Building High-Trust and High-Performing Teams at Shopify in a Remote World

The switch to remote-only and hybrid has unlocked so much potential for the world and our companies: we can hire the best, people can live where they want, and we can form teams based on skills and interest instead of location. But, this has also fundamentally changed how we build high-trust and high-performing teams: so much of what “came for free” in-person now requires a completely new level of intention and awareness from our teams, and especially from our people- and technical- leaders. Let’s unpack this together.

Reflecting on my own journey as a leader at Shopify as we navigated the rocky world of transitioning to be digital-only (and all the added weight and challenge of COVID on top of it), I share three key elements of what has made digital and hybrid a win for Shopify in building amazing teams:

  1. Building trust and safety in a remote world, particularly with a focus on why it’s even more essential in a digital world than ever before;

  2. Setting the tone the moment folks arrive at your org, and how critical of a role onboarding is, paired with some excellent lessons in doing this at Shopify-scale; and

  3. How to adapt and evolve in a remote and hybrid world if you want to maintain high-performing teams. Diving deep into how to be more intentional, from focus, group size, and necessary facilitation techniques if you want your teams to be successful and be the best they can be.

There’s so much that goes into building excellent (and satisfied!) teams, but these three areas of focus will set you on the right path to apply all the knowledge you’ve built (or read) as you transition to a digital-first world. Let’s go!


Jesse McGinnis

Senior Development Manager @Shopify and Author of Embracing Uncertainty

Growing Eng leaders at Shopify. Helping leaders and teams be their best. I love solving impactful and complex problems and my favourite challenges intersect software, people, and communication. Authored Embracing Uncertainty, offering practical tips and techniques for building and maintaining high-performing teams.

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