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Staying Connected on a Remote Team: 3 Tactics We’re Trying at Buffer

Aug 4, 2016 4 min readReports
Photo of Courtney Seiter
Courtney Seiter

Former Director of People @ Buffer

People Report July 2016

As we’ve grown at Buffer, it’s been fun to watch the People evolve.

This  group works to build, retain and encourage the best team we can at Buffer, and includes roles focused on recruitment, human resources, inclusivity, and team-building and togetherness. Here’s what we got up to in July!

July’s People metrics

Applicants: 543
Interviews: 18 first stage interviews
Offers made: 1 (Full-stack Developer)
Open Blog posts published: 8

Team NPS score: 57% (previously 89%)

Results of our bi-monthly team survey

On a bi-monthly basis, we survey the team to get their overall feelings about Buffer. In July, these were the responses:

– How likely are you to recommend Buffer as a place to work? 57/100
– How much personal growth and learning are you experiencing in your current role? 4.66/6

NPS May-June

An NPS score of 57 is a pretty deep dive from our previous score of 89. We took the pulse of the team only a few weeks after our cashflow crisis and layoffs, so it’s not too surprising to see that a lot of the team was feeling unsettled and perhaps a bit more reticent to recommend Buffer as an ideal place to work. We’re working hard to regain the trust of the team and bring everyone together to begin rebuilding. We’ll be sure to keep you posted.

Additionally, we provide a space for teammates to share anonymously anything they’d like. A word cloud of the responses shows a bit more of an look into our minds over the past few weeks:

word cloud

What stands out to you? I notice words like “career,” “opportunities,” “growth” and “process”—we got some strong signals that our team would like more clarity about how to grow their careers at Buffer. We’ll be working to solve these challenges in the months to come!

Connecting through our team newsletter

One initiative that our whole team has really enjoyed is our weekly team-wide newsletter. As we’ve grown, it’s gotten a bit tougher to keep up with all the Slack channels, Discourse threads and transparent emails.

The newsletter focuses on finding the most important stuff going on throughout Buffer (both work and personal) and sharing those items with the whole team in a quick, easy to digest format. Here’s a look at a recent edition:


Sharing personal stories

A brand-new element of the newsletter is a teammate spotlight designed to help Buffer friends get to know each other better.

Often on retreats we’ll share personal stories, in which we split into small groups and each person in the group tells the story of their life up to the present. It’s such a cool experience to know one another so deeply!

In between retreats, we’re trying out virtual “personal stories” in the form of a teammate spotlight shared via a video interview and accompanying profile. We published the first spotlights in July to a great response from the team! Here’s a peek at James’:

james story

Experiment: Inclusivity score

One experiment we’re trying this month is the idea of a retrospective “inclusivity score” for every open role we fill at Buffer.

Our goal is to constantly improve the diversity of thought on our teams, and this number is one we hope to benchmark ourselves against and improve over time.

Right now, it’s a checklist for the hiring process that includes:

  • Has the listing been edited to be welcoming to all?
  • Has the role been published publicly on our Journey page?
  • Has more than one candidate been interviewed for the role?
  • Does the screening process include a work-assessing project?
  • Have all interviews followed the same structure of pre-defined questions and good/pause answers?
  • Are notes/records from all interviews stored transparently (internally) and visible to teammates?
  • Has the same criteria been used to assess all candidates?

We’ll report back on how this score works for us!

Welcome, Spencer!

In July we added one new teammate to Buffer: Spencer, who’s working with us on marketing Respond.

Spencer is based in Palo Alto, CA where he lives with his wife, Parisa, and their puppy, Lexi.


We’re so excited to welcome him to the team!

Over to you

Is there anything you’d love to learn more about? Anything we could share more of? We’d love to hear from you in the comments!

Check out more of our July 2016 monthly reports:
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