How to Onboard a New Developer to an IT Team Remotely
Remote work has been the buzzword of modern business long before the quarantine 2020.
However, with all the workplace changes taking place today the mastery of organizing the remote work environment has become mandatory rather than recommended. Today, managers should gain proficiency in remote team management, which becomes critical for business survival. Here we explore the pros of hiring employees remotely and give a step-by-step guide on the effective new team member onboarding processes.
Benefits of Employing Remote IT Teams
Let’s set aside the new era’s remote work requirements resulting various risks as that’s an emergency, not a rule. It is much easier to understand the benefits of hiring remote workers if you’re not presented this option as the only possible variant, right? So, the pluses you’re sure to gain from having a remote dedicated team are as follows.
Those who work at home are better placed to choose the hours of their top productivity for completion of similar tasks quicker, which results in their productivity boosts and a better work-life balance. It’s much easier for remote employees to plan their working days by considering their productivity peaks, scheduling home and family matters for the rest of the day.
More opportunities for employees’ professional growth
Regular office hours prevent many employees from attending professional events, like conferences or educational webinars. Remote work can solve this problem by allowing more flexible scheduling of work times, allowing both work goals’ completion and professional growth.
More employee self-management and satisfaction
People working at home are free from the office micromanagement, which may free their leadership potential and allow them to assume more control of work. Such changes are always productive, releasing the creative energy of workers, which results in a boost of their job satisfaction and often leads to better workplace retention of the key staff.
Flexibility as a performance incentive
Employees receiving the freedom of remote work usually want to preserve that privilege, thus performing better.
Access to a greater talent pool
An employer who decides to set a remote IT team gets access to a much broader pool of talent as their city or area no longer limit them. They can choose workers based on their expertise and talents, not geographical proximity.
Time waste brought to a minimum
Though work from home is usually associated with numerous distractions in the form of home chores, communication with children and family members, cooking, and the like, it is still much more beneficial in terms of time use productivity. Let’s calculate the time spent by an average employee traveling to and from work (it may range from one hour to a couple of hours considering the distance and traffic jams). Another thief of working time is redundant communication: useless spontaneous meetups, time spent on chats with fellow workers, unrelated distractions from colleagues during coffee breaks, etc.
Massive cost cuts
Having a remote IT team is cost-effective in many ways. The employer saves money on equipping the new employee’s workplace and buying new hardware and software. There is no need to compensate for travel or accommodation for workers coming from nearby regions. The cost of electricity, rent, and amenities is also reduced if there are fewer workers in the main office.
So, with all those benefits in mind, you might come to the point of hiring your remote IT team. How to integrate those new people into the in-house team? How to help them glue with other team members and dive into productive work quickly? Here are some pro tips from Qubit Labs’ experts on proficient new staff onboarding.
Onboarding Checklist for Managers
How can you, as a manager, assist new team members in becoming a part of the existing team? We have compiled a simple checklist for your guidance.
- Establish a stable online contact. You must keep in constant touch with the new staff member. So, discuss all available communication channels to choose several used in your company and convenient for stable, regular communication with a remote team.
- Double-check the software/hardware. The new staff member will work on your tasks and projects, so it’s vital to guarantee that they have all the needed tools for performing that work.
- Give access to corporate email and documentation. Before the start of work, your new employee should have their individual corporate email for all in-house team’s inquiries. Access to relevant documents on Google Drive or other cloud storages should also be provided for the newbie to get familiarized with all critical documents, e.g., the company’s policy, work protocols, guidelines, quality parameters, etc.
- Share passwords and work tools. The new worker should have all tools and software (e.g., online meetings, task management tools) and active accounts in them to start working effectively. Do not forget about remote working security measures.
- Provide relevant work resources. If the employee is new to remote work, it’s better to provide them with some primary education by sharing links to articles and podcasts about remote work processes.
- Set up a working schedule with overlapping office hours. It’s better to give a newbie an exact list of tasks for the trial period so that they knew what is expected from them. Besides, working hours should be negotiated in such a way that the in-house team has some overlapping time to get in contact with the new staff.
- Introduce the new employee to the team. A formal introduction during one of the regular meetings is vital to inform the in-house team about the new staff.
