challenges in the remote space,” then obviously, you’re not ready yet. You’re a bit green. So I think ultimately, it’s a combination of different tools. It’s practical examples. I would say to certain extent, I’m a believer in personality tests, or any kind of assessments like that, where they put you in specific situation. Because if I just give someone a test 15 questions that they can feel at home. I don’t think that would be super reliable tool.

Radina Nedyalkova:

So I would absolutely encourage managers who are hiring remotely, figure out first of all, what are the skills for success in a remote setup, figure out what will be the most reliable way to test that because people will prepare and ultimately exert a judgment call based on what you’ve seen, based on what the criteria for success is in your company and reiterate. You’re going to change probably a few times the way you interview people in the next couple of years.

Luis:

Yeah, I get you about the personality test. I mean, there still are some situations. I mean, I don’t know the literature completely off the top of my head. But I seem to remember a pretty recent study, let’s say within the last five years, that there’s a pretty significant correlation between, let’s say, conscientiousness, and the big five personality trait.

Luis:

And actually performing well, at the kinds of jobs that are usually, you know what? The kinds of white collar jobs that are usually done remotely. So I wasn’t completely put the personality test off the table. But yes, I agree with you. You should… It’s much more powerful when you actually put people on the spot and have a real conversation, which is why I don’t usually have scripted questions, by the way, rather than just giving a questionnaire to fill.

Radina Nedyalkova:

Exactly.

Luis:

You mentioned one thing, and we glazed over very, very quickly because you went to the person being more independent quickly, but you mentioned flexibility. And I think that’s interesting that you look for flexibility when hiring because flexibility, in relation to remote work usually comes as a perk, like that’s something that we tell the people, “You’re going to have flexibility. That’s a good perk for working remotely for us.” But usually that flexibility is actually a trait that someone should have in order to be a good remote worker. Can you expand a bit on that, please?

Radina Nedyalkova:

Of course, of course. And obviously, this is my perception based on what I’ve seen working. But flexibility means that you are able to very quickly adjust from one environment to another, or from one situation to another. Being able to shift your mindset from one project to another, let’s say once upon a time, multitasking was a skill perceived as high value, right? So doing different things at the same time, being successful in all of them.

Radina Nedyalkova:

I don’t think this is helpful anymore, I see that as flexibility, flexibility of your mind, being able to learn very quickly, leave the things that you know well behind and jump in something that is very new, very different to you. Flexibility also comes with decision making. So let’s say if people have embraced, we’re living somewhere else, or let’s say during an Erasmus year in a different country, I don’t see that as a fun activity and that’s it.

Radina Nedyalkova:

I see this as them looking proactively to gain more knowledge, gain more exposure. So for me, flexibility is rather a big skill. It’s not just one specific thing, but it’s a big skill that encompasses flexibility of mind, decision making, adjusting to situations and being open to feedback as well.

Luis:

Okay, those are some good points and you’re right, it does make sense to talk about flexibility in that context. Let’s talk about it in other context as a perk. Now, you are a traveler, I believe you’ve been working from 35 different countries so far is that… Did I get that right? Has the counter gone up by one in the meantime or something like that?

Radina Nedyalkova:

I look forward to hopefully no, there are still 35 countries that I visited, and I’ve had the chance to work in what is it, four different countries on three continents. So for now, that’s my story. Hopefully, that would expand in the near future.

Luis:

Okay. So you have worked at some very high caliber businesses with some very high caliber companies. You are also an entrepreneur now, and when you are an entrepreneur, when you have your own business, I know everyone envies like the freedom and the independence and everything. But really people, you end up working twice.

Radina Nedyalkova:

Yes.

Luis:

It comes at a cost, but most people can’t even do their nine to five and travel at the same time. I know. I actually even though I stress flexibility when I’m talking to remote candidates, I say, “Look, when we say remote working, we mean you work from home, or from the coworking space where you can be productive. We are not looking for people who want to travel around the world and work from home.” Mostly because most people can’t manage. It becomes chaos. I myself. I’ve tried working from other countries for a while.

