New World Order of Work?
Call it what you will, the revolutionary way today’s startups are hiring and managing their workforces in the post-pandemic world points to a spectacular transition never seen before in the realms of business.
It’s a game-changing switchover from the legacy of having in-house staff to permanently managing a pool of remote team members. The story is no different in the fast-changing world of technology. Startup founders have capitalized on the winds of change and are reworking their hiring models.
The trend among tech businesses to hire remote developers was there in pre-pandemic times, but it was typically limited to short-term hirings and freelance tasks. It was never a core thing. But now, the disruption sparked by the coronavirus has fired the imagination of smart-thinking startup founders, who prefer to hire large teams of remote developers on a dedicated, long-term basis.
As modern businesses are taking the fully remote route with their hirings, they’re finding better and faster ways to scale their teams – including assigning the task of hiring talent globally to talent-hiring platforms dedicated to remote work.
Gone are when startups would themselves struggle to put together a patchwork of freelancers. Today’s founders are smart thinkers, and they’ve figured out that if remote developers are their bread and butter, then why not ship out the most important task – of hiring a full-time remote development team – to professional talent platforms. Get them to hire world-class developers for fullstack, mobile, frontend, backend, devops, data and so on, while you can focus on your growth.
Why Hire a Remote Development Team?
Before we go into the tips you need to consider for hiring and managing a team of remote developers, let us have a quick look at how and why you should hire them. Well, there are numerous benefits of hiring a remote development team. It gives you access to a much larger talent pool to select from; it helps you save costs; you get a geographically widely spread out team that covers a lot more work hours in a 24-hour cycle; and there are many more benefits.
Hire Developers from… Anywhere
Hiring remotely frees you up from the constraints in the local marketplace. It allows you to hire talented professionals from far corners of the world with skills unavailable in the domestic market.
Having worked from home over the last two and a half years, many of today’s developers are now more comfortable delivering the goods while working remotely. Introducing a remote working environment will help you tap into that talent and retain your best developers, which will eventually future-proof your business against uncertainties, as we saw during the pandemic’s peak.
In fact, many developers feel that they are more productive working from home than in an office environment, which involves commuting to the workplace. This report published by McKinsey establishes this point and gives us a peek into how remote work is shaping up. A similar observation is made in this Pew Research piece.
Hiring remote developers gives you access to a globally competitive talent pool. The decision places you in an ideal position to hire software professionals from global markets where you can maintain excellent Silicon Valley quality at a lesser cost that you won’t get if you stay on with hiring only from the local market.
Hiring remotely also gives you the scope to do away with expensive office leases, office space maintenance contracts, and equipment costs. In fact, these savings could then be redirected to hiring more remote developers, accelerating your company’s growth.
Customers expect round-the-clock service and frequent product updates. Hiring developers in different time zones helps startups offer seamless services through the 24-hour cycle. Bugs can be squashed, minor requests resolved, and fixes rolled out whenever an issue is flagged. Hiring across time zones also ensures that development work never stops. With effective communication and handovers, work can continue round-the-clock if your remote developers are geographically positioned to cover the 24X7 cycle.
Now that we have a clear picture of the latest trend in hiring developers remotely and the benefits that come with it let’s take a look at this bucket list of points to consider when you are hiring remote developers and managing a remote development team.
1. Hire Vetted Engineers
If you’re a founder who wants to focus on growth and minimize the time invested in recruitment and vetting candidates, the smartest and most practical first step is to hire from a platform that has already vetted developers for you. Hiring remote developers entirely on your own can be tricky and prove to be counterproductive in your ultimate pursuit of growth, as it’s very difficult and time-consuming to separate the signal from the noise.
Most startups nowadays hire remote developers at scale, and at the same time, they want it to work out without any delays and hassles. Since your remote development team will handle your core operations, the best bet is to look for smart hiring companies that will work it out for you and help you easily and quickly identify the best talent for your needs.
Let that company go the whole nine yards – from understanding your developer needs to scouting for the right talent, lining remote developers up for you to interview, hiring them, onboarding the new recruits, and handling the financials involved. It’s the in-thing, it works, and it will help you hire the top, global talent without any hassles.
