How Do Remote Engineers Get on Board with the System?

When an organisation’s staff is spread across multiple locations, the onboarding process is significantly different. Engineering teams which are based remotely present a unique onboarding process, requiring engineers to work together under tight deadlines in order to meet product delivery goals, while also sharing codebases and following corporate standards for code management. It may appear as a risk to build the same product in different regions, but this does not always have to be the case.

To date, Works has successfully recruited, welcomed, and mobilised hundreds of decentralised engineering teams for our clientele. As the entire globe was placed under lockdown in response to the coronavirus pandemic, people were left with no other option but to turn to their television sets for entertainment.

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We consider a number of suggestions, including:

  • It is essential to keep accurate records of progress on the product, as engineers from different locations work on it. This documentation should include the product’s codebase, development processes, architecture, and the team’s use of tools. Furthermore, all members of the development team should have their own local development environment and workflow practices in place and documented for consistency. All new developers should be given access to and made aware of all developer-specific resources.
  • Overtalking is often perceived as a problem, however it is simply a myth. When new recruits are not sharing an office space with their colleagues, they miss out on many opportunities to connect with their team. These include chances to greet each other, observe one another’s body language, and participate in informal conversations. Therefore, it is essential to consider the methods utilised to communicate information. During the initial weeks of employment, managers should arrange additional team meetings and frequently check in with their new employees. This helps to ensure that a strong bond is formed between them and their coworkers.
  • As part of onboarding new members, it is essential to develop a comprehensive plan of action. Just as a football team provides their players with a playbook, remote engineers should have a single, authoritative source of information that outlines best practices for essential tasks. This source should contain comprehensive materials, such as organisational diagrams, lists of key contacts, manuals for frequently used equipment, instructions for setting up a workstation, and software tutorials. By having this data readily available, it will ensure that new members are well-equipped to take on their roles.

Long-Term Effectiveness

In the short term, there may be a decrease in production as a result of the effort managers and the team put into onboarding. However, these potential downsides are far outweighed by the rewards that can be reaped. A recent study has shown that employees who have been through a proper onboarding process are 70% more productive as a team, 20% more productive as individuals and 18 times more dedicated to the organisation. If the above facts are not persuasive enough, then it is worth noting that a company can increase its profits by 147% if it has a workforce of devoted employees.

Cate Hudson, Engineering Manager at the innovative Automattic, who specialise in remote engineering, highlighted that it is perplexing when organisations make all the effort to employ someone but fail to equip them with the necessary tools for success. She went on to emphasise that the recruitment process is highly complex and managing employees who are not performing their duties is challenging. Hudson believes that providing new employees with the necessary training and resources to become productive is the most straightforward approach.

Related Article: 10 Tips for Successful Remote Software Developer Onboarding

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