Effective Remote Hiring Strategies with Bretton Putter

Bretton Putter is an expert in company culture development and the CEO of CultureGene, a culture leadership software and services platform that helps companies and leaders worldwide design, develop, build, and transition into a high-performance remote culture. He is also the author of Own Your Culture: How to Define, Embed, and Manager Your Company Culture, a book that contains the research and the best practices of top-performing companies.

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Luis Magalhaes:

Welcome, ladies and gentlemen to another episode of The Distant Job Podcast. I am your host, Luis, in this podcast that’s all about building and leading awesome remote teams. My guest today is Brett Putter. Brett is an expert in company culture development and the CEO of CultureGene, a culture leadership software and services platform that helps companies and leaders worldwide in designing, developing, building and transitioning into a high performance remote culture.

Luis Magalhaes:

After interviewing and conducting eight months of research into companies like GitLab, Basecamp, Odd Jar, Zapier, Buffer, Top-down, Automattic and others, to understand how they operate, Brett found that there are nine fundamental best practices that these companies focus on. He has used that knowledge and much more knowledge that he has accumulated over the years to write and publish his second book, Own Your Culture: How to Define, Embed and Manage Your Company Culture. So, there’s a lot for us to talk about. So without any further ado. Brett, thank you for being on the show.

Bretton Putter:

Luis, my pleasure. Great to be here. Thanks for having me.

Luis Magalhaes:

And it’s lovely having you. And I want to tell our listeners something that I already told you, but it’s always nice to make sure that everyone is on the same page. This podcast is about your experience with remote work. And obviously, we’re going to touch on the book, but it does not in any way, shape or form replace the reading of the book. As another, myself, I know it’s a bit frustrating when people think they can get the full picture just by listening to a podcast. So, if you find any interest or value in our discussion today, which I’m sure you will, please consider looking up, going to the show notes, finding the book and purchasing it and reading it. That’s the best thing you can do for another. And that is, by the way we aren’t rich, right?

Luis Magalhaes:

Others don’t get rich. So, don’t consider this as a way to supporting your other, though. It could also be, but it’s mainly so we can actually distribute our knowledge, right? The book is a vehicle for the distribution of our knowledge and our principles and values and money due to the nature of the publishing business has to come second because no one gets rich from their books, sadly enough, those days are over. So, after this lengthy preamble, Brett, did I miss anything? Is there anything that you would like to add about what you do?

Bretton Putter:

No, I think you’ve covered it quite nicely. I’m an author, the founder and CEO of CultureGene, which is a culture development company. And yeah, I’m looking forward to our conversation.

Luis Magalhaes:

So, I want to dive into remote work right away. So, how do you think remote work and the possibility of remote work has affected your business positively and maybe even negatively?

Bretton Putter:

Well, I think it’s actually done both to me. So, 80% of my business is with high growth, emerging technology, VC-backed companies. And so, when COVID hit, forced remote work, everybody went, “Whoa, we’re not going to spend any money now.” And then everybody realized, “Oh, hold on. Now, that we’re in this remote environment, we’re going to have to spend money on understanding more about how remote work works.” So, I’ve had both experiences interestingly enough. In terms of personally, I’ve always during periods of my life worked remotely, and I’ve always enjoyed it. I’m not the kind of person who necessarily needs to see lots of people, but I do enjoy seeing lots of people.

Bretton Putter:

But I’m one of those people who doesn’t mind either way. But I think generally where we are now, it is the remote work moment now, because what companies don’t realize is even if in the future you go to a hybrid type of work model, you will still have people working remotely.

Luis Magalhaes:

Yeah, for sure. And as you point out in the book, this is one of the things that I also usually make a point of talking about, is that having a hybrid team is actually much, much more challenging than having your remote team. In this podcast, we often talk about the one remote all remote rule, that makes people in the office actually requires them to act as if they were remote so that everyone is in an even playing field. But I distinctly remember once I got to the specific remote chapter in your book, you making a big point of that. Tell me, what was your experience with remote teams? Did you encounter it with your remote team? I think as most people, you probably worked with remote teams, with hybrid teams before working with fully remote teams. Correct. How did you come to these conclusions?

