Onboarding takes a different flavor when an entire team is remote. Onboarding all-remote engineers is different still. Engineers work together in a unique way, sharing codebases and using internal best practices for code etiquette, usually under tight deadlines for product delivery. Building the same product from multiple locations might seem like a risky proposition, but it doesn't have to be. Andela has hired, onboarded, and deployed thousands of all-remote engineering teams with our customers. As the world was forced into all-remote mode by the COVID-19 virus, we teamed up with our partner InVision to hold a webinar on onboarding best practices featuring InVision's Liz Ojukwu and Andela's VP of Partner Engineering Wambui Kinya. Here is a link to the recorded version of the webinar, "Thriving in the new normal: Best Practices for Onboarding Remote Engineers."Recommendations that are discussed in the webinar include: • Document everything you do. Because engineers are working on the same product from different locations, it is critical to document your codebase, development processes, your architecture, and your team's use of tools. Development teams should have a standardized, documented way to set up their local development environments and workflow procedures. Make sure new employees know where to find and how to use developer-specific information.
• There's no such thing as overcommunication. When you're not in the same office as your new hire, you won't pass them in the hallway and say "hi," read their facial expressions, or have that "watercooler talk." Being mindful of your communication channels is really important. Managers should check in on new hires frequently and hold more team meetings in the first few weeks.
• Create a playbook. If you were a football team, new players would get a playbook, right? Remote engineers need a central source of truth with standard procedures for all important functions. These include organizational charts, contact lists, guides for commonly used tools, workplace setup, software tutorials, anything that requires step-by-step instructions.
For more of the "how" to implement these best practices in these areas, check out the webinar. Long-term ProductivityOnboarding does require some upfront resources and time from managers and the team, which will result in a short-term slow-down of productivity. But, the long-term benefits far outweigh the risks. Studies have shown that proper onboarding makes teams and individuals 70 percent more productive, onboarded employees give 20 percent more effort, and are 18 times more committed to the company. If that doesn't convince you, maybe this will: Companies with committed employees earn 147 percent than peers."It's always baffling to me when companies do all the work to hire someone and then don't set them up to be successful," said Cate Hudson, Engineering Manager at remote engineering pioneer Automattic. "Hiring is so time-consuming. Managing people who are not delivering in their role is time-consuming, too, not to mention emotionally draining. Onboarding people and helping them to be effective is—by far—the easiest option."To learn more about onboarding distributed teams, watch the recorded webinar.