Jan Joubert
May 05, 2020

Company Interview with Jan, founder and CEO of Rainmaker Solutions

Remote work is built into Rainmaker Solutions' DNA. See the beliefs that push this company forward & check out their virtual activities that are building organizational trust.

What made you develop a remote work policy for your company?

At Rainmaker, we have always believed that work is about outcomes, not time or location.

Our teams had worked remotely since our inception ten years ago. Even now, with 100 Rainmakers, we still don’t have an office. It’s not so much a policy as part of our culture. Our working practices are at the heart of what we do.

What has been the benefit of allowing remote work?

Having a remote setup has allowed us to operate an agile and flexible working model that can be easily adapted. It has also enabled us to access a wide talent pool across not only the UK but globally.

One of our key principles is to ‘Work out Loud’, and during the current pandemic, our teams’ remote working skills, flexibility, and expertise have been invaluable, not just to us but to our clients as well.

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What have been some of the challenges?

Effective remote working requires more than great tech and tools; it requires the right working practices and behaviors, as well as a collaborative and transparent culture.

We avoid challenges by having a clear set of co-created Guiding Principles as a business that essentially sets out our rules for working together, transparently, and on the basis of outcomes.

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Do you have a hybrid or full-remote team?

Hybrid - Our teams are set up to operate remotely, and we do not have a head office, however as a consultancy, our staff does spend time on client sites, and we do hold monthly company meetings in London (the UK is currently on lockdown). So whilst the entire company is set up to work remotely, we do meet in person when needed.

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What are your company's most popular tools?

We were early adopters of the collaboration platform Slack and are now one of only two official UK partners. Our teams also extensively use G-Suite, Trello, and Zoom.

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What does a typical day look like for your remote teams?

I’m not sure there is a typical day, but we tend to start the day with a stand up/video call to ensure everyone is clear on our joint priorities and their individual responsibilities.

Apart from that, we allow teams to manage their own time and projects. The organisation completely buys into the concept of our people being responsible for delivering their own outcomes.

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How do you support or train your remote managers?

We have regular calls and video meetings and also utilise Slack and G-Suite for effective collaboration. We have online material and, of course, policy and governance in place to support these working practices. Most importantly, it is built into our culture.

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Do you have a formal remote work policy?

Working remotely is part of our DNA, and all our teams can work from wherever they want.

We ensure our people utilise not only the best tools but also the right, agile working practices.

Ensuring that remote teams are aligned and motivated is vital. Our highly collaborative and transparent way of working we call: ‘Working out Loud’.

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How has the role of HR changed when it comes to supporting your remote workforce?

We have always operated remotely but also facilitated face to face meetings when required. Currently, our Head of HR has an active contact strategy with all staff to ensure everyone is coping with the pressures of the pandemic and maintaining their physical and mental wellbeing.

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How do you build trust and camaraderie among your remote workers?

It is so important to keep a team spirit and a sense of fun, especially in the current circumstances.

We do this by holding regular virtual team drinks (sometimes in fancy dress!) and encouraging social interaction on Slack.

Furthermore, we have a partnership with virtual cycling club HotChillee and aim to support our teams to maintain both their mental as well as physical health.

But from the beginning, we implemented a truly transparent environment. That, a clear vision, defined and lived values, our approach to ‘working out loud’, and the Guiding Principles I mentioned mean that our workforce is both inspired, engaged, and clear on trust.

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Do you facilitate opportunities for face-to-face interactions?

Yes, when we’re not on lockdown, our teams have the option of working on client sites or meeting at a London coworking club. We also hold a monthly Rainmaker Day that you can attend in person or remotely.

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How has remote work impacted your company's productivity?

Our remote and agile operating model is very effective and productive. And ‘Working out Loud’ in a remote setup has also allowed us to maintain not only our own business continuity during Covid-19 but also support our clients’ organisations.

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Jan Joubert

Jan Joubert is the founder and CEO of Rainmaker Solutions. South African born Joubert started his career in London and has over 25 years’ experience in the digital transformation domain. He is also a trustee for sports and education charity the Buffalo Foundation.

About the company: Rainmaker is an independent business transformation specialist, operating in the UK, the US and South Africa. Working collaboratively, at the heart of the most challenging projects, Rainmaker helps organisations transform for the digital age by using its world-leading methodology to plan, implement, and embed lasting change.

Founded in 2010, Rainmaker has delivered exceptional results for clients including Amazon, Xerox, The Cabinet Office, Cambridge University Hospitals, Credit Suisse, Direct Line Group, the Department for International Trade, the Food Standards Agency, HS2, and Croydon Council amongst others.

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