2. Hire in Batches, Not Individually
If you take the trouble of picking talent one by one, you’ll have to go through the whole process of recruitment for every single new joinee who comes on board. Instead, do the smart thing: tap into a talent acquisition firm, and ask them to hire remote developers for you in batches, or at least in pairs. Hiring remote developers in batches instead of recruiting them individually can make a difference for your startup.
What that does is that a single spell of the onboarding process can take care of multiple hirings at one go, saving you precious time and sparing you logistical hassles. And you can then focus on doing what you do best, spurring growth.
3. Focus on Communication, Ease of Access
Once organizations hire remote developers from far corners of the world, the next big step is to put in place robust communication and access tools so that everyone can seamlessly connect. A well-oiled network in a remote setup is key.
There’s scope to sketch out a lot of things. There can be multiple modes of communication to cover all your remote developers who are comfortable over different platforms. That apart, there can be a central resource for the company’s processes and playbooks, or say, something like a one-stop company wiki for access to documentation, a project management tool to track timelines, bots to collect daily updates, and dedicated channels on Slack for critical projects.
Having clear lines of communication will also ensure that the development team can flag concerns and request help without delays, enabling you to take effective decisions before it’s too late.
You should also establish a communication protocol for emergencies well in advance. One of the challenges of working with a large and full-time remote team is that not everyone is online simultaneously – they would invariably be working in different time zones.
Establishing a hotline for emergency communication can be an absolute lifesaver in critical situations. For example, suppose a critical bug is holding up operations. In that case, you need to be able to contact your remote development team via emergency channels immediately rather than wait for them to come online the next day.
Let your team know in advance that you may reach out to them during emergencies and expect them to step in when required.
4. Respect Working Hours
The grand shift to full-fledged remote development work might give your team the freedom to work at any time, but this does not mean you expect them to work all the time.
As the lines between life at work and life away from it blur, it can often be tempting and impulsive for some founders to reach out to their team to get a task done outside of work hours, especially if you know they’re likely to be online. Well, that approach can prove to be counterproductive. You need to respect your remote workforce’s working hours.
Setting up working hours upfront and an established daily overlap is important to ensure that the team works together efficiently. Once set, enforce those boundaries judiciously and make your team feel at ease. Basically, draw a line to win them over so that they naturally feel inclined to give their best during their work hours.
5. Be Flexible, Be Sympathetic
When you’re working with a fairly large team of remote developers, you should expect workplace disasters, mishaps, and various types of glitches to occur from time to time and prepare for those scenarios. Say, for example, if your remote team faces a massive power outage or if the communication channel is suspended due to some unforeseen situation in their locations, be prepared with your Plan B so that the stalled operations can be moved elsewhere and taken care of.
It would be counterproductive if you make your remote team feel uncomfortable when unintended disruptions take place. Remember, if you’re flexible and sympathetic towards your remote team, they will go that extra mile to catch up when the situation improves after a snag. In remote work setups, relationships matter more than ever before. Building trust over long distances is necessary, not an option.
6. Have an Ear to the Ground, Hear Them Out
Actively seek feedback from your remote team to hear their views. If your fast-growing digital workplace increasingly has a wider and wider pool of remote recruits, then make sure you conduct a weekly scrum session to ask them about their opinions on their work.
Note that development teams can provide invaluable feedback about your products well before launching them. The more you keep the feedback channels open and welcoming, the quicker it will be for your startup to get to know of issues and hurdles flagged by them. Ironing them out early can save the company a great deal of time and money in terms of averting damage control measures.
Being open to changing the project’s strategy based on employee feedback will make developers feel valued at your company. They will be motivated to work efficiently, giving your growth pursuit their 100%.
The Bottom Line
Ever since the world of work changed for good after Covid-19 hit us, startups and their founders have woken to a new reality. An increasing number of new tech businesses are doing with ease what was unthinkable several years back – hiring large workforces that work from remote locations. A reality in which the remote worker is not a value addition but a cog in the wheel, a central theme.
Startups now know how to stamp their class in this altered tech-hiring landscape. They’ve hit the road running, losing no time in hiring teