Hiring remote developers has become a common practice for quite a while, considering that experts who reside within the country where the company in need operates are increasingly challenging to find. In this sense, the rapid development of technology has placed businesses in a position where they come across skill gaps-related issues more and more often, making it clear that hiring remote specialists is among the best solutions for companies’ troubles.
But this practice requires special attention in order for it to be able to bless businesses with all of its benefits, and an important part of the effort in question, must be directed towards the onboarding process. The latter is the one that will be setting the tone for the rest of the collaboration between remote developers and hiring company, and should be given the care it deserves. Starting with the final round of interviews.
In this phase, even if conducted by specialized staffing agencies or outsourcing companies, hiring parties should inform candidates about the tools they will be working with and business culture that they will be entering. This way, the onboarding process will go smoother, since remote employees will already have an idea of how their daily activities will look like.
Going further, after it becomes official and contracts have been signed, hiring businesses must appoint a guide, someone who knows the lay of the land and can answer any questions the newly hired remote developer might have. However, this person should establish some boundaries and indicate a timeframe in which they will be available.
If necessary, the assigned internal employees, who will be handling the onboarding process, can fly to wherever the remote developers carry out their activities, and instruct their new colleagues in person. Such a visit will also assist remote and internal employees build a stronger working relationship, by not only discussing about tasks and tools, but also by giving them the opportunity to spend some time out of the office, in a less formal environment, where they can speak about hobbies and interests.
Next begins a trail phase, where remote developers can really become familiar with the tools and software that they will be using, and can adapt to the “remote” part of the collaboration. For this, clear communication channels must be established, frequent meetings should be scheduled, and feedback should be encouraged.
Newly employed remote developers should also be aware of practices, working styles, and both short and long term goals of the company that welcomed them aboard. Because only by seeing the bigger picture, will they really be able to add value to the hiring business, and contribute to its growth.
And speaking of goals, the onboarding process should also include some short term objectives, that remote developers can bear in mind, and that can guide them in the first month. Small tasks with clear deadlines can help both remote employees and hiring company in the beginning, until parties get accustomed to each other’s mode of action.
However, no onboarding process is like the other, so a personalized approach is usually the one that proves to be most successful. And the reason for this is that each individual has its own needs when it comes to the time it takes them to adapt, learn how to use new tools, or get used to a different company culture.
Some might fit in right away, while others will require more time to adjust, and that is a possibility companies must be ready for. In this case, rather than adding pressure, hiring businesses should show support and empathy, providing remote developers with words of encouragement and giving them the space they need to get the grips with the practices, equipment, and new colleagues and management.
Resorting to the collaboration with remote developers is a decision that most companies have had or will have to make at one point, given the struggles they have to face regarding skill gaps. But, as with other things, it is important businesses start off on the right foot, and in our case, with the right onboarding process. And as they say, first impressions are lasting impressions, and you only get one chance to make an initial impression, so it has to be a good one. That is why onboarding remote developers must be all about communication, patience, clear explanations about expectations, and a clear view of company culture and goals.
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