- Cultivate mentorship. It often helps to assign a responsible assistant to the new remote team member, a more experienced employee who would help the newbie adjust faster. That employee will perform the mentorship role, building a trusting relationship with newbies and becoming their first reference point in case of questions or concerns.
- Make all administrative arrangements. All new staff should be adequately registered, with medical insurance, payroll, accounting issues taken into account. It would also help to inform the newbies about available educational resources in the corporate system so that they could grow and adjust quicker.
As soon as you make sure all these points have been completed, it’s high time to move on to the actual onboarding process.
The Process of Team Onboarding
The onboarding stage is the event during which you introduce the new team member to your current team. Here are the onboarding steps you should go through with the new team members.
#1 Choosing a video chat platform
Negotiate the video chat platform in advance. Choose among those allowing screen sharing and file transfer. The best options include Google Meets, Skype, and Zoom.
#2 Starting the session
Turn on the video and double-check the quality of video and sound.
#3 Letting the team members introduce themselves
First, give the word to everyone in your in-house team, allowing them to introduce themselves and say a couple of words about what they do in the company.
#4 Introducing the newbie and giving them a word
Now, allow the newbie to introduce themselves and say a few words about their position and expertise.
#5 Stipulating everyone’s responsibilities and channels of contact
Next, cover all organizational issues by explaining who will work with the newbie, what the new team member’s responsibilities are, whom they should contact first in case of questions or emergencies, etc. The new staff member should understand to whom they should report, who their direct manager is, and what the reporting/work procedures are.
#6 Scheduling a team-building activity
Yes, team building is accessible even for virtual teams. Such activities include virtual board games, icebreaker activities, and simulated problems, bringing the old and new staff together, letting them know each other better.
Tools that Can Aid Onboarding
Technology offers many ready-made solutions to make our lives simpler. Some options are available even for tech-savvy onboarding. Here is a brief review of top employee onboarding tools you can use.
Freshteam was created by Freshworks to allow managers to control the process of onboarding more effectively. It allows sending out onboarding tasks and coordinating the process with several involved stakeholders (e.g., the employee and their mentor). The app also supports document sharing and an effective support channel for new staff to clarify any concerns and not to get stuck with work in a new environment. Offboarding procedures are also available in this product.
The Boardon app is focused on making the pre-boarding and onboarding processes easier for managers and workers. It is a multi-tasking tool allowing managers to contact new staff with customized messages, track the onboarding campaign performance, and upload different content for new staff.
- Workday HCM
The HCM app from Workday enables secure employee onboarding and orientation flow management. It is ideal for training sessions, webinars, and online live sessions, supporting video conferencing and file sharing. With this tool, your new staff will quickly get access to critical corporate knowledge, adjusting and immersing into the existing team better.
This manager-friendly app promises to simplify all onboarding, benefits, and payroll issues by automating all HR-related processes in your company. The tool also empowers employees, making their performance, benefits, and plans manageable and transparent.
ClickUp is an all-in-one app allowing full control over the work processes for the managers and employers. Tasks and documents, communication chats and goal tracking – it’s all stored in one place for the convenience of tracking and teamwork. The tool creates a single workspace for team members by integrating the multi-task toolbars, Google calendar appointments, team communication, and monitoring of progress and activity streams in one easy-to-use product.
The New Employee’s First Week
The new employee’s first week is a critical period determining whether they will fail or fly in the new company. Thus, a manager’s strategic task is to simplify and organize the onboarding process in a way that allows newbies to see themselves around quicker. Pro tips for improving the onboarding environment include:
- Checking in with the newbie to clarify whether they have any problems
- Scheduling regular Q&A sessions to address all concerns quickly
- Allowing the new team member to get acquainted with the team at an informal meeting first (a coffee break or a virtual team building activity)
- Introducing the newbie to the team in advance via an email presentation
- Developing understandable performance goals for the first week together with the new team member
- Giving detailed, substantial feedback on the results of the first week’s performance and discussing the next moves together
All these steps can help your new team member feel a part of the team quickly, completing the orientation period and starting to contribute to the productive teamwork.
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