Onboarding employees in a distributed organisation is a different ballgame altogether, especially when dealing with engineering teams that operate remotely. These teams must collaborate to deliver products within prescribed timeframes, often sharing codebases while adhering to strict corporate standards for code management. While this approach may seem risky to some, it is possible to successfully build the same product across different regions.
Till date, Works has effectively onboarded and mobilised numerous distributed engineering teams for our clients. With the world under lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, people turned to television for their entertainment needs.
Article on Post-COVID Workplace:
We have taken into account several recommendations, which include:
- Maintaining accurate records of the product’s progress is crucial when engineers from different locations are working on it. The documentation should encompass the codebase, development processes, architecture, and the team’s tool usage. Additionally, all members of the development team should have their own local development environment and workflow practices that are documented to ensure consistency. New developers should be provided with access to and awareness of all resources specific to developers.
- Contrary to popular belief, overtalking is not a problem but a myth. When colleagues are not working together in the same physical location, they miss out on several opportunities to bond, such as greeting each other, interpreting body language, and engaging in casual conversations. Therefore, it is crucial to carefully consider the means used for communicating information. To build a strong rapport between new recruits and their coworkers, managers should organise additional team meetings during the first few weeks of employment and regularly check in with new employees.
- As part of the onboarding process for new team members, it is vital to create a well-planned course of action. Similar to how a football team provides their players with a playbook, remote engineers should have access to a single, reliable source of information that details the best practices for essential tasks. This source should include comprehensive materials, such as organisational diagrams, key contact lists, equipment manuals, workstation setup instructions, and software tutorials. With this information readily available, new members will be better equipped to undertake their roles.
In the short run, productivity may decrease due to the effort invested by managers and the team in onboarding. However, the benefits that can be reaped far outweigh these potential downsides. Based on a recent study, employees who have undergone an effective onboarding process have been reported to be 70% more productive as a team, 20% more productive as individuals, and 18 times more committed to the organisation. Furthermore, a company with a workforce of dedicated employees can increase its profits by 147%.
Cate Hudson, an Engineering Manager at the innovative Automattic that specialises in remote engineering, has expressed her confusion at organisations that go through the effort of hiring someone without equipping them with the necessary tools for success. She highlights the complexity of the recruitment process and the difficulty of managing underperforming employees. For Hudson, providing new employees with the right training and resources is the most straightforward approach to increasing productivity.
Article of Interest: 10 Tips for Achieving Successful Onboarding of Remote Software Developers