How people feel about their work and personal lives has a direct impact on their performance too.
That was the driver for Jobvibe, an innovative team-building SaaS program developed in Sydney, Australia.
Jobvibe stimulates conversation and collaboration between team members and managers, allowing users to gain real-time feedback prompted by three insightful questions each week.
Co-founder and CEO Justin Babet says understanding how team members feel allows Jobvibe users to turn that feedback into action. The program also provides a platform to give recognition, from sharing a team photo or staff shout-out to feedback from happy customers.
As Justin explained, “Until now, employee engagement has been closed. Slow. And not in the hands of the people who can act on it to make real change. We created Jobvibe to help leaders get the feedback they need. To give them the tools to take a few moments every week to stop, and listen to their team.”
The Jobvibe team is made up of software engineers, UI and UX designers and sales staff including a small team of in-house staff based in Sydney, and several others working remotely from across the world. But even office staff work remotely at least once a week. Discipline and self-motivation are essential skills for all team members, and all of the same rules apply.
“In the team, remote and Sydney-based workers are managed and measured in the same way. We operate using detailed weekly sprint plans so everyone knows exactly what needs to get done that week and everyone can see what everyone else is working on. There’s nowhere to hide. This system operates on trust. We all trust each other to get the work done.
And if a task isn’t complete, Justin says there’s probably a very good reason behind it. In this case, they discuss it and try to learn from it so they can better plan next time.
The decision to recruit remote team members at Jobvibe was motivated by access to global talent. As Justin explains:
“Many of the roles in our team are technical and require a quite specific skill set. We’re not limited by who’s available in a given city at the time we’re searching. With this also comes the benefit of diversity. When someone with a different background or living in a different country joins the team, they bring an alternative perspective. Whether it’s a new take on the product or insight into their own local market, this diversity is invaluable.”
The Jobvibe team keeps in touch with Skype, Google Hangouts and Slack, and uses other programs like Trello for project management and planning, Jell for task tracking, Google Docs and CloudApp for commenting on work and of course, Jobvibe for team feedback and workplace culture.
“We have a strong set of values that everyone in the team helped develop. These values are our operating system and guide how we work with one another – whether we’re having a conversation in Slack or sitting in the same room.”
But it took some getting used to. Justin explains deciding on the operating frame was a challenge, not wanting to impose strict rules about when and how remote staff worked, otherwise defeating the whole purpose.
“… a couple of times we ended up in difficult situations. For example, having an urgent customer issue come up in the app but not knowing where the person with the skills to fix it was, or when they’d next be online.”
In response, the team built a framework for working together, using Fried and Heinemeier Hansson’s commandments for successful remote collaboration as inspiration.
“Thou shall overlap is one of my favourites and essential for a productive, successful remote team,” says Justin.
Aside from that, the team at Jobvibe keep in contact as much as they can, and all try to get together in Sydney for their Christmas party each year.