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We’re living in a different world than we did a year ago – especially when it comes to working from home. Since 2020, more companies have shifted towards remote-first structures, but virtual onboardings and remote recruiting are trends predicted to last. 

70% of recruiters think that virtual hiring will become the new standard post-COVID. So what are the best practices when recruiting and onboarding engineering teams remotely? 

From start to finish, here are some top tips to help you create a seamless remote onboarding process for engineering teams. 

Planning Your Remote Recruitment Onboarding Strategy

Sixty-six percent of engineering teams plan to continue to allow remote work after the pandemic threat has subsided. Remote onboarding is only one part of an extensive recruitment process. However, organizations should start planning for remote onboarding from the moment candidates start interviewing for the role. 

It’s essential to evaluate and map out the strategies you will use for each recruitment process stage. 

Some factors you’ll need to consider are: 

  • Which team members candidates will spend time with during onboarding. 
  • How will your managers provide a cultural induction for the candidate?
  • Your methods of communication for virtual onboarding. For example, will they be video calls?
  • Do you have a centralized database of resources for new candidates to find information readily?
  • How can you convert office interactions into a virtual space to humanize the onboarding experience?

How to Onboard a Remote Team 

According to a global survey by Andela, before 2020, only 13% of engineering teams were fully remote. But due to the pandemic, that number has increased to 74%. While engineers might be more familiar with working remotely, HR teams and engineering leads still need to get remote onboarding right. 

Here’s what you can do to ease the transition into remote onboarding: 

Step 1: Address the logistics first

Home offices and remote recruitment are expected to take the place of traditional offices once pandemic restrictions lift.  So make sure you’re planning for your new employee’s office equipment to be shipped before their start date. Also, consider offering an array of products to new hires that will make their home feel more like the office.

In addition, help new hires identify essential contacts and milestones by developing a remote-friendly orientation plan. This should include responsibilities, resources, and training during their first few weeks. 

Step 2: Spend time “face to face”

A new survey looked at people who changed jobs during COVID-19 and asked them about their remote onboarding expectations. Nearly 35% of respondents said they wanted their onboarding manager to contact them via video at least once a day.

Get to know your new teammate by spending a little time communicating over a cup of coffee or even lunch. Applications like Donut for Slack can take the guesswork out of getting to know new colleagues from different departments.  

At Codility, some of our teams have an optional 10 AM daily meeting in place. This is a space to chat through to-do lists, concerns, or just what we did over the weekend. Informal check-ins like this replace those much-needed “watercooler” chats when getting to know new team members. 

Step 3: Clear collaboration and communication are key 

A recent survey by Promoleaf shows that 80% of respondents believe that remote mentors are essential. Remote work can often be quite solitary, especially for developers working long hours on smaller teams. Jessica Meschino, VP of Account Management at Workable, says her company provides multiple mentors from various teams during the onboarding process. 

“Everybody has a different pocket of knowledge that I want the entire team to benefit from. We’ve almost built the onboarding program to be virtual while it can be delivered if we’re colocated,” says Meschino. 

A poor onboarding experience can result in disengaged employees, but these disengaged employees are twice as likely to seek new opportunities. Provide an engaging experience for new employees and reduce high turnover by personalizing your tech stack and remote work tools. 

For example, create a #new-hires channel where new members can find tips for working remotely, FAQs, or additional onboarding documents. You can also schedule automated messages to remind your new employees to complete the next item on their onboarding checklist. 

The Future of Remote Tech Hiring 

Due to the pandemic, the push for remote-first organizational structures has brought about a whole new set of challenges. Virtual onboarding still seems to be a crucial area that many companies struggle with – but not all hope is lost! 

These best practices can replicate (or even improve on) an on-site onboarding experience for remote tech teams. For more tips on improving your virtual onboarding and tech recruitment processes, check out The Future of Hiring and Onboarding webinar

Vienna Urias, Content Marketing Manager at Codility

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