Meet Christophe Pasquier, Founder and CEO at Slite:

Christophe Pasquier is the Founder and CEO of Slite, a knowledge base for teams that provides a central hub for all team information. With the goal of making access to information instant, Slite utilizes AI to enhance productivity and facilitate content verification. Christophe started Slite remotely in 2016, and since then, he has built an incredible team spanning 12 different countries. His journey in remote work and global hiring began with the natural decision to hire his first team member, Arnaud, who became a close friend and remains an integral part of Slite. Inspired by examples like Buffer, Christophe embraced remote work as a means to tap into a wider pool of talent and foster a thriving tech ecosystem. Over time, he continued to hire individuals from various locations, including Rob, an Irish designer based in Seoul, who became one of Christophe’s closest friends. Christophe’s experience in remote work and global hiring has given him valuable insights and lessons that he shares with others.

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Quick Read: Christophe Pasquier, Founder and CEO at Slite, Interview Highlights

What was the main motivation for Slite to proceed with global hiring?

Slite’s main motivation for global hiring was not cost-effectiveness, but rather the need to find exceptional talent and create the best product in their category. They recognized that relying solely on the Paris ecosystem would not be sufficient and that expanding globally was necessary to access a broader pool of talent. Additionally, Slite embraced the positive aspects of remote work, such as job opportunities for more people, work flexibility, and allowing employees to be where they are happiest.

Are there differences in hiring strategies for the 12 different countries Slite operates in?

Slite follows a simple approach where they don’t distinguish between countries during the hiring process. They aim to hire through Employer of Record (EOR) deals whenever possible to ensure compliance. They also adopt a localized compensation approach, paying employees based on the local market rates. However, challenges arise in countries where hiring is complex, requiring the use of contractors. Slite’s preference is to hire through EORs as much as possible.

How did Slite develop its salary calculator for remote work compensation?

They initially used a cost-of-living calculator per city and indexed ratios to determine compensation. However, they found that approach challenging to maintain and not representative of salary ranges. They transitioned to using compensation benchmark data from platforms like Cansa, which compile salaries from around the world, specifically focusing on tech roles. Slite pays employees based on the benchmark for each location and role, aiming to be within the top range.

How does Slite handle compensation adjustments when employees relocate?

Christophe shared that Slite adjusts compensation when employees move to different locations. For employees moving to more expensive cities, Slite reviews and increases their salaries to align with the cost of living. They understand that it’s crucial to offer compensation that allows employees to sustain their lifestyle in the new location. However, if an employee chooses to relocate to a significantly more expensive area without a clear business need, Slite may reconsider the feasibility of their employment.

What advice does Slite’s CEO have for entrepreneurs looking to secure investment for remote-first startups?

Christophe advises entrepreneurs to build networks and relationships with investors actively, especially if they are not located in strong startup ecosystems like Silicon Valley. He emphasizes the importance of physically being present and engaging with potential investors, attending meetings and pitching sessions. Building a strong network and effectively pitching the startup’s vision is crucial for securing investment, particularly in the early stages.

How does Slite see AI playing a role in global hiring and remote work in the next two years?

Christophe sees potential in AI tools for sourcing and detecting talent, which can be valuable for remote hiring. However, they acknowledge the challenge of potential biases in AI-driven decision-making for human-related aspects. Slite primarily focuses on the collaborative aspects of remote work, offering a knowledge base tool that enhances transparency and facilitates teamwork. They believe AI can improve processes related to knowledge creation, maintenance, and accessibility, making documentation more efficient and seamless.

How does Slite view the sustainability aspect of remote work?

Slite recognizes the environmental impact of remote work, considering factors beyond commuting. While remote work eliminates the need for daily commuting, the frequent need for global teams to meet in person through air travel can offset the benefits. Slite aims for a more sustainable approach by focusing their hiring efforts within the EU to facilitate regular gatherings with reduced travel distances. They prioritize choosing gathering locations based on sustainability considerations rather than solely opting for attractive destinations.

What advice does Slite’s CEO have for navigating the complexity of international hiring and building distributed teams?

Christophe offers three key pieces of advice. Firstly, building a strong writing culture and utilizing the right tools for asynchronous communication are essential for effective remote work. Secondly, finding the right balance between synchronous and asynchronous communication is crucial, as a purely asynchronous culture may have drawbacks. Lastly, organizing well-planned onboarding and regular gatherings to foster trust and a sense of belonging within the team are vital for successful distributed team building.