by Brian Nordli
August 30, 2018

As a remote member of the Hireology team, Andy Pinzhoffer has never felt far from the office — even when his wife’s career transported him to a remote Hawaiian village.

That’s by design. The HR tech company prioritizes constant communication between remote and local employees. Each room in its office is equipped with high-quality videoconferencing gear, and employees have multiple video chats a day. The company also flies remote employees to its Chicago office twice a year for onsite events and valuable face-to-face time.

That commitment enables members of Hireology’s remote team to adapt their work experiences to their lifestyles, all without sacrificing water cooler bonding.

 

Hireology Office
Photography By Chris Murphy
Hireology kitchen
Photography by Chris Murphy
Hireology logo
PHotography by Chris murphy

 

FOUNDED: 2010

EMPLOYEES: 176 total, 136 locally

WHAT THEY DO: Hireology provides a hiring and talent management platform that enables businesses to build teams and keep their employees engaged for the entire talent lifecycle.

WHERE THEY DO IT: Chicago

THE PERKS: Employees can relax with unlimited time off and stay caffeinated with unlimited cold brew in the office.

GROWTH OPPORTUNITIES: How Hireology's expansion helps employees grow, too

 

Joel At Work

Joel Portrait

 

Joel Schlundt, VP of Engineering

Joel Schlundt is responsible for Hireology’s software engineering and IT teams. His goal is to empower owner-operated businesses to build the best possible teams with the company’s software platform. He splits his time working remotely from his home in South Bend, Indiana and in the Chicago office.

BEYOND WORK: Joel and his family love to travel to Walt Disney World.

 

How does your experience working both remotely and in the office help you in managing your team?

I have greater empathy for what remote employees are experiencing. I live this right along with them and can act as an advocate. I’m also able to help my team navigate tough problems quicker and more efficiently. When I am in the office, I make sure connections to the remote team remain strong, and I facilitate communication whenever I can.

 

When you have a blended team, your local staff can help can bridge gaps and build empathy.”

 

What advantages are there to a team composed of both remote and local workers, and how do you navigate the challenges?

We’re able to build more diverse teams from a larger talent pool. When you have a blended team, your local staff can help can bridge gaps and build empathy for remote employees.

However, inconsistent communication can be detrimental. Water cooler conversations are difficult to recreate for remote teams. It can lead to feelings of isolation and disconnection. It takes dedication and effort to build a system of communication that consistently shares information equally across both teams.

 

More On HireologyNew digs, new opportunities: How Hireology's expansion helps its employees grow, too

 

How does your office design reinforce remote culture?

To create that consistent communication, quality videoconferencing solutions are crucial. We’ve outfitted every meeting space with a display, a high-quality video camera and speakers. Team members are trained on how to quickly set up videoconferencing so that meetings aren’t interrupted with technical glitches.

When there are company-wide presentations, we’ve made sure remote employees can see the speakers. We also make sure remote employees can present during larger group meetings. With some additional planning and practice, we can make these situations seamless for all employees.

 

Andy at work

Andy Portrait

 

Andy Pinzhoffer, Software Engineer

Andy works with the Hireology product team to turn product feature requirements into reality. He’s currently integrating products customers use to make their work easier.

BEYOND WORK: Andrew brews beer as a hobby. He started homebrewing five years ago, a craft that requires attention to small details, like engineering.

 

Describe Hireology’s remote culture.

When I started a few years ago, I was concerned about working by myself. It turns out that I didn’t need to worry. The engineering team quickly felt like family. Good communication is essential, and we prioritize it. I’m able to see most of my coworkers via video chat at least a couple times a day. The company also brings us together twice a year in Chicago for some much-needed face time and engagement with other departments. It’s an enriching experience.

 

Good communication is essential, and we prioritize it.”

 

How has Hireology’s remote culture facilitated your lifestyle?