Bretton Putter:

In my research, I spoke to companies that have been running hybrid or flexible work for a long time. So, pre-COVID, they’ve been flexible. And what I found is that the people who are working remote, they typically end up not experiencing the work in the same way. They don’t experience the culture in the same way. They have a need and an expectation to communicate differently than the people in an office. The people in an office are thinking synchronously, the remote people are thinking asynchronously because they are not always available or present. They miss out on the banter, the camaraderie, the social events. They miss out on … decision-making can often happen, it’s sort of natural, you’re in a room you make a decision, but you forgot to include Bob who’s sitting in his study somewhere in the countryside.

Bretton Putter:

And remote employees, the people who are working remotely in a hybrid situation end up feeling like they have to advocate more for their work and they are not as considered when it comes to promotion. So, the challenge and the risk here is where your people who are working remote end up feeling like second-class citizens. And a second-class citizen will only be a second class citizen for so long. Ultimately, if they’re good enough, they will leave your business and go somewhere else where they feel like a first-class citizen.

Luis Magalhaes:

Yeah. That’s true. And that’s a huge driver in the lack of retention whereas we found out, I mean, at DistantJob, we found out that offering remote roles actually increases retention quite a bit on exclusively-remote teams. Then on hybrid teams, like you say, it’s very important to make sure that people feel included.

Luis Magalhaes:

One of the points that you bring up with the book that I think is very important and that I urge people to think about because it doesn’t come naturally, is to design informal communication into the work week. Encouraging social time as part of the work day to make up what used to happen naturally in the office. A lot of people are resistant to this and I can come up with a few reasons why, I mean, the more blahzay one is, of course that work hours should be work hours. And if people want to socialize, they should do it in their own time, which I 100% disagree with because I am one of those people who cares about the deliverables and not about the work hours.

Luis Magalhaes:

But I can see that shifting the mentality, shifting this kind of mentality, especially in the year of many challenges, like 2020 was, it could be a bit hard. But other than that, there really is this feeling that, it’s almost like constructed socialization feels a bit like forced socialization. And there’s a question, how effective forced “socialization” is. I’m sure you’ve encountered these problems on the places that you’ve been to. What would you say about these objections? Let’s say.

Bretton Putter:

I think that the idea that you should be working at work and socializing outside of work hours is a little bit naive because what used to happen in an office environment is, people would socialize all the time. They would talk, they would chat, they would have banter, they would meet and have a coffee, or they would bump into one another on the escalators or whatever it was. So, actually human socialization happened in your environment. One of the challenges with remote is humans socialization is not happening now, especially in companies that haven’t really worked remote work out, because you’re doing Zoom call after Zoom call after Zoom call after Zoom call. Yes, you may be having a little chat beforehand, but often that’s just superficial. It doesn’t mean anything. And you’re struggling to read people’s body language.

Bretton Putter:

The other thing you need to consider is that in these Zoom weekdays, there’s no decompression. There’s no ability for people to get up and bump into somebody and say, “Hi,” and just to have a chat, the decompression doesn’t work. So, what you need as a business, you need to be thinking about is how do you bring the social element back into work? Because there is a challenge now, the companies that are not working asynchronously are spending a lot of time on video. And so, people are sick and tired of video. So, they don’t actually want to do a social connection or a social … they don’t even want to do the drinks on Friday afternoon, because they’re just sick and tired of this video.

Luis Magalhaes:

Yeah, it feels like work. It makes the drink time feel like work time.

Bretton Putter:

And it actually is exhausting because you’ve already spent six hours in front of the screen anyway, and half of those have been on video calls. So, do you really want another one? So, balancing synchronous and asynchronous work, I think is the first step. And then, really going to the team and saying, “Okay, boys and girls, everything has changed now. Work is not going back to the way it was. So, we all have to work on the social connection because social connection is the first step towards stopping loneliness, which is the first step towards stopping burnout or mental health issues. So, social connection is not just about socializing it’s a really critical element of making sure the business is considering the wellbeing of their people.

Luis Magalhaes:

Yeah. So, you’ve clearly put a lot of thought into this because, I mean, one of the reasons is that you’re building a platform, a software as a service platform to improve culture. So, that’s what CultureGene is about. What have you figured out that replaces that social time, if not video? What are the best answers for it? I always go to video games because I have a lot of experience with MMOs in general. In fact, I used to joke, only half joke, that I learned remote work from MMOs because it wasn’t paid work, but it was a grind, nonetheless, in many cases involving tens of people from very different countries.

Luis Magalhaes:

But I realized that video games are not as disseminated as movies or books or whatever people do for entertainment these days. So, it’s a bit of a stretch to expect everyone to get on board with video gaming. So, again, if not video, what is there that has the necessary impact for strong social connections?