Luis:

I’ve tried work while travel thing and it was a mess. Because unexpected situations happen. The internet that you checked five times with your hotel to know that the internet, you are going to get the room with good internet. And the internet is good. Yes, sir. It’s very good. It’s perfect. And then I get there and I don’t even have a 4G signal, right? This happens.

Luis:

And how do you do it? What is your advice for people who are… I’m not even saying for people who are employees, because that’s a… A nine to five is still manageable. But if you’re running your own business, these are my colleagues, right? My colleagues who are running companies who have teams of employees reporting to them. They tell me, “Luis, it’s great that I work remote, but I don’t think I could do this while traveling.” What is the method? What is the secret sauce there?

Radina Nedyalkova:

See, I totally agree with what you just said. And for me, being a digital nomad and being a remote worker are two very different concepts as you clarified it yourself. And I honestly believe digital nomadism is an art. It’s absolute art of juggling with so many different things, keeping yourself motivated. Also thinking about the different time zones as well because most likely you’re not working in the same time zone but you’re working with either variety of customers or team members that are in very different time zones. And as you said it yourself if you’re in a hotel Airbnb, whatever, internet is your best friend. So you always need to make sure that you have internet and good health insurance. I do know that from my own experience.

Radina Nedyalkova:

But as a professional myself, I’ve always worked in a company. Now when I’m an entrepreneur, the reason why I decided to be a remote expert was because I have my setup in a separate room, in my own house in Dublin. Plus, I do have my own apartment in Bulgaria. So I want it to be stretched in between these two countries. So I would say I’m very far from being a digital nomad. But I have created a setup that is a work mode setup in these two countries, so that I can split my time in between my two homes.

Radina Nedyalkova:

It’s incredibly challenging. And as I said, internet health insurance. And probably having a very healthy mindset and routines to preserve you are probably incredibly critical, in my opinion. But as I said, if you really want to go the remote path, there is more than just getting a nice ergonomic chair and a second display. There are a lot of other stuff that are involved in terms of habits, rituals, technology, software, hardware that you need to get in place even until now.

Radina Nedyalkova:

So I’m two years, almost two years now in my journey, I still keep upgrading when it comes to software tools that I’m using. I recently bought another chair because mine wasn’t good enough. So you keep upgrading yourself in any shape or form.

Luis:

Nice. Okay, so there’s a lot of things there that I want to touch in. But let’s start by rituals, right? What does your day look like? What does your week look like?

Radina Nedyalkova:

Yeah, well, I am absolutely not the greatest example of a structured person. Yeah, the only thing I have structured is my breakfast and my to do list.

Luis:

Okay, that’s something.

Radina Nedyalkova:

Everything else is… It is.

Luis:

People think that because I have a podcast that’s about business and productivity, that I’m like a lean mean productivity machine, it’s more like, the scenario is more like getting up and being like a zombie looking for coffee. And that’s how the morning starts. That’s my ritual. It’s just coffee.

Radina Nedyalkova:

This is important to talk about this stuff, because people only see the glamorous remote professionals or organizations that have their stuff in order. But actually, the real grind is to understand what works well for you. And it took me quite some time. Because when you’re at home, I didn’t even go to coworking space. I need to get my physical routine in place, right?

Radina Nedyalkova:

So the physical activity no matter what people say, you need to have at least 20 to 30 minutes of physical activity. Okay, it could be just you putting on ABA and dancing like no one is watching for 30 minutes or 20 minutes, it could be yoga, it could be just walking and listening to an audiobook. I have embraced these practices quite recently, if I may say.

Radina Nedyalkova:

Then the other thing is a food regime and vitamins and minerals. A lot of us are pretty malnourished. And we think we are good because we’re eating an apple a day. No, that’s not good enough. So you need to make sure that your body is operating in full capacity, your brain as well. So looking after your brain, we do spend a lot of time in front of the computer. So if you think about it, it’s a lot more than eight hours.

Radina Nedyalkova:

And unfortunately the weekends as well. You do have the privilege of living in a very nice and sunny country. I am living in a very cloudy, rainy and windy country. So I don’t get to extreme outdoors.

Luis:

I remember when I visit-

Radina Nedyalkova:

Yeah, I mean it – .

Luis:

I was there for a week. It was okay. I enjoyed myself. Had a great time. And then I arrived, I took the plane back to Portugal. I arrived in Portugal. I got off the plane and I’m like, “This was what was missing. The sun is a thing.”

Radina Nedyalkova:

Yes. Oh my goodness. Yes. And I know it sounds funny. But actually, if you start adding all of this stuff to the equation, they do have a significant weight. So you’re better off understanding what makes you tick. Are you a morning person, an evening person? My routine now includes for sure a solid breakfast, a walk and yoga and I do have absolutely mandatory meditation in the end of the day.

Radina Nedyalkova:

This meditation is 10 minutes on a calm app on my phone. I do a bit of stretching. I do write some stuff down and this is how my day finishes up. Otherwise I feel like something is missing. But everyone has their own rituals and I strongly encourage you, create one, okay. It might be a ridiculous thing, as I said, jumping and dancing, but you need to have this balancing your day.

Luis:

Yeah, this is absolutely true. And you know, some people are worse at some things than others, right? I have a colleague that makes fun of me because I missed her scheduled meeting, right? I always have a very strict schedule, and I stand by that schedule. And he makes good natured fun of me for that, but because most people in my company are a bit more chill when it comes to schedule. But I know that if I don’t set up a start and stop time, I won’t start. And once I start, I definitely won’t stop.

Radina Nedyalkova:

Same story. Same story, by the way, for all of those people who are struggling with that element of you can’t switch off and you end up working for three hours straight, Pomodoro. Download the app, or just get a focus keeper, something to remind you that you need to get your bum out of the seat and just walk a bit.

Luis:

Yeah, for sure. So let’s dive into right on your tools and apps. What does your virtual office look like? What are the browser tabs that you have opened right now or that you have open when you start your day?

Radina Nedyalkova:

Now, first of all -.

Luis:

… stuff that would compromise you.

Radina Nedyalkova:

Nothing that will compromise me actually. I have tons of open articles actually, because I’m constantly reading about new technology or HR, or remote step setups or startups that I might be interested in. So I definitely have at least three tabs right now with different articles that I found at least one tab of one of my presentations that I’m working on for any of my training sessions.

Radina Nedyalkova:

And then one thing that I use regularly is slack. As I said, slack, I do have loads of groups that I’m part of. Lots of channels where I keep track on things. So slack is always open. And I think more or less this is it. I’ve tried to keep my emails shut down because I’m this kind of OCD person that the minute I have a notification I have to check it out. So I am trying my best not to check it all the time. But yeah, the other thing is Zoom. I mean, probably Zoom is the one thing that drains my battery because it’s always on.

Luis:

Yeah, I get that definitely. Okay. So if you add, let’s say, you get a lot of trainees for sure now with your company and all of that with your advisory work. So let’s say that you had 100 euros to pick a gift for them. How would you spend… And you need to buy the same thing for everyone, you can’t just adapt it to the person and you can’t give the gift card, sorry, you need to buy in bulk something and gift for them. What is the tool that you would gift, could be digital, could be physical, but what is the tool that you would gift for everyone that you interact with remotely?

Radina Nedyalkova:

Right. So I can give a gift voucher. I’m very practical person. Now you’ll probably laugh but I am super practical. I hate gifts that I can’t use for some reason. So I would probably think about what would help them feel better. Recently I rediscovered audible, and I rediscovered it not only because they’re interesting business books, but they’re also a lot of meditations and there are also some podcasts.

