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Ask HN: What’s the best way to introduce yourself to a distributed team?

I’m joining a company that is primarily based in the US, and I will be working from abroad. This is a team that has worked together for years. What’s the best way to introduce myself, get on everyone’s radar, and start off on the right foot?

13 pointsjraby3 posted 2 months ago6 Comments
codingdave said 2 months ago:

I've worked on a distributed team for years, which has been fairly stable. When new people do join, it is a big event. So they want to get to know you, and will likely help this process.

The way it always worked for us was that the hiring manager would announce the arrival of the new person via email. Everyone would email the new person and say hi - those who would work closely with them would email their own intro. And their teammates would probably call them just to say hi. All the new person has to do was sit back, let the intros come in, and respond in kind.

I should add that this wasn't a formal process. It just developed into a part of our culture over the years.

Hopefully, the team you are joining is similarly friendly. (Frankly, it is a red flag if they are not) Remote teams don't get the little face-to-face interactions that co-located teams do, so their phone calls tend to have more non-work talk to make up for it, and you get to know people just by being on the team and communicating.

JSeymourATL said 2 months ago:

Schedule a brief 10 minute intro call/Skype 1:1 for each individual.

It takes longer to execute. But it's worth taking the time now, upfront to start building a relationship. Show an interest in the person, what their working on. ASK if there's anything you might help them with?.

I had a colleague from Sao Paulo start that way. We became fast pals.

gtsteve said 2 months ago:

I assume there's some central communication system so I'd first ask my boss or whoever I report to if it's appropriate to drop a message in the company's general slack channel or send a big e-mail or whatever. Perhaps they'll recommend you introduce yourself to a smaller team first or wait until an all-hands video call.

Introduce your job role, where you've come on from, what you'll be working on, who you report to, etc, maybe mention some hobbies or some extra unique fact about you. I'd keep that last part to 1 or 2 points but I think the key is to come up with a future talking point when you're speaking to people for the first time.

From the cultural angle: I don't know how many Americans you know but I generally find them to be quite a friendly bunch so I'm sure whatever you say will be appropriate so long as it's positive and upbeat.

dyeje said 2 months ago:

If there is a company all hands meeting, carve out some time for an AMA with some predefined questions to get things rolling.

Schedule chats with everybody you can.

Make sure to use a profile picture of yourself on all the different apps you use to communicate.

nevatiaritika said 2 months ago:

My manager introduced me using a game of 2 truths 1 lie in a group meeting. I liked that idea, everyone takes back home a memory about you

NotPaidToPost said 2 months ago:

It should be for your manager to introduce you to the team. Then you can add a message yourself.