Bretton Putter:

This is directly from my research, if you think about what companies do well, you got to think about companies like GitLab. So, GitLab, they don’t expect all 1,300 people to get together at the same time and be social because that would just be chaos. As your business grows, probably beyond 40 or 50, it gets much harder to design a one team social thing going on, but what GitLab and other remote companies do, is they allow micro-communities to form and they hold micro events or localized events.

Bretton Putter:

So, GitLab do talent shows, they do virtual home tours, they do coffee chats, they do team social calls, they do show and tell, team DJ rooms, AMAs, they do virtual lunch tables, they do virtual scavenger hunts, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. So, they create these opportunities in their organization for people to participate. They also accompany like Zappier for example, have over 100 #fun/Slack channels.

Luis Magalhaes:

Wow.

Bretton Putter:

And you’ve got people who are into red wine and dog-walking and parents and movies and whatever it is, but they’re creating these micro communities and the micro-communities form the strength of the social connection, because you’re talking to people about the same subject matter that you’re interested in or passionate in, or you’re learning about. And that then bulls the connection and that bulls that lasting interaction where you want to do it because you’re going to learn, or you’re going to experience what this new learning or new situation is. Whether it’s games, movies, whatever it is.

Bretton Putter:

Looking at remote companies, I think that it’s really valuable to be thinking about micro-communities, to be thinking about allowing these micro-communities and #fun channels to form and for them to drive themselves, if you are bigger than 50 to a 100 people. Because doing one social gathering for everybody via video, unless it’s the Christmas party or something, then it’s really tough. It’s hard to do.

Luis Magalhaes:

Yeah, absolutely. That makes sense. Though again, the size thing also works in the other direction. I mean, let’s say that I’m in a business with 50 people. If I open a #red wine channel, there’s a decent chance that not many of those … I mean, I’m from Portugal. So, probably most people would be into red wine. But let’s say that it’s a company in another country that could be probably more diverse in terms of hobbies.

Luis Magalhaes:

Let’s say that I open a #Naruto channel, probably I’m not going to find more than one or two people that are into Naruto. So, in that sense, some things actually scale better with size of the company. On the other hand, with the 30-people company, we can probably throw a birthday party where 70% or 80% of the company is there and it isn’t necessarily overwhelming. So, I mean, there are different advantages and disadvantages depending on the size of the company, if this makes sense.

Bretton Putter:

Yeah. Yeah. And I think what you’ve got to do is, you’ve got to go to your team and say, “It’s everybody’s responsibility, it’s not just the leadership’s responsibility, first of all. Secondly, we need to work on what works for us and what we want to do. And thirdly, we’ve got to find time where we are not exhausted, zoned out, Zoom-fatigued out.” And I just think that it’s a conversation where … What I do with my clients is I actually ask them to say, “Okay, it’s almost like we were living on earth. Earth was obliterated by a meteor. We managed to escape and go to the moon, but now everything’s different. Gravity’s different. The clothing we wear is different. The way we eat is different. The way we move is different.” That’s the way we are when it comes to social connection.

Bretton Putter:

So, don’t try and relate our Friday drinks to the same as being in a pub, it’s not. But if people want to gather and have a drink on a Friday, this is the best option for it now, because we can’t do it otherwise.

Luis Magalhaes:

Yeah. For sure. So, I want to shift a bit into processes. Of course, in the book you go at length about the importance of process, especially in a remote setting, of codifying processes into something like a handbook or a Wiki or something like that. But I want to know a little bit about your process. I mean, you’re building CultureGene. So, that’s certainly not an easy task. I want you to know how do you manage your team? Take me through your typical day or your typical week.

Bretton Putter:

So, interestingly enough, one of the things we are actually building right now in CultureGene is the ability to define processes which is really a very simple task, but actually getting people to do this and then associate the right documentation with it iS the challenge. And so, what we’re doing internally within our organization is we’re saying, “Okay, everybody defined their one most important process. What’s the one thing that’s the most important thing to you? Write those steps down and then within a month, we’re going to expand on it. We’re going to include the documentation. We’re going to include the links. We’re going to include various elements of that process. And you are now going to take responsibility for it. You’re going to invite collaborators in, to people who could also work on this process and on these documents.

