June 19, 2024

Ken Weary

Building remote teams - learnings from HotJar & Hostaway

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#TalentBuzz Episode Recap: Ken Weary on Digital Nomad Lifestyle and Talent Acquisition

Introduction to Ken Weary and His Journey

  • Ken Weary, born and raised in America, decided to transform his lifestyle about 10 years ago.
  • Worked in corporate America with large Fortune 500 and Fortune 100 companies before feeling burnt out.
  • In 2013, he and his family embarked on a digital nomad journey, traveling through Central America, Europe, and Africa while he worked remotely.
  • Spent seven and a half years at Hotjar, a remote-first company, and is now with Hostaway, a company in the short-term vacation rental industry.

Life as a Digital Nomad

  • Ken and his family initially planned for a one-year travel adventure but decided to continue the nomadic lifestyle after realizing the benefits.
  • Emphasized the importance of finding a balance between work, travel, and family life.
  • The family's journey took them through over 30 countries, providing a rich cultural experience and diverse living environments.

Remote Work Culture at Hostaway

  • Hostaway has grown significantly, now employing over 210 people across 43 countries.
  • Importance of creating equity among remote employees, ensuring everyone feels equally part of the team regardless of their location.
  • Clear communication norms, such as specific Slack usage guidelines, help maintain transparency and effective collaboration.
  • Emphasized the importance of core values in fostering a cohesive and inclusive remote work culture.

Effective Communication in Remote Teams

  • Hostaway avoids direct messages for work-related queries, preferring public channels for better transparency and collective knowledge sharing.
  • Regularly reviews and adjusts meeting schedules to respect different time zones and avoid unnecessary meetings.
  • Encourages employees to mark themselves as optional for meetings when appropriate to avoid time wastage and improve productivity.

Talent Acquisition and Employer Branding

  • The job market dynamics have shifted, making it a favorable time for employers to hire high-quality talent.
  • Importance of maintaining strong employer branding and clear communication about company values and culture.
  • Hostaway emphasizes growth and mutual respect in its recruitment approach, offering employee stock options to everyone.

Adapting Compensation Strategies

  • Hostaway adjusts salaries based on geographical location, ensuring fairness and market alignment.
  • Discusses the complexities of salary adjustments when employees move between regions with different cost of living.
  • Stresses the need for a business rationale when making compensation decisions to maintain equity and transparency.

Retention Strategies for Remote Teams

  • Retention should always be a priority, with a focus on career development and growth opportunities.
  • Leaders need to be attentive to signs of disengagement, such as changes in meeting attendance or communication habits.
  • Regularly checking in with employees and fostering an open dialogue about their well-being is crucial.

Top 5 Key Learnings from the Episode

  1. Equity and Transparency: Treat all remote employees equally and maintain clear, consistent communication practices.
  2. Effective Use of Communication Tools: Use public channels for work-related queries to promote transparency and collective knowledge sharing.
  3. Meeting Management: Regularly review meeting schedules to avoid unnecessary meetings and respect different time zones.
  4. Employer Branding: Maintain strong employer branding and clearly communicate company values to attract and retain top talent.
  5. Focus on Retention: Pay attention to signs of disengagement and prioritize career development and growth opportunities for employees.

This recap captures the essence of the discussion and provides actionable insights for anyone interested in remote work culture, talent acquisition, and retention strategies.


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