The way we work has fundamentally changed. More and more businesses have started realizing the benefits of remote work, including increased productivity, decreased employee turnover rate, and reduced absenteeism. These benefits have made hiring and maintaining a remote workforce a strategic advantage. However, according to Hired’s 2020 State of Remote Work Report, 50% of employers said that onboarding software developers was their biggest challenge in remote hiring. When it comes to onboarding nearshore developers remotely, the goal should be to get people up and running as soon as possible, ideally productive during the first week. So what does it take to create a successful nearshore developers hire onboarding process, and how can you enable your nearshore software developers to become productive within a week of their start date, whether it’s submitting code, managing infrastructure, or providing customer service.
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Today’s post is all about the onboarding process of nearshore software developers working remotely from a different country. This blog post will provide step-by-step instructions for how to onboard nearshore software developers remotely and make them feel like a part of the team even before their first day of work. This is the same strategy that we use at Next Idea Tech where we specialize in helping North American companies build their software teams with top developers via nearshoring.
Onboarding Nearshore Software Developers: Step-by-Step
Your remote onboarding process should have 10 major components:
- Setting the new nearshore software developer up with necessary IT equipment.
- Providing digital documentation.
- Sending them your remote work employee handbook.
- IT setup.
- Conducting a virtual orientation.
- Training and skills development.
- Assigning mentors or Buddies.
- Establishing clear goals and expectations.
- Conducting consistent check-ins.
- Arranging in-person meetings.
STEP #1: Setting the New Nearshore Software Developer up with the Necessary IT Equipment
The first step is to send corporate hardware to your new employees. So you need to first assess what your new hire needs. That’s not just their laptop or PC, you need to actually assess whether they need an external monitor, communication tools (microphone or air pods), a good internet connection, security keys, et al. You need to be in a position to analyze all that stuff very quickly and ensure that the necessary tools and equipment are ready and connected to corporate resources before finally physically shipping them to the person.
STEP #2: Providing your Digital Documentation
Provide new hires with all relevant documents, including employment contracts, tax forms, and company policies, in a digital format and help them complete all this paperwork. Ideally you should have an online portal or use cloud storage for easy access to these documents.
You need to have all this stuff focused and locked in before you actually start that work relationship with your nearshore developer. This is something a lot of people overlook and it can result in a lot of serious problems (a lot of them legal problems) very soon after you begin your relationship.
A first day focused on these things would be very draining and non-product I’ve, but if instead you can focus the first day on product and strategy as well as meeting the team — it just starts things off in the right way.
STEP #3: Sending them your Remote Work Employee Handbook
At Next Idea Tech, we have a pretty big handbook all online and it talks about anything and everything inside the company — including how we run the company, all the departments inside the company and what they do. Send them all this information and get them to consume it.
A really good place to start if you do not have an employee handbook is Handbook | Gitlab
It is the largest remote work employee onboarding document on the face of the planet. When printed, it consists of over 2,000 pages of text detailing all the processes and procedures about remote work at GitLab. You can borrow from all their processes — they encourage you to do it; it’s all open source.
STEP #4: IT Setup
Ensure that the new nearshore developer has the necessary IT resources, such as email accounts, access to company systems, communication tools like video conferencing, messaging platforms, and project management software.
Ideally, when onboarding remote employees you should have a spreadsheet listing: what the access is called, what it is used for, what account is this access applied to (regular login, admin login, special account based on email address or arbitrary user name), how to give that access, whose approval is required if any, and a test to find out IF THEY ACTUALLY HAVE IT when you think you did it.
It’s a lot easier if you do that initial audit to figure out what they need and start from there because long-term this can actually result in a lot of logins that are created but not documented properly and creates a lot of security issues down the line.
STEP #5: Conducting a Virtual Orientation
Conduct a video conference call to introduce the new hire to the company culture, values, and mission. In this call you can share an overview of the company’s history, structure, and goals.
Provide the new developer with information to help them understand their role and how they can be successful. This entails:
- Giving them a brief overview of the software development team’s goals and KPIs.
- Outlining your company’s appraisal process.