Radina Nedyalkova:

So I’ll probably get everyone a yearly subscription for audible because they would get whether you want a business book, a self improvement book, whether you want a travel guide to do a bit of daydreaming or whether you want to listen to some mantras and meditations I think audible just has it all so I’ll probably… That’ll be the first instinct, probably there are more practical stuff than this but I think that will be my thing.

Luis:

That’s good, let’s talk about yourself other than the one that you already told us about your new chair. What purchase has made your work life easier or more productive in the past year?

Radina Nedyalkova:

As funny as that sounds, okay, my plans.

Luis:

Okay.

Radina Nedyalkova:

I’m a big fan of like feng shui and creating a nice setup. So it is difficult to say whether it’s my plants or whether it’s my diffuser because I put some nice essential oils and the whole vibe like I literally am looking at that right now. I have a really nice bamboo plant. And I have the diffuser on with some orange essential oil and I do have a couple of candles here. So creating this kind of sacred space next to my computer. I think it just removes a lot of the negative energy. And I know that might be just my projection. But I think these kind of purchases are much more impactful than my new ergonomic chair.

Luis:

Oh, really? Wow. Well, you can’t go wrong with carbon-based life forms, right?

Radina Nedyalkova:

There you go. There you go.

Luis:

But I am still curious about the chair. Why did you switch? What do you feel makes a really good chair?

Radina Nedyalkova:

So I’m not a pro here. I’m definitely not a pro. I’ve seen people having a lot of really cool chairs, like gaming chairs with a rest for your neck with special kind of holders. And my current chair actually has a pump, that if you press it few times, it creates a bit of harder tension on your back, particularly the lower back and-

Luis:

That sounds nice.

Radina Nedyalkova:

Yeah, it does. I don’t know how good that is to be honest, I didn’t listen to a specific advisor, I listened to the guy in the shop. So I might be a bit naive in that sense. But I do like this pump. Because it kind of feels more firmer on my back.

Luis:

Nice.

Radina Nedyalkova:

I hope that-

Luis:

All right. So do you do usually gift books?

Radina Nedyalkova:

I do. I do actually. Yes.

Luis:

So what books do you gift the most.

Radina Nedyalkova:

The last two people that I’ve sent gifts. Actually, it was the same book. And it was from Joe Dispenza, Breaking The Habit of Being Yourself. And I actually haven’t read the whole book. But I think it’s something that is pretty much needed at the moment because we tend to be our worst enemies. There is this voice of consciousness or devil, demon, whatever you want to call it that always says that we’re not good enough, or we’re not doing things right. Whether it’s impostor syndrome, or whether it’s just your thought process. This book is quite interesting. And it really provides you with ways of hopefully rewiring your brain to serve you better.

Luis:

Nice. Well, thanks for the tip. Thanks for the tip.

Radina Nedyalkova:

Welcome.

Luis:

Final question. This one has a bit longer setup. So please bear with me. Let’s pretend for a while that there’s no pandemic going around, and that it’s still okay for large gatherings to happen. Now you are hosting a dinner where the top CEOs, CTOs, the top people in Silicon Valley and really technology companies everywhere, the decision makers are going to your dinner, there’s a roundtable about remote work and the future of work. So that’s what everyone is going to be talking about.

Luis:

There’s a real chance of whatever conversations happen in this dinner that you’re hosting, have a real impact in the future of work. Now the twist is that the dinner is at the Chinese restaurant, and you as the host get to pick the message that goes inside the fortune cookie. So what is your fortune cookie message?

Radina Nedyalkova:

That’s a very, very interesting one. So all of the technology top people are at my dinner, and oh my gosh, first of all, I love fortune cookie. Now I’m hungry thinking about that. Thank you so much for bringing that lovely thought in my head.

Luis:

You can probably order in.

Radina Nedyalkova:

Yes, actually. Yeah, that’s a great idea. So I would, again, the psychologists in me always talks first, and it’s humans above all. So I’ll probably add something in the sense of I’m not going to quote Maya Angelou on that one. But don’t forget that people will remember how you make them feel.