Bretton Putter:

And we’re going to have to make it shareable.” So, essentially we’re doing things slightly differently because we are taking one process, we’re not trying to boil the ocean. And then in a couple of months time, we’ll take another process, but it’s always the most important process. And then what we’re doing is we’re saying, “Okay, you now have ownership of this process. If the process changes, you make the change or somebody requests for you to make the change.” And so, we’ve got a whole small team, but a whole team of people who have now have ownership of processes. And they’re starting to understand how important it is. We’re onboarding somebody at the moment. If we didn’t have these processes documented and the associated documentations documented, what would we be doing with this?

Bretton Putter:

I’ve written down our culture. That was the first document and the onboarding process was the first document that the new joiner got. And I didn’t have to call me to understand how they got onboarded, they just read it. And if they have questions, they can ping me or they can call me.

Luis Magalhaes:

Yeah. That makes a lot of sense. I did something similar with the marketing department, not with the whole company, but for the marketing department at Distant Job. I did that on Coda. I don’t know if you know about the platform, but it’s kind of a Wiki-like platform. That step is crucial because if you, as the leader of an organization or a team, take it upon yourself to create and maintain the whole documentation, you will be swamped very fast as the team and processes goes, and then you’ll end up feeling less like a leader or a manager, and more like a bookkeeper or an accountant. All my respect to bookkeepers and accountants, but you can’t do that and run a company at the same time, usually, or a department.

Luis Magalhaes:

So, I do think that is a crucial part. And I don’t know what’s your experience, but I had to push my people. They didn’t like doing it at the beginning when I told, “Okay, you know the thing that you do? I need you to create a manual for this and share it with me and we’ll go through it and we’ll see if it’s ready.” So, first of all especially for people that haven’t still built trust with the team, there’s a red flag right there, which is like, “If I write how I do things, that means I’m getting more easily replaceable. And so is this a warning for me?” So, you need to relay those fears, but then few people have passion for doing documentation work. Me, as a writer, I love writing, but I love writing creativity. I hate doing documentation work.

Luis Magalhaes:

And I think that’s true to many people, but it’s one of those things that I found that sometimes you just need to suck it up because in the long-term it really is useful. Does this make any sense? Have you faced this challenges with yourself or other people?

Bretton Putter:

No. Well, I’ve seen this challenge in other companies, but we’ve really simplified this. So, I’m not asking people to create a manual. I’m just asking them to document the one important process. So, just write down the steps, that’s the first thing. And then over time, over the course of a month, fill those steps in with the relevant documentation or the relevant links or whatever it is, the instructions, whatever it is. And so, what we’re not saying, “Okay, let’s write a manual.” But it’s essentially because each individual is doing it, we are going to pull it together into a manual, but it’s not this big challenge of writer manual, it’s more the challenge of what’s your most important process.

Bretton Putter:

And if somebody asked you to describe that process now, would you prefer to talk to them about it? Or would you prefer to work and not waste your time and let them read it? What would you choose to do? It’s making your people understand that once this process is documented, it’s easy to keep up to date and it’s easy to share. So, people, when you’ve got new joiners or new people joining your team from another department, they understand how to work and they understand how your culture operates.

Luis Magalhaes:

Yeah. So, how’s that working out for you? You’ve said you’ve just onboarded a new person. So, how has the experience been?

Bretton Putter:

Well, as with everything, there are always challenges, there’s learnings around this, but what we’ve done is every new person we onboard, part of their job within the first month is to improve the onboarding process. So, they then become responsible for improving the onboarding process based on their feedback. And so, that’ll be a conversation between them and myself going, “Okay, what could we do better?” And they’ll make notes and then we’ll make changes. And so, our whole process is about iterative improvement, make things better today than they were yesterday. And so, it’s better than not having it, but it’s not perfect yet. Probably won’t ever be perfect either.

Luis Magalhaes:

For sure. It does seem that the whole process about giving people the ownership of documentation does create a virtuous cycle. So, I can definitely see that. I can definitely see that happen. So, I mean, onboarding means that you’ve hired recently. And actually I was impressed. One of the things that impressed me in your book, again, the listeners can find the link in the show notes, but the book is, Own Your Culture: How to Define, Embed and Manage Your Company Culture Own Your Culture. Even though you state, this is the funny part, it, you state that you can’t really hire for culture and you explain, well, why not?

