Onboarding Remote Developers
We've all been the new person at work, and understand the anxiety of starting a new job; who is everyone? Where do I get help? What will I be asked to do? A robust and thoughtful onboarding process is essential to familiarising and introducing your new developer to your business and their team, making sure they feel included and settle into their new environment more easily.
Below are some tips to consider when you are remotely onboarding developers, so they quickly feel part of the team and start being productive as soon as possible.
Write a checklist of things they will need to know and understand to be able to do their job properly.
Here is an idea of the things you might want to include:
Create a digital contract
Virtually Introduce them to the team and the people they will be working with, not only via email but also via video (Teams, Hangouts, Zoom, etc.)
Create a web platform which allows your new developer to securely input their personal details into your systems
You may want to create some sort of welcome document which gives them policies, software and contact details, so they have the information all in one place and so you don’t forget to give them anything
Ensure you have notified all departments of the new recruit
Personalised Onboarding Process
When remotely onboarding a developer, try not to bombard them with too much information as it can seem daunting so by creating a personalised schedule allows them to get to grips with the business, product, technologies, etc. in a remote induction week. You could create a schedule with times and dates for each of the following:
Introducing them to the rest of the team
Introducing them to their mentor/buddy (if they have one)
They need to be walked through what happens in the company, and how everything works
They need to be told what is expected of them each day
They need to understand the goals of the company, and how their role contributes
*Make sure they are aware of how you will be reviewing their performance
An induction week/fortnight allows your new employee to get settled in before throwing big projects at them. Giving them a well thought out induction period allows them to get to know the business, the people, the software and what is expected of them in detail and gives them a really strong knowledge platform to build from. This is where assigning them with a mentor or buddy is something you may want to consider.
A Mentor or Buddy
If you’re set up to do so, giving your new developer a mentor or buddy means they are not thrown into the thick of things straight away, they have someone they can talk to and who can track their progress and how they are working. It may be helpful to have someone reporting to you about the achievements and work of the new employees, so you have a better understanding of your team.
Having a mentor is also a helpful go to person who will help your new developer feel happy and at home in their new job, environment and team. A LOT of companies overlook a mentor or buddy system but it can be a really valuable experience for someone just starting out in a new role.
As an employer, you should be formally following up with your new employees a few weeks or a month after they start work. Talk to your new developer about what they have done and the skills and practices they have picked up and learnt over the last month. Ask them about how they have found their new role, getting their honest feedback on the role and working for the company. You want to be friendly and address any issues they have. Talk about what they will be doing next and how they will carry on working. This gives you a chance to shape their goals and objectives for the following period of time.
Try and introduce your new developer to the team and allow your team to share knowledge and experience with your new employee and vice-versa. This is where mentors or buddys come in handy and are an easy way of transferring knowledge. Try and keep documents and digital learning materials up to date, create some if you don’t have them already. This allows them to have some independence and use the materials you have provided to answer questions rather than feeling like they constantly have to ask people.
The best thing to do to get your new developer started is to set them small projects which may be relevant or part of your bigger project. This small project should however be big enough to fill 2-3 weeks of time and allows them to get used to things while also contributing.
Make the process adaptive
Don’t be afraid to adapt the process for each person you hire, each person will learn or react differently to each circumstance you put them in. A few weeks in, it may be an idea to ask for feedback and how you could amend the process for future developers.
Thanks for reading and hopefully you found some value!
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