My wife is a travel nurse, so we move to a new city every three months. We’ve been traveling across the U.S. soaking up local culture and sights for almost three years. I’ve loved every stop, but my favorite was Hawaii. We lived in a remote area on Hawaii Island, hiked Volcanoes National Park and chilled on beaches. I feel grateful for these opportunities. It wouldn’t be possible without the ability to work remotely and the support of Hireology.

 

More On HireologyNew digs, new opportunities: How Hireology's expansion helps its employees grow, too

 

How does it help you strike a better work-life balance?

This is the best part of remote life. I get to spend more time with my wife, even if I’m working while she’s around. Small chores can become ways to facilitate problem-solving. If I’m struggling with something, I can throw a load of laundry in the washer to clear my head and return to work happier and prepared to solve the problem. I also don’t have to spend time commuting, so I can start my day refreshed and ready.

 

Denise at work

Denise Portrait

 

Denise Powell, QA Engineer

Denise coordinates testing activities for Hireology’s applicant sourcing products. She works with product managers and software developers to resolve bugs, defects and other quality issues. She also recommends software improvements and engineering processes.

BEYOND WORK: Denise spends most of her time outside of work with her husband and two boys. They try to travel to a new city once a year.

 

How does Hireology’s remote culture differ from your previous remote work experiences?

Leadership goes out of its way to make sure we stay connected to the home office. We’re not an afterthought, which is what I have felt sometimes at previous places. It’s never intentional neglect, but companies often don’t have a plan for how to keep their remote employees engaged and connected.

That’s not the case here at Hireology. They fly us in twice a year for company on-sites and spend time ensuring the video conferencing configurations are in place for our company-wide huddles. Those actions speak volumes and say someone is thinking of us. It means a lot.

 

What advantages are there to working remotely?

I’m readily available to meet the needs of my family. I can put my oldest son on the school bus and be home when he gets off the bus. I’m around if he needs help with his homework and I can ask him about his day and have the time to actively listen to what he has to say. I couldn’t do that if I worked in an office.

It also allows me to better support my husband, who has a long commute to his office. With my flexibility, I can take care of any tasks and errands at home so that he can give his full time and attention to me and the kids when he gets home. I occasionally remind him how lucky he is.

 

Working from home allows me to be the best wife, mother, neighbor, friend and QA engineer I can be.”

 

More On HireologyNew digs, new opportunities: How Hireology's expansion helps its employees grow, too

 

How does it help you strike that elusive work-life balance?

While my family is really important to me, so is my career. I knew that I didn’t want to be a stay-at-home mom, but I also knew how valuable it is to actively participate in your child’s life. My mother was a stay-at-home mom, and I never came home to an empty house after school. That stuck with me and kept me out of trouble.

Working from home allows me to be the best wife, mother, neighbor, friend and QA engineer I can be. It can be easy to always be plugged in to work — and sometimes I’ve found myself tipping that scale — but our leadership is great at reminding us that “family first” is more than just a motto here.

 

Scott Portrait
Photo provided by Hireology

 

Scott Brinkman, VP of Product

Scott Brinkman sets and executes the company’s product vision and strategy. His goal is to deliver measurable, impactful user experiences through Hireology’s platform.

BEYOND WORK: Scott enjoys cooking.

 

What advantages and challenges are there to a blended remote and local team?

Our biggest challenge is blending the office and remote cultures effectively. We do this through empathy exercises and biannual trips where everyone can gather in person. But we also have the ability to hire amazing, talented individuals, no matter where they live.

 

How does the office design accommodate your remote team?

We completed an office expansion and renovation with our remote team in mind. Each conference room has great audiovisual technology, and our presentation space is designed to deliver a great experience for remote employees watching an in-office event.

 

The ability to understand a small slice of someone else’s job has helped teams communicate and really feel for each other.”

 

What are some activities you’ve done to build that bond between remote and local team members?

We did an empathy-building exercise where members of each team did someone else’s job for a few hours. Engineers were cold calling leads and trying to set demos, while sales and marketing were building and designing products. The ability to understand a small slice of someone else’s job has helped teams communicate and really feel for each other.

 

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