In today’s world, the concept of working remotely has become increasingly popular, as a consequence of the global COVID-19 pandemic. Surprisingly, for many organizations, this shift to remote working has not only been successful, but has also resulted in an increase in productivity. This has been a revelation, as prior to the pandemic, there were doubts about the viability of remote working. It is now clear that these issues are not insurmountable, and that remote working can be a great success.
No matter whether you are an experienced manager of remote teams or if you are only just starting to consider hiring a remote programmer, onboarding is a vital process that needs to be completed. If you do not have a thorough onboarding procedure in place, with well-defined rules and boundaries, then you are likely to encounter difficulties further down the line.
But what exactly is the best way to bring a remote coder aboard? We have compiled a list of ideas for you:
Straighten Out Your Problems
It is important to ensure that you have a comprehensive plan and the necessary paperwork in place before considering the option of hiring a remote worker. As well as the standard documents a new employee would typically provide, it is also essential to bear in mind the following additional considerations.
- Working with a person who lives and works in another country.
- Protection of Teleworkers’ Health
- Concerns About the Safety of Computer Systems
- Supply of Home Office Resources (Equipment and/or Allowance).
- Procedures for Telecommuting
- Policy on Internal and External Communications
It is imperative that you take the necessary steps to ensure that remote workers do not become a victim of ‘out of sight, out of mind’, which can have a detrimental effect on their productivity. It would be disastrous to hire a new programmer, only to find that they are unable to access the company systems due to security considerations, so it is important to discuss these issues with your IT department prior to making the hiring decision.
Do Your Part to Manage Expectations
When setting expectations for a remote team member, it is important to ensure that clear rules and guidelines regarding remote work and communication are established and adhered to. Some key points to consider when establishing such rules and guidelines include:
- Is it required that they adhere to standard office hours established by the company, or may employees choose their own schedules?
- Is remote work allowed, or do they need to be online during certain hours?
- We recommend measuring actual results rather than relying on less precise methods of measuring productivity when evaluating success. By assessing actual output, we can gain a more accurate understanding of the success of our efforts.
It is important to take some time to consider any changes that may be necessary when introducing a new team member. One concern is whether they will be able to understand the jargon and abbreviations used in the business, particularly if they are not a native speaker of the language most commonly spoken in the organization. Having a glossary of uncommon words and phrases can be useful, but it is also beneficial to encourage the team to use “plain English” to ensure everyone is on the same page.
It is beneficial for non-native speakers to have access to meeting materials before the meetings take place, therefore it is essential to ensure that team members are in the habit of sending out agendas and reports at least 24 hours prior to any scheduled meetings. Doing so will enable all attendees to be adequately prepared and enable them to make the most of the meeting.
As the onboarding process is primarily comprised of the new hire’s initial meetings with HR, paperwork completion and orientation, along with being introduced to the necessary personnel and given a tour of the facilities, it is still entirely possible to conduct these tasks remotely, using a video conferencing application such as Zoom. This would enable all parties involved to remain in different locations and still successfully complete the standard onboarding procedures.
It is essential that the onboarding process for employees from different cultural backgrounds begins with the team getting to know each other. Although we strive to be progressive, it is natural to feel less comfortable with those who are perceived to be different from us. It is your responsibility as the employer to ensure that your in-office team fully recognizes your remote worker as an equal member of the team. It is important to emphasize that this person is a full-time employee and not a freelancer or contractor.
The next step in the onboarding process is the implementation of training and/or shadowing. This can be done remotely or in person, depending on the circumstances. Scheduling can be made easier by using tools such as World Time Buddy, which allow for the synchronization of different time zones; however, some flexibility may be required from team members in order to make this possible.
At the conclusion of the first week, or near lunchtime, it is a great idea to take a new hire out for a drink to welcome them to the team. This provides a fantastic opportunity for everyone to get to know one another outside of the workplace, as well as being a great opportunity for the team to bond. Therefore, it is important to think about doing the same with remote workers.
It is important to allow time for informal conversation at the start of each meeting, but when major successes are marked it is appropriate to hold a virtual celebration. This presents an opportunity to mark the occasion in a fun and appropriate way, depending on the team’s preference. For example, you could order pizza, encourage everyone to wear Hawaiian shirts while mixing drinks, or spend time together playing Fortnite.
Begin With Them
Whoever they are shadowing or training with should ensure they are given a comprehensive introduction to the basics such as task management, communication protocols, the version control system in use, and the location of the #watercooler channel, where the best cat memes can be found. Once they have received this information, they should be given suitable activities to keep them occupied.
It is understandable to feel apprehensive when employing a remote developer for the first time; however, you can be assured that you have made the right decision and it is important to allow them the autonomy to carry out the tasks they were employed to do.
In order to give a new programmer an opportunity to familiarize themselves with the organization, it is common to assign them a limited, separate task. This can be a practical exercise, in which they can become accustomed to the version control software, and understand the coding standards. Furthermore, it is an ideal way to assess their problem solving capabilities, and identify any areas where further training may be necessary.
Send Too Many Messages
It is essential to ensure that all members of a remote team are kept informed and up to date with developments. This is particularly important to ensure that urgent requests for assistance are not overlooked. To ensure this, it is important to establish a clear communication policy that outlines which channels are used for what. Doing this will ensure that all necessary information is communicated in an efficient and timely manner.
Daily stand-ups are an integral element of the Agile Development Methodology. If your team is not already participating in this activity, it is highly recommended that they begin doing so. During these meetings, team members are expected to provide an update on their progress, any challenges they have faced, and their plans for the day. This is a beneficial practice for a number of reasons; not only does it ensure that everyone is on the same page, it also serves to strengthen the bonds between members of the team, as they are able to learn from each other and help one another out.
As a rule of thumb, it is important to be mindful of how frequently you interrupt a remote programmer while they are working. Doing so may prevent them from making any progress on their tasks. Therefore, it is advised to use asynchronous communication technologies as they allow the developer to respond when they are ready.
Key to Success When Recruiting Remote Developers
Recruiting the ideal person is a crucial element of an effective onboarding process. Despite the fact that many people are currently finding out, not everyone is well-suited to working remotely, despite the fact that up to 90% of employees would prefer to work from home, even if only part-time. We can help you to ascertain whether the remote programmer you are looking at is capable of fulfilling the job requirements.
At Works, we take great care to ensure that all candidates for any position are thoroughly screened for the necessary technical abilities, the capability to work remotely, and that they are an ideal fit for our company’s culture. Compared to other methods of recruitment, our process is much quicker as we only consider the most qualified applicants for each role. If you’re in need of a remote programmer, we would be more than happy to provide assistance. If you would like to discuss this further, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us right away.