The dedicated team model is a comprehensive way to expand an organisation’s tech capacity and increase productivity. However, establishing one requires some thought and consideration. Some of the most crucial moments are the onboarding process of the remote team and the establishment of a good work environment and processes.
Questers has more than 15 years of experience building and managing distributed teams in Bulgaria for various-typed tech businesses. Based on the accumulated knowledge over these years, we have prepared a comprehensive guide for onboarding a remote dedicated team.
Before the start date
The preparation for the new team members should start at least a few weeks before the start date. During this time, it is recommended to think about the following:
- Equipment. Get in touch with your local provider’s Facility & Infrastructure Manager to ensure the delivery of the equipment necessary for the new starters. Depending on your preferences or contract with the local service provider, this may be supplied and shipped by you or ordered locally.
- Access to internal systems and tools. Once the equipment is in place, make sure to provide access to all internal systems and tools the new team members would need. This prevents an unnecessary hassle during the first working days and demonstrates good management.
- Team meetings and events. Plan ahead of time the intro meetings and upcoming team events, and make sure to book them in the new team members’ calendar. Make sure to take the time difference into account. This also demonstrates good organisation and dedication to quickly integrate the new colleagues.
- Training plan. Make a training agenda and share it with the rest of the team. This way everybody in the team would know what to expect from their new colleagues during the first couple of months.
- Initial onboarding. Make sure that everyone from your headquarters involved in the new team’s initial training and onboarding is informed and well prepared. Coordinate the schedules and sync the key points of the agenda.
The first impression counts, so the first couple of days are crucial, especially when onboarding new colleagues remotely. Here are a couple of tips to follow during this period:
- Welcoming the new team. On the first day, make sure to introduce the new colleagues to the rest of the team and to make them feel welcome. The remote factor makes this step even more important. For newly-forming teams, it is a good idea to travel to the new location and welcome them in person, or if possible - to get the newbies visit your headquarters. Alternatively, the various online tools for team meetings would do the job.
- Company introduction. Provide info about the company’s mission, values, org chart, product roadmap, architecture and technology stack. The team members have probably already made some research on these, however, it’s a good idea to provide structured and insightful information. Speak also about the management process, company rules and tools. All of this will help the new team members to quickly get familiar with their new workplace.
- Buddies or mentors to the new joiners. Assigning a buddy to assist with the various questions each new joiner will inevitably have, is also a good practice. For newly forming remote teams, these would be people from your headquarters, but later on, more senior people from the local team could take responsibility for this.
- Time to catch up. Make sure to provide enough time for the new team members to catch up with the meetings they need to attend as well as the way the calls are led. Encourage questions and take time to explain internally used phrases, practices, etc.
- Be open to questions. Expect the new team members to approach you with questions or requests more often in the first few days and be reachable. Enquire about their progress and encourage them to address any issues.
- Expectations and deadlines. Make sure your new team members understand their responsibilities. Communicate your expectations clearly and create action items with clear due dates.
Communication & regular feedback
Good communication is crucial for the continued successful management and operation of distributed teams. Therefore, it is very important to set solid foundations from the beginning. Here are some good practices:
- Frequent meetings. Try to have more video conference calls with the team members at the beginning. This will help clear the work process and some of the questions that would occur.
- Regular feedback. Provide frequent and honest feedback on individual and team performance. Employees who understand their strengths and areas for improvement tend to perform better.
- Ask for feedback in order to spot any red flags early on.
- Set up performance measurement metrics. Having an objective way to evaluate people’s performance is fair and efficient.
Cohesive virtual work environment
After the first couple of days, it is important to maintain a healthy relationship among different teams as employees sometimes create informal groups based on location and the “us vs. them” mindset settles in. Here are some tips on how to do that:
- Organise regular visits to the remote office and headquarters combined with some team bonding activities.
- Use video chats and online collaboration tools. Distributed teams often need those more to be engaged.
- Build a culture of mutual responsibility for the final result.
- Always keep your door open for suggestions or ideas. Cross-cultural communication can bring some diverse ideas and approaches.
- Be ready to delegate managerial tasks to team leaders of remote teams.
- Make sure conflicts are resolved fairly and quickly.
- Use every opportunity for knowledge transfer both ways.
Should you have decided to expand your development team in Bulgaria and need a trusted partner to support you in this process, do not hesitate to contact us.