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Out of sight, out of mind - why remote onboarding can’t be overlooked

First impressions in the office have always been important. But how about it in today's remote climate?

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Well, one study suggests that 69% of employees are likely to stay with a company for three years if they experienced a great onboarding process. While another believes strategic onboarding can improve retention by 82%, boosting productivity by over 70%.

That’s no drop in the ocean.

But in the midst of The Great Resignation - when a whopping 47.4 million jobs were left voluntarily last year - is this vital part of the recruitment process being overlooked?


Worryingly, recent studies seem to suggest so. The latest research from Gallup found that only 12% of employees “strongly agree” their organisation does a great job of onboarding new employees.

And a lot of the onboarding processes that are in place just aren't fit for the tech industry - let alone the remote working world.

Over half (58%) of organisations say their onboarding program is focused on processes and paperwork; time-sapping processes that don’t just disengage talent, they eat into valuable project time too. Staggeringly, research by Sapling reveals the average onboarding process consists of 54 of these types of activities, including:-

  • 3 documents to sign, upload, or acknowledge
  • 41 administrative tasks to complete, e.g. desk set-up
  • 10 outcomes around company culture,
    market knowledge and role alignment

That doesn’t sound particularly engaging in person, let alone remotely. And this wouldn’t be ideal at the best of times.

But these aren’t the best of times. Not for employers looking for tech talent, anyway. Research suggests the scarcity of software engineers is set to reach 1.2 million in the US alone by 2026. Worse still, 545K software developers will have left the market altogether by then (Bureau of Labor Statistics).

Now more than ever, those first impressions are everything.


Speeding up recruitment in the war for tech talent

For the first time since records began, there are “fewer unemployed people than job vacancies,” says the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

In the UK alone, there were around 1.3 million jobs in Feb-May 2022; that’s around 535,000 more vacancies compared to the same period in 2021 (Statista).

This isn’t a localised trend, though; it’s a global phenomenon. And considering the tech industry didn’t experience as many redundancies or pay cuts over the past couple of years as other sectors, there are a huge amount of positions to fill. For context: in the U.S, there are five jobs for every one software developer. So what’s going on?

Well, one major problem is how lengthy traditional tech recruitment is. There’s research to suggest it can take 50% longer to hire for tech roles than other positions. To put things in context, that’s about 66 days to find the right technologist for the job.

And that's before you even get the chance to onboard them.

So how can you hook them early when you do find the perfect talent?


Pre-boarding keeps talent keen and projects productive

In the remote working world, it’s easy for new starters to feel disconnected if they’re not engaged properly. Especially in light of the fact that 64% of new hires receive no preboarding experience. Pretty surprising when a strong pre-boarding process can boost retention by up to 82%.

But preboarding doesn’t just give you a chance to get new starters excited about your mission, values and culture; it’s a great opportunity to let them hit the ground running.

Use this period to do the “welcome stuff” - either via on-demand videos or reading materials - and fire over any paperwork to sign ahead of time. Importantly, you can also send them their kit, logins and access to your communication tools. So on day 1, they're ready to jump on more interesting and productive tasks.

But getting them set up and ready to go’s a bit more complicated when they’re not a stone's throw away from your IT department.

Get them set up with the right tools for the tasks

Get them set up with the right tools for the tasks

It's no exaggeration to say that tech teams need a laundry list of tools to fulfil their task. And this is only getting more complicated and involved as technology advances.

But there’s an added layer of complication when they’re working remotely. Essentially, you can control what’s happening in your office but you’ve got no idea what the setup’s like in a developer’s bedroom. And when product teams can’t communicate together in a physical location, you need to make sure they’ve got a unified way of communicating and collaborating.

That means a modern tech stack could include countless tools such as:

  • Slack for text chat and work huddles
  • Google Drive or Dropbox for file sharing
  • Skype, Zoom or Google Hangouts for video meets
  • TrackJS or YouTack for bug tracking
  • Jira or Asana to track time
  • Miro for collaboration
  • Trello or Basecamp for project management
  • InVision for design and prototyping
  • GitHub, GitLab, BitBucket or Launchpad for open-source project hosting

Group 190

But that’s just the software.

Developers and programmers, in particular, will need multiple monitor setups so they can switch back and forth between coding and running programs. They’d also need upgraded hard drives, RAMs, CPUs and GPUs to efficiently carry out their day-to-day tasks. OK, breathe.

This might seem costly for some IT budgets but it's an investment in your talent and your projects. Worst case scenario, it’s an expenditure your company can recoup if that member of staff does move on. At the end of the day, the organisational cost of employee turnover is estimated to be somewhere between 100% and 300% of the replaced employee’s salary. So the price of a couple of monitors seems pretty manageable by comparison, right?

Group 173

Dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s on remote onboarding

With the number of remote workers increasing by 140% since 2005 (on average at about 10% per year) and software development employment projected to grow by 21% before 2028, solid online onboarding strategies have never been more crucial.

At Remobi, we take care of the onboarding experience from start to finish. We’ll ensure all the legal and statutory obligations are met, saving you valuable time and resources that can be used elsewhere. We’ll also coordinate the logistics involved with setting your remote team up with the right equipment - that way they can hit the ground running without delay.

But the big difference here and something that just can't be overlooked when onboarding at a distance is that we’ve built a community of experts; Remobies, as we call them. And as part of this global community, your team has access to meetups, well-being exercises, competitions and more. In our experience, there's no better way of building a remote team that’ll last than helping to foster real connections. From initial onboarding to that first agile sprint, every member of your team will feel connected to each other and a part of something bigger.

The good thing is, once they’ve joined the community and been deployed onto your project, they’re likely to stay. Currently, we have an eNPS score of 9.3 and an 87% retention rate in our Remobi community. Basically, remote doesn’t mean alone with Remobi - that's why it works.

Ready to ramp up your remote team?

We already have a number of pre-screened Remobies that are ready for deployment.