Nadia Vatalidis is the VP of People at Remote.com, which makes hiring international teams easy through global payroll, tax, HR, and compliance solutions for distributed teams. She recently earned the recognition of being a 2022 People Pioneer, a peer-nominated award celebrating HR leaders who are pushing boundaries to positively impact their companies and employees.
We sat down with Nadia to learn more about her work at Remote.com, which includes growing the team by over 10x in less than a year and implementing new programs around compensation and performance management to support employees along the way.
ChartHop: What are your responsibilities at Remote.com?
Nadia Vatalidis: I’m responsible for all things People at Remote: People Experience & Operations, Total Rewards, Learning & Development, People Enablement, Employee Wellness, DEI and Documentation.
I absolutely love and thrive in the hyper growth years of start-ups. Remote, in particular, predicted a need and built a company around a future of work that is now crucial to remaking the world economy, and just having the opportunity to be a part of that has been life changing for me.
CH: You helped grow the Remote.com team from 50 people to over 600 in less than a year. That’s very impressive. How did you lead your team to make it a reality?
NV: The key competencies we needed in the People Team were resilience, compassion, and efficiency. This would allow us to ensure we could build the right foundations really quickly but continue to iterate on them as we scale.
Initially it was quite tactical and highly focused on building scalable solutions surrounding the removal of manual and very administrative work within the People Team. I knew our volume would increase very quickly and I started leaning into innovative technology and integrations and automating mundane tasks to support that. The vision I had was certainly shared by our amazing TechOps team, who supported our People Team with all the integrations and automations we required. This ensured we had more time to engage our new hires, gain crucial feedback fast, create self-enabled onboarding programs, and continue to iterate and prioritize crucial people programs.
The entire People Team has been incredible at adopting our company values and furthermore leaning heavily towards iteration and efficiency in everything we do.
CH: That growth is significant on its own, but it’s even more notable in the competitive talent market we saw in 2021. How did you go about making Remote.com an attractive place for new employees to join and for existing team members to stay?
NV: When you have an incredible Growth Marketing Team and your industry aligns to HR Tech, employer branding is ingrained into the amazing content, events, and blog posts that they produce. I’ve been extremely fortunate that our marketing team published and produced a ton of amazing content surrounding Remote and inspired many organizations and individuals to lean towards this very modern, scalable future way of working.
Our public and very transparent handbook certainly has had an impact as well. Furthermore, we were very intentional about building an internal Recruiting and Sourcing Team, which proactively started outreach programs and responding to feedback on various platforms. From there, things started growing organically really quickly.
CH: You also led a compensation review to ensure market pay of teammates. Can you walk us through what exactly this entailed?
NV: I recognize that it’s hard for an early stage start-up to prioritize compensation reviews and analysis surrounding total rewards, more especially if you have a global team. Total rewards matter to everyone that we employ and we had this unique opportunity to implement a first iteration and scrappy version of a Performance and Compensation Review in Q4 2021.
This was a nice spin off from our implementation of paid compensation data in Q3, 2021. We knew all our new hires would be reviewed during the offer stage when we hire them, but we also wanted to ensure the whole company gets reviewed and that we proactively analyze and review any pay gaps that might exist. You can read a little more about it in our Performance & Compensation Review Handbook section.
CH: What was the most surprising thing that you learned over the course of the past year leading these types of people initiatives for Remote.com? If you could do it all over again, would you do anything differently?
NV: I’ve learned that simplicity always wins and you shouldn’t strive for perfection when you are building the basics. In a fast growing organization, it’s important to realize and understand that things will change. Therefore it’s helpful to build good basic and simple foundations that you can continue to evolve and iterate on as you grow. HR and People Teams often want something to be perfect before they share it company wide, but at Remote we do everything in public even if it is a work in progress, because ultimately it will always continue to progress. The level of awareness and transparency this creates directly impacts trust in your team.
What would I do differently? I would’ve joined Remote even sooner! More seriously, I joined a few People and HR communities in the middle of 2021, and joining these sooner would’ve been great from the standpoint of vast information network sharing and gaining creative ideas. The personal development and confidence that came from that was incredible.
CH: What are you most excited to accomplish in 2022?
NV: I’d like to build a dedicated team at Remote that focuses on Employee Wellness, DEI, and Social Connection. These are all intertwined and should be top of mind for start-up organizations. We are and will continue to be very intentional about these topics.
Remote empowers businesses and people to expand to new markets and grow globally without being hindered by legal or cultural differences. Small and large companies use our platform to unlock economic opportunities, tap into global talent and scale their businesses. Just being part of this is a tremendous privilege.
CH: What is your advice to fellow people leaders who have big growth goals in front of them for the year ahead?
NV: Ambitious goals are ideal, and it’s important to find great simple solutions on the “how” to reach them. I would also encourage folks to start getting more involved with HR and People Communities. It has brought a lot of warmth and creative design thinking to the world of Employee Experience and People/HR as a whole. Watch this space, because we are launching one!
More Lessons from the 2022 People Pioneers
Interested in even more lessons learned from HR leaders? Check out the full list of 2022 People Pioneers for inspiration on how to approach critical initiatives like embedding DEI into company culture, supporting employee well-being, and revamping performance management.