Luis Magalhaes:

In a book about culture, you still spend two chapters specifically about hiring and there’s the people for now, which I also consider parts of a chapter about hiring. So, and to me it would be three full chapters about hiring when you can’t hire for culture. So, I want you to dive a bit into that, right? This is really interesting to me. As someone working in a recruitment company, it’s always useful for me to know what are people approach is to interviewing and recruitment. And this is one of my favorite parts in the book. So, I guess, I want to ask you, you’ve just hired people recently, the book has been out also very recently on September, but I know that books are written far in advance of the publication date.

Luis Magalhaes:

So, I assume it was at least a year between the time you finished the book and the time you’ve hired your new hires or approaching that. So, has something changed in the meantime? How well does your own hiring advice hold up? And would you care to share some of your better learnings on the hiring process as you were writing the book and building your company?

Bretton Putter:

Sure. So, I think what I say in the book is you can’t hire for culture fit because lots of people are talking about, “We’re going to have a culture fit.” And actually it’s impossible to hire for culture fit. The reason why it’s impossible to hire for culture fit, is because you can’t accurately define the company culture. And every time I ask a leader to accurately define their company culture, I maybe get some waffle about their values and maybe some mission and vision talk, but that’s about it. But your culture’s bigger than that, it’s the way you behave. It’s your rituals, it’s your norms, it’s your practices. It’s the principles. It’s the things you sweep under the carpet. It’s the things you ignore. It’s the way you communicate. It’s the way you share, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

Bretton Putter:

Your company culture is this all encompassing thing. So, if you can’t accurately describe your company culture, what do you mean when you hire for culture fit? What that means is you’re hiring using your gut instinct. And it means you’re trying to tap into your intuition. The problem with that is it’s not scalable, it’s not reliable. And it’s based on your moment, your feeling at the time. So, if you’re trying to hire somebody and five people in your company interview them, you’re hoping that their gut instinct and your gut instincts are aligned. And maybe if you’ve worked together for 10 years, then that’s fine. But if it’s a new team and you haven’t worked together for a long time, then that gut instinct won’t be aligned.

Bretton Putter:

So, really what I recommend companies do, is they should hire for values. So, values are more consistent, if they’re well defined, your values can stay the same for as long as the business is around. And that means that when your culture is changing because of COVID or because you hired somebody new, or because you just did a new deal or because you lost a deal, or because you’ve just raised a big round of funding or whatever it is, your culture is changing all the time. So, actually being able to hire based on culture fit is nonsense. Your values are more consistent. And what you can do is you can take your values, define what they mean, and then interview against that definition.

Bretton Putter:

So, to give you a quick example, if your value is teamwork, this problem with this word is it’s open to interpretation. Teamwork could mean a bunch of things to a bunch of people, but in my company, teamwork means the team always comes first. So, when I interview against this value, I ask, “When last did you take one for the team and why?” And this gives me a really detailed capability to analyze this person’s answer, because I’m asking for an experience, I’m going to be exploring behaviors. I’m going to be exploring impacts in the interviews. I’m going to be exploring their thinking, their preparation, what they learned, what they wouldn’t do, again, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

Bretton Putter:

So, I’m able to then ask each candidate, each short listed candidates, exactly the same interview question. And I can then judge them based on vividness of answer or believability. And now I can score them out of 10. So, I’m now using a scoring mechanism against my values to evaluate candidates. I’m not using my gut instinct, which is fallible and which is the reason why companies make mistakes with hiring.

Luis Magalhaes:

Yeah. I mean, that makes a lot of sense. And again, that goes into the process-sizing parts. Part of what you’re doing there is applying what we’ve just talked about standardizing process and writing processes down and applying it to recruiting instead of going with the gut feeling, as you say.

Bretton Putter:

Exactly. So, here, this is actually taking a new process and applying it to something that people didn’t typically do a lot of, or most companies didn’t do. Zappos has been doing this for many, many, many years to great effect. Other companies have been doing this too many years to great effect as well, but really it’s about going and saying, “Okay, now, instead of you telling me, this is how you feel. I want you to tell me the score of how you score this person for these four questions.” And it just changes the game. And we use a process that is very deliberate and very disciplined around that. So, you’re spot on, exactly right.

Luis Magalhaes:

Correct. So, obviously what we found out about DistantJob, it works exclusively with remote people. We recruit for remote positions only. So, and what we found out over the years is that there are a few characteristics that determine whether people will be good at remote, because even people that are very good at their job, not everyone thrives in a remote environment. That’s something that we’re very careful about saying. Yes, there are plenty of studies that say that remote increases productivity, people are more happy, better life balance. But there are also people will really thrive in an office setting for a variety of factors.

