How FormAssembly Fueled 62% Revenue Growth in Two Years as a Fully Remote Team
FormAssembly has been a remote-first company since it was started by our CEO Cedric Savarese over a decade ago. Over the past two years, we’ve seen a 62% growth rate despite an ongoing global pandemic. Since day one, our remote-first strategies, business operations, and values provided continuity of day-to-day operations. In this blog post, our leadership team provides insights into how we’ve maintained such success and growth as a fully remote company.
While many companies are struggling to transition to a hybrid or even fully remote environment, how do you feel being a remote-first company has already set you up for success?
“Having been remote-first since our inception has really set our practices and our operations in gear prior to the pandemic. We didn’t have to dramatically switch or alter our day-to-day functions as a lot of the world had to do. We were already used to working asynchronously and we already were tuned into the response/non-response way of life when engaging across multiple time zones. Expectations were already set and our teams already knew how to work remotely, which definitely contributed to the continuity of our operations during a global crisis.” – Joey Owens-Barham, Director of Talent & Culture
“As software companies transition into supporting the new normal of remote work, the biggest question is how to retain culture, collaboration, and impact in an efficient manner. With over 120 employees, FormAssembly has been a remote-first company since its inception over a decade ago. Rather than creating a pandemic pivot, we’ve gathered best practices from the top up to accelerate onboarding and encourage remote collaboration as this is the only way we know how to work.” – Andrew Hahn, Chief Revenue Officer
“I think the difference between FormAssembly and other companies just now moving to a remote structure is that while other companies were rushing to figure out a ‘new normal,’ we were pulling levers to accelerate the processes we already knew and believed in. As a fully remote company since our founding in 2006, we built ourselves on communication, a strong tech stack, process, and structure.” – Ashley McAlpin, VP of Marketing & Sales Development
“Unlike the thousands of companies that had to transition to remote-only overnight, we’ve been remote only for a very long time. It’s core to our culture and we’ve created ways to not only make it work but actually enhance our productivity, core values, and processes beyond what’s possible. Even though we’re not a large company, we’re able to hire people all over the world, which contributes to making us a diverse, interesting, and fun group to work with. Knowing that our employees will never go back to an office is also a huge advantage in an uncertain world.” – Erik Dasque, VP of Engineering
“Being remote only allows us the advantage of hiring and retaining the best talent for the roles needed. It also ensures a diverse viewpoint into many aspects of operating and growing a tech business. We do not have adjustment pains specifically attributed to remote transitioning which can be quite a change for those that are not used to it.” – Aparna Jue, VP of Product
In what ways do you ensure you maintain an inclusive and supportive work culture as a fully remote company? How does this contribute to employee satisfaction and productivity?
“The key to having an inclusive and supportive culture is to really hone in on transparency and over-communication. Always actively listen and seek out the voices of your team and what’s working well and what can be improved and be open to that feedback.” – Joey Owens-Barham, Director of Talent & Culture
“While the tone starts at the top with our diverse leadership team, it’s really a collaborative effort from the full team. As we had our growing pains years ago, our employees are committed to onboarding new colleagues in a manner that supports their growth and early challenges. We are obsessed with culture and bonding which is evident in our annual company retreat, team off-sites, monthly health initiatives, and supporting a true work-life balance.” – Andrew Hahn, Chief Revenue Officer
“Our team is everything. Hiring for a remote company is one of the loftiest tasks. It’s one of the reasons we take the process so seriously. Getting the right people in the right seats at the right time can make or break a scaling organization, and that has been true for us. We have built a team of people who genuinely care, respect, and trust each other, which in turn motivates them to be the best version of themselves.” – Ashley McAlpin, VP of Marketing & Sales Development
“A key element is to make sure that everyone feels comfortable asking any questions and that everyone gets a voice, the ability to speak up if they want to share an opinion, agree or disagree on any topic. We put an emphasis on encouraging debate, sharing ideas, over-communication, and public discussions.” – Erik Dasque, VP of Engineering
What resources and tools do you have in place to ensure employees are engaged, informed, and collaborating from afar?
“Like many modern tech companies, we highly leverage Slack, email and video conferencing to keep connected and have as immediate feedback as possible for our projects – but aside from that, simple things as having a quick, weekly, all-hands meeting to share in each department’s core focus and tying that into our broader business strategy/goals is extremely helpful. It’s also a great way to bring the focus in and highlight individual accomplishments, achievements, and other “wins” across the company with a huge spotlight across the organization.” – Joey Owens-Barham, Director of Talent & Culture
“For my team, we prioritize daily standups to SEE each other, face-to-face. This helps us stay connected and informed. But, beyond that, we also take steps as an executive team to be as transparent and communicative as possible with our teams during our all team calls, in public slack channels, and company events.” – Ashley McAlpin, VP of Marketing & Sales Development
“In Engineering, beyond Slack, we have daily standups on Google Meet, but we very often will pair up or group up to discuss a hot topic or help an engineer who’s blocked or having difficulties with a particular topic. We also put an emphasis on mentoring and follow a long onboarding process where a mentor and a mentee collaborate and check in regularly for months after that new employee’s first day.” – Erik Dasque, VP of Engineering
Describe some leadership strategies you embrace to set clear expectations about employee productivity and engagement in a remote environment.
“It begins with autonomy. Steve Jobs said, ‘It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and then tell them what to do. We hire smart people so they can tell us what to do.’ We don’t micromanage at FormAssembly. Rather, we set clear expectations and encourage collaboration for team success. We win or fail as a team.” – Andrew Hahn, Chief Revenue Officer
“I approach this with alignment on team culture and a healthy dose of lead by example. The team culture isn’t predicated on set office hours but more on bringing your own style and approach to time and scope management. I like to bring in team members who are strong in areas that the team lacks to fill in the gaps in how we manage our productivity and engagement. Daily standups are other ways we find out what is going on with team members and align on open, transparent communication.” – Aparna Jue, VP of Product
What do you consider to be the most important key(s) to driving business growth with a team that is dispersed all over the world?
“If your key goal is company growth, you are likely to fail. If you focus on customer and prospect impact, you will crush it! While we have a simple solution to a complex problem, we need to understand each client’s unique goals and partner with them on a custom journey to attain what they deem as success.” – Andrew Hahn, Chief Revenue Officer
“A customer-centric approach to new product development driven by empathy. That allows us to build solutions that people need and eventually want. I sprinkle customer input into every aspect of the product management process to drive business growth.” – Aparna Jue, VP of Product
What words of advice would you give to professionals or companies that are transitioning to a more remote work environment?
“Hire teams that you trust. If you feel the need to be directly involved in every single action or task that your team is assigned at a microscopic level, you have the wrong team under you. A wise man (Steve Jobs) once said, “It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and tell them what to do. We hire smart people so they can tell us what to do.” Once you have that trust, you can have confidence that your remote team is working just as wonderfully at home as they were in the office.” – Joey Owens-Barham, Director of Talent & Culture
“Re-think all your processes: interviewing, onboarding, group, and individual communication, decision making, and employee reviews. Don’t adapt what you used to do in person but create a new way to work that takes into account the team you work with, the people you want to hire, and the type of work you do.” – Erik Dasque, VP of Engineering
Adapt and improve processes with FormAssembly
Now more than ever, organization and efficiency are keys to successful company growth. While much still remains uncertain, having a better structure in place can ensure your business remains on track and profitable during its transition. With FormAssembly’s powerful data collection platform, it’s easy to improve workplace productivity with automation, security, and collaboration. Read more remote work insights from our blog or see how FormAssembly can help during your company’s transition by starting a 14-day free trial today!