Luis:

That’s a good one. And it’s

Radina Nedyalkova:

It is for Maya Angelou. It’s not me. Okay. It’s not me, but I really love this one. I love it. And I think it’s

Luis:

You can put it on the fortune cookie and don’t tell anyone and probably we can avoid litigation.

Radina Nedyalkova:

Fair enough. Fair enough. It is a revision of her quote. It is a revision of her quote but

Luis:

Very good, very -.

Radina Nedyalkova:

Yeah, exactly. I’d say this will be a good one. Because certain companies out there, they do a lot of stuff and there is a lot of PR around them and they claim to be one thing and then actually the media or the news would completely different perspective. So I think if everyone is very conscious of how they do business, ethically to have integrity first. I think things will be a bit better.

Luis:

Okay, that’s a really nice place to wrap it up. So, thank you so much. Radina, where can people continue the conversation with you? Where can people find you? Find all about Vox Advisory and figure out how to get in touch.

Radina Nedyalkova:

Sure, absolutely. And I’m always happy to build new relationships and connections as long as people give me some context, that’ll be amazing. Of course, I’m always on LinkedIn, my name is too unique. So you’ll definitely be able to find me there, feel free to follow me or connect with me, or just check what I’m doing on my website, which is www.vox-advisory.com. So yeah, you can learn more about my story and decide whether you want to connect or just stay tuned.

Luis:

Yeah. And we’ll have all those links in the show notes. Thank you so much for being a guest. It was an absolute pleasure.

Radina Nedyalkova:

Likewise, thank you so much Luis have a lovely rest of your day.

Luis:

Thank you too. Ladies and gentlemen, this was the DistantJob podcast, your podcast about building and leading awesome remote teams. See you next week. And so we close another episode of the DistantJob podcast. And if you enjoyed the episode, please, you can help us out by sharing it on social media. That would be great. It’s how we reach more listeners and the more listeners we have, the more awesome guests I can get in touch and convince to participate in these conversations that are a joy to have for me, and I hope they’re a joy for you to listen to as well.

Luis:

You can also help a lot leaving reviews on iTunes or your podcast syndication service of choice. Reviews are surprisingly helpful in helping the podcast get to more listeners. Now another thing that you might want to do is go to distantjob.com/blog/podcast, click on your favorite episode, any episode really and subscribe. By subscribing, you will get a notification whenever a new episode is up. And whenever we get the transcripts of the episodes up, so you can actually peruse the conversations in text form.

Luis:

And of course, if you need to find a great employee for your team, a great remote employee, you should take the whole world into consideration and not just to hire locally, not just look to hire in your country. Look around the whole world because that’s the talent pool that contains the best talent.

Luis:

And to help you with that, again, distantjob.com is the perfect place to start. You will tell us who we need, and we will make sure that you get the best possible candidate 40% faster than the industry standard. And with that, I bid you adieu. See you next week on the next episode of the DistantJob podcast.

 

More ways to listen:

Many studies prove the benefits of having a diverse workforce in a business; when you hire people from different backgrounds, nationalities, religions, differences, creativity, and innovation increases.

In this podcast episode, Radina Nedyalkova shares from her experience why building a diverse workforce is a game-changer for businesses. She also reveals that remote workers need to develop a new set of skills, such as empathy and cultural awareness, to succeed.

''I encourage managers who are hiring remotely to figure out the skills for success in a remote setup and figure out the most reliable way to test candidates based on the criteria for success in their company.'' Click To Tweet

Highlights:

  • Why having a diverse recruitment panel is important
  • Culture awareness as a skill to look for in remote candidates
  • Hiring for culture fit: What does this mean?
  • Tips to create a diverse and inclusive remote workforce
  • Advice for digital nomads
  • How to balance remote work with personal life

 

Book Recommendation:

 

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