How to Align Your Remote Team with Personal READMEs

Personal READMEs example.
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This post is sponsored by Candor. All opinions are my own.

For today’s companies hiring remotely, finding ways for employees to better align with one another should be a top priority. It helps productivity, gets everyone on the same page, and improves comradery among a distributed team. 

Now some naysayers of remote work think company culture and getting to know your co-workers is impossible in a virtual environment. However, that is a giant misconception. 

There for sure are some challenges just as in-office can too, but these two ways to work are solved a bit differently. So for most that are new to remote work, this is unfamiliar territory and is where these generalizations come from. 

Yet, one way to help create alignment among your remote team is with Personal READMEs. 

Say what!? 

Don’t worry, we’ll get into everything about this and how you can easily have remote workers create their own via Candor.  

What Are Personal READMEs?

Maybe you have heard of personal READMEs before, or potentially this concept is completely new to you.

But if you are a remote company or building remote teams, then understanding the benefits of your team members each having their own README is important. 

READMEs

If you are a tech nerd like me, then a README file is already a bit familiar to you. This is a common text file that contains information for users about software, code, or game, or it might contain instructions or other product details. 

So a personal README takes a less technical approach and focuses on the individual. 

A personal README is the easiest way for you and your employees to tell their coworkers how they can best connect, communicate, support, and provide feedback to them. Everyone has preferences about how they work and like to be approached, but it can be challenging for others to know. 

And these do not have to be a detailed novel, nor do they need to be perfectly designed from the start.

Instead, it’s about making it easy for anyone to know exactly who you are, and how you prefer to work, and updating it over time with more relevant information.

READMEs and Remote Work

Now that we got the basics of READMEs out of the way, you might be seeing how this begins to correlate and benefit remote work. 

Since everyone is distributed and you do not have those daily in-person interactions, it might be more challenging getting to know your coworkers. Things like their personalities, their values, how they work, and much more. 

Personal READMEs create a one-stop profile of all that, which is easily accessible by anyone at the company at any time.

And for managers of remote teams, personal READMEs are amazing ways to better understand your specific team. It will help you become a better leader, easily align goals and values, and help your people feel supported. 

As Doist’s Head of Remote, Chase Warrington, put it: 

“Even something as simple as seeing/hearing how to properly pronounce a name, or knowing when a teammate prefers to have meetings, can change the dynamics of distributed teamwork in a big way. Low-effort, high-impact = great value!”

Chase LinkedIn post.

Where Did Personal READMEs for Remote Work Begin?

Although remote work has been around for years now, 2020 became a remote-fueled year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. And this thrust companies and employees into remote work, many of who have never experienced it before. 

And because of this, we saw the rise of the Head of Remote job role and a greater emphasis on Personal READMEs to help organize any chaos in how people work. 

What seems to have triggered the need for these READMEs for remote work is Darren Murph, Head of Remote at GitLab. He has been a pioneer in various ways, and his personal README has been looked at as an inspiration for other remote teams. 

And as more companies continue to offer remote work, I think we’ll see personal READMEs become more standardized among organizations. 

So, how do you get started? 

Build READMEs for Better Remote Work

Okay, so you are convinced about the power of READMEs for your remote team. Now what? 

Well, there is a more manual way, to get employees to spend time writing one out and then hosting these somewhere. 

Or you can use Candor, which creates visually appealing and easy-to-manage profiles that anyone at your company can access. And it’s completely free.

Before we get into Candor, let’s ensure you have some basics understood before jumping right into getting personal READMEs set up. 

1. What are your goals for having Personal READMEs? Most likely it’s what you’ve learned from above; to improve team async alignment and productivity among your remote workers. But define it for your company in your own words. This will help leadership and everyone else get acquainted.  

2. Figure out how this process is introduced to the company. You’ll probably want this part of the remote onboarding process, so how can you ensure this is available for new hires? And beyond new hires, how will you get your current team onboard? Work with leadership and HR to refine how this will be properly adopted.  

3. Make it easy for your remote team. There is already plenty for them to do between their specific job function and what you may require from them from a team standpoint. You don’t want to overwhelm them, but you also want to make personal READMEs fun and interesting. This is where Candor can be a fantastic tool. 

Sharing How You Work With Candor

Candor is a professional platform to discover and share how you work. You and your team can create a simple, but visually appealing profile and see how to get the best from each other.

Think of it as a personal README with a social network twist. This can then be used internally for the company for all to share with each other or publicly if you want others to see how you work, your values, projects, and more. 

Seriously, it’s pretty sweet. Take a look at one of the Candor team members’ profiles

Candor screenshot of a profile.

And the best part? It’s completely FREE to sign-up and use

So why should you consider using Candor?

Well besides it being free, utilizing this tool is not only great for a personal README but also to increase your own professional growth. 

Here are the reasons why Candor makes sense for remote teams to utilize.

  • Publish your personal README, invite your team to share theirs, and understand how to play to each other’s strengths.
  • Get the insights you need to help your team set and crush their personal development goals. Your profile gets a Candor Graph and you can learn which skills to build whilst remote‘. 
  • Empower your teammates to improve their strengths, reveal blind spots, and find their next professional upgrade. This can be a powerful feedback loop on top of a personal README. 
  • Visually easy for others to digest and remote workers will have the blueprint for simple personal READMEs of their team.
  • Saves your company time and money. By letting your remote team fill out the sections in Candor, you won’t need to build detailed guidelines or figure out what to include. And, it makes it easy for teammates to learn how each other work in an async way. 
  • Get insights as a manager. Since each employee is unique, it makes it easier for the manager to know strengths and weaknesses, how to approach someone virtually, and much more. 

Ready to better drive alignment and professional growth among your remote team? Sign-up for Candor or introduce it as your company tool for personal READMEs and begin sharing how you work with co-workers. 

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About Todd Kunsman

Todd is the founder of Remote Work Junkie and has been featured in numerous publications like Business Insider, HuffPost, CNBC, and more. He’s been a remote work advocate for close to a decade and has been working remotely full-time for 5+ years. He’s also a marketing, personal finance, and music nerd 🤓

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