Luis Magalhaes:

There are certain traits that predict whether people are good at working remotely or not. That’s separate from the skill set that they need to excel at their job. I’m wondering if you’ve observed something similar. And what traits would you consider important when people are considering hiring for a remote position?

Bretton Putter:

So, I think there are some fundamental elements that if you are a fully remote organization that you should be looking into and really focusing down on. The first one is documentation. What often happens is people come from a non-remote environment and they’re used to speaking first, they’re not used to thinking and then documenting. So, for me, the first one is around documentation. The second one is about being able to structure your day and being structured and disciplined around when you work and when you don’t.

Bretton Putter:

As you know, it’s really hard to keep that structure. But if somebody has the discipline, can use things like the Pomodoro Technique to get work done, then that’s great. Communication is really key, you’ve got to know when to use Slack. You’ve got to know when to use the different tools, whether it’s Google Docs or company manuals and being able to communicate effectively through asynchronous communication and something else that I would be testing heavily.

Bretton Putter:

Not needing a lot of social interaction is good. You’re not going to find everybody like that, but the people who really thrive on interacting and being in the office really struggle in this environment. And also people who are looking for a culture that is remote first. It’s people who understand that you get more back in terms of your life, than you would have typically had if you worked in an office environment.

Bretton Putter:

So, for me, there’s a bunch of things to look at. I would say that it’s really being able to match with the values of the company and then look at documentation, communication, structure and be helpful. All of the remote leaders I’ve interviewed are looking for people who naturally go out of their way to help, who naturally go out of the way to make a difference.

Luis Magalhaes:

All right. So, that’s some good inputs. Thank you very much. So, I want to wind down, it’s been a while and I want to be respectful of your time. So, I want to wind down into a couple of rapid fire questions before we wrap this up. So, the questions are rapid fire, but the answers don’t have to be. So, the first one is if you had 100 euros to spend with each person working for you, what would you give them? And do you need to buy the same thing for everyone. And you can give them a money or gift cards. So, it’s really needs to be … could be software, an experience, an app, whatever, but everyone needs to get the same thing. So, what would you give them?

Bretton Putter:

So, hold on a 100 euros each?

Luis Magalhaes:

Yes, yes. 100 euros each. Otherwise you would be limited to gum.

Bretton Putter:

Exactly. I was just trying to think, “What could we possibly do?” So, I would probably look to buy them a dinner with a friend or a dinner where the family member or something … I just think we’re missing, just a nice restaurant. “Take 100 bucks and just go and have a nice time, just go and relax, let your hair down, have a glass of wine, have a nice steak or a nice piece of fish.” I’m really missing that banter and chat and that restaurant feel and I think a lot of my team are as well.

Luis Magalhaes:

Yeah, I agree. I mean, we are recording this at the beginning of 2021 in Portugal. And the lockdown has just aggravated, we did pretty well with keeping restaurants open for a long time in Portugal, but eventually that just didn’t became possible and I definitely feel you, I definitely feel you. I think that the restaurants who managed to survive this bleak period will thrive because everyone will go in mass wanting to go back to dining out a lot more I think.

Bretton Putter:

That’s for sure. That’s for sure.

Luis Magalhaes:

Absolutely. I’m absolutely 100% with you there that that’s an experience that is missing. So, what about yourself? What purchase has made your work life easier or more productive in the past year?

Bretton Putter:

That’s a good question. I haven’t made many purchases in the last year from a work life perspective, although this …

Luis Magalhaes:

And can you describe what you’re showing us? Because-

Bretton Putter:

It’s a portable Microsoft keyboard.

Luis Magalhaes:

Nice. I see that it has a very ergonomic shape.

Bretton Putter:

Yeah. Ergonomic shape and it comes with this as well, which they go together [crosstalk 00:37:06] and connect up and it’s just wonderful. It’s the easiest thing to just take around with you to plugin and it’s brilliant. So, I actually wish I’d bought two.

Luis Magalhaes:

Yeah. Nice. Nice. I know that some people at Microsoft listen to this podcast, so if you want to send me a check for the sponsorship, you know where to find me.

Bretton Putter:

Send me the check rather. I’ll give you my address.