- Talking about their potential career path.
- Letting them know what resources you provide that can help them grow.
- Having a conversation about how high-level decisions are made within the company.
From that point on, introduce them to their peers by sending push notifications to everybody, usually on SLACK or any other messaging platform of your choice; basically identifying who the new developer is, why they’re working there, the department they’re working in, who is managing them, etc. Since new hires are more guarded during this phase and may not feel very comfortable, be proactive by constantly encouraging them to ask questions. This will give your nearshore developers the chance to talk to their coworkers and build relationships.
STEP #6: Training and Skills Development
Schedule remote training sessions, webinars, or online courses to help the software developers acquire job-specific skills.
Make sure that you provide them with quantitative KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) that you can keep them accountable for:
- How much time are they going to be working on their job?
- What are the clear quantitative measures that they need to accomplish inside the company?
- What happens if they don’t meet those quantitative goals?
- What timeline are you giving someone to hit or not hit those goals within that period?
These are all things you need to communicate to the new developer before they get into the company.
STEP #7: Assigning Mentors or Buddies
Assign mentors or buddies who can guide new hires through their roles. So generally when a nearshore developer is brought on, they have a manager and they also have a colleague inside that particular department who will show them the ropes and hopefully mentor them for a little while to become a bigger and better developer inside the organization. Ideally the mentor should also assist in incalcating them into the company culture by providing context along the way.
STEP #8: Establishing Clear Goals and Expectations
Focus on actually onboarding them to do actual projects where they can learn, feel valuable, and demonstrate success very quickly. That means getting them in touch with the right people, having a clearly defined first week, and putting them on something that matters to the business.
Similar to what we covered in Step 6, you need to set goals and make sure everyone is clear on those expectations so that if you do have to let the developer go in the future — which hopefully you never have to — it doesn’t hit them as a surprise. One of the worst things you can do is to terminate an employee and they were caught off guard; not good HR.
STEP #9: Conducting Consistent Check-ins
It important that you establish a schedule for regular one-on-one check-ins to address questions, provide feedback, and offering support. Encourage open communication and make sure new hires feel comfortable reaching out for help.
A good rule of thumb is to include a mix of essential training and get-to-know-you meetings for the first two weeks, giving your new hires plenty of time to get acclimated.
These can be very short; they can literally be as short as 15-minute calls if they really need to be but it’s important that you create check-ins so that people are posting their quantitative goals (KPIs they’ve been focused to hit) and more importantly they communicate any blockers so that they can be addressed and resolved swiftly.
Step #10: Arranging In-person Meetings
The last step again is just because you have nearshore developers doesn’t mean you don’t meet in person. Geographical proximity is one of the benefits of hiring nearshore.
You need to arrange in-person as well as team meetings for evaluating the onboarding process and gathering feedback from new employees to make continuous improvements.
How Can you Measure if your Remote Onboarding is Working?
To measure success in a new role, project managers should set concrete goals and dates for when they want their new hires to be ramped up in a particular area or when they should have completed some task or project. There should also be a process in place to follow up and check-in on those dates.
This information should be shared with the new hire so that they know exactly what’s expected of them from day one and check-in with them regularly to see if those dates are realistic. Getting this rapid iterative feedback during this time is critical to a successful first month and there’s no substitute to that feedback loop.
Onboarding nearshore developers requires a clearly defined onboarding process, strong communication, and adaptability. Using technology and being responsive to the unique needs of nearshore developers are key to a successful onboarding process. Consider using dedicated HR and onboarding software to facilitate the remote onboarding experience and ensure it is efficient and effective.
But before working on creating an excellent onboarding process, you need to find and hire skilled and experienced nearshore developers. If you’re looking to augment your existing team with nearshore developers or are looking for a dedicated team of nearshore developers, Next Idea Tech can help.
We source, hire and pay software developers in Latin America who speak fluent English and work around your time zone.
Thanks to our large database of pre-vetted developers in Latin and Central America, we have direct access to resources with different disciplines and technical skills working in your time zone. There’s no risk.
For more information, visit Next Idea Tech’s Hire Page .
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