Libby Rothschild is the founder and CEO of Dietitian Boss, a coaching company that helps registered dietitians start and grow their business. As a health-centered founder, Libby has taken a lot of care in building a strong remote work culture that empowers her staff.
Dietitian Boss has been remote since its inception, and Libby has always made sure her employees are satisfied and fulfilled in this virtual environment. Libby is also passionate about hiring employees who align with the company’s values. She believes it’s crucial for building a strong sense of connection among team members while also keeping everyone focused on the company’s mission.
“We live our values and our mission. For us, it matters most when you’re working with clients or staff and you’re faced with issues or have hard days – you remember what you’re doing it for,” Libby says. “One of our staff members has recovered from cancer and she’s really connected with our mission because of her history. That’s a really deep, profound connection that makes the work feel more significant – and the highest human need is to be fulfilled and to feel like your work matters.”
To Libby, this poses a challenge: Finding staff members who are competent, skilled, excited about the mission, and able to work well remotely.
“With the fast growth in our company, it’s been challenging for employees at any level, to adapt to the pace we’re implementing. Dietitian Boss grew 220% from 2019 to 2020. We have a lot of needs and clients, and it’s been really hard to find people who can adapt to the culture,” Libby says. “Finding the right people that can adapt to our learning curve has actually slowed down some of our growth with having to give people more time and space, while also competing for talent.”
She speaks further on building a strong remote work culture to differentiate Dietitian Boss from other companies while empowering staff along the way.
Building a unique remote work culture in the competition for remote talent
As more and more companies went remote post-pandemic, Dietitian Boss needed to find a way to set themselves apart besides just offering a remote work environment. To Libby, this meant thinking further about the company’s brand itself and what they could give.
“It came down to building a strong brand and making sure that our values as a company were unique,” Libby says. “We want to attract people who are interested in and aligned with our mission. We want to hire staff that are excited to build on that. But that does mean if we’re competing for talent that can also adapt fast to a remote work culture, there are still struggles with filling spots fast enough.”
Once new hires are onboarded, there are other factors to consider when getting them up to speed. Perhaps new employees have never worked remotely, or aren’t with the tech stack. Ultimately, it’s Libby’s goal to get her team members working as autonomously as possible and guiding them where she can.
“We have a lot more of our staff reaching out to upper management, needing extra support because they might feel lonely. To combat that, we have to bake in extra coffee chats where upper management is able to be responsive, but not necessarily so much that people aren’t able to get work done.”
“We want to develop people and help promote and encourage them to develop that talent. This helps me feel secure in our recruiting and hiring process: I know that any hire is going to be treated well when they’re in the company.”
Another way Libby gets ahead is by coaching all her staff and providing them with growth opportunities. She also works with them on their professional and personal goals. She pays special attention to those in upper management, so the work they do can trickle down to all staff.
“I put a lot of attention into upper management because I know that we have to put our oxygen masks on first before we can save anybody else,” Libby says. “People management is an ongoing issue and I’m always trying to empower staff, so they can empower others to be honest and open about what their needs are.”
Using employee surveys for better communication and culture
In order to create the strong remote work culture that Dietitian Boss has, Libby and her leadership team check in on their employees by sending out monthly surveys. This type of benchmarking helps the leadership identify when problems arise and solve them quickly before they become systemic issues.
“Each month, we send out a survey so we can check Net Promoter Scores for employees. It’s like a temperature check to make sure our employees are satisfied,” Libby says. “We’re doing well on making sure that our employees are happy – and we have the data to prove it. We know if there are any issues, we’d be able to rectify that immediately and see exactly when the problems started.”
This type of reflection isn’t only for team members at Dietitian Boss. Libby and her co-founder also partake by checking in on themselves and how they can better serve their team.
“I’m in an entrepreneur organization, and I always talk about leadership. How can I be a better leader? What am I not seeing? How can I empower people better on my team?” Libby says. “My biggest piece of advice is to take some time to think about your communication, and to not be afraid to ask for some honest feedback about yourself. That’s more important than ever in a virtual setting.”
This kind of open communication and feedback is what helps make Dietitian Boss’s culture so strong. Despite being remote, they are able to grow and learn from each other and the work they do. While they utilize intentional one-on-ones and coaching opportunities, companies can also offer low maintenance communication using Slack apps, like Airspeed’s Icebreakers and Shoutouts.
Ultimately, it will be each company’s individual journey on finding the best way to create a strong remote work culture. Libby agrees:
“Every company is going to be different, but the willingness to find new ways to measure what works with your culture and your staff. And that’s something that is a big learning lesson for me, that the emphasis is not on the frequency of the test, but the willingness to adapt to what your staff needs and be really open about it.”