Luis Magalhaes:

Okay. Yeah. But yeah, it’s definitely … Look, nothing beats a good keyboard and a nice mouse. And I can definitely see how that has made a difference to you. So, let’s talk a bit before we finish about books. I mean, you have a book out. Well, obviously we’ve been talking about that quite a bit, but are you in the habit of gifting books? Do you enjoy gifting books? Or are you more of a reader than a gifter?

Bretton Putter:

No, I love giving books and I love recommending books.

Luis Magalhaes:

Oh, what are the most gifted books, if I may ask?

Bretton Putter:

Well, the one that I recommend the most is called An Everyone Culture, and it’s by Bob Keegan and Lisa Lahey. And it’s a deep dive into deliberately developmental organizations. So, they did research on three companies, Decurion, Next Jump and Bridgewater, and did a really deep, deep dive into the culture and understanding about how they cultures work and it’s incredible. I think it’s the future of work … one of the futures of work definitely.

Luis Magalhaes:

All right. That’s a strong recommendation. Thank you so much. All right. So, final question. This one takes a bit longer to set up. So, please bear with me, but let’s say that you are hosting a dinner, again, once that is possible, hopefully soon-ish. Let’s say that you are hosting a dinner where in attendance will be the top CTLs, CEOs, hiring managers, et cetera, decision makers, at the biggest tech companies in the whole world. Now, the dinner will have a round table on remote work and the future of work, and it is hosted in a Chinese restaurant. So, you, as the host, get to pick the message that goes inside the Chinese fortune cookie, what are these people going to read once they opened their fortune cookies?

Bretton Putter:

Act now.

Luis Magalhaes:

Okay. That didn’t take a lot of time for you to say. Nice, nice. So, act now. And it does sound like a fortune cookie thing. So, congratulations, I think you are officially the guest to answer this question the fastest in almost 200. So, congratulations. You are awarded that honor.

Bretton Putter:

Thank you. I didn’t expect to be awarded anything today, but I’ll take it.

Luis Magalhaes:

I will allow my producer to make an Etsy trophy for you and have it delivered at your door.

Bretton Putter:

I think this is one of the problems that I’m seeing is people have their heads in the sand, leaders have their heads in the sand, and their thinking that things will go back to normal and it’s not … “I will lead the same way. I will work the same way when things go back to normal,” and that’s not the case. So, act now, take action, start developing this new culture and this new way of working in a deliberate fashion.

Luis Magalhaes:

Okay. Well, Brett, it was an absolute pleasure having you on. Where can people find you, continue the conversation, reach out to you and learn more about your company and what you’re up to?

Bretton Putter:

Well, I really enjoyed it, Luis. Thanks very much. It’s been a great conversation with lots of interesting twists and turns, which are always fun. So, my website is www.culturegene.ai. I’m on LinkedIn, Bretton Putter. I’m on Twitter, Bretton Putter, and people can actually reach out to me directly via my email, which is [email protected] I spend 25% of my time learning about company culture, so I’m just happy to talk to people about what they’re doing and what’s working and what’s not working, et cetera. So, yeah. Really enjoyed it. Thanks very much for having me on the show.

Luis Magalhaes:

It was an absolute pleasure, again, my pleasure. So, ladies and gentlemen, this has been The Distant Job Podcast with Bretton Putter and me, your host, Luis Magalhaes, in this podcast, that’s all about building and leading awesome remote teams. See you next week.

Luis Magalhaes:

And so, we close another episode of The Distant Job 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. 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.

Luis Magalhaes:

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 episode up so you can actually peruse the conversations in text form. 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 look 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 Magalhaes:

And to help you with that, again, distantjob.com is the perfect place to start. You will tell us who you 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 Distant Job Podcast.

More ways to listen:

Hiring is always challenging for both remote and on-site companies. However, as the way of work shifts towards a virtual model, the hiring procedures are changing.

During this podcast episode, Bretton Putter smashes one of the most common myths regarding remote hiring. Usually, companies look for ‘culture fit’ when interviewing candidates. However, Bretton says that looking for such quality is impossible and that companies instead should hire for values.

 

Highlights:

  • Remote vs hybrid teams
  • Challenges of hybrid teams
  • How to bring up the social element to remote work
  • Why having a process and documentation is crucial in organizations
  • Why hiring for culture fit is impossible
  • Strategies to implement when hiring remote candidates
  • Best traits that all remote employees should have

 

Book Recommendation:

 

Don’t forget to SUBSCRIBE so you won’t miss all of the other interesting episodes that we have coming up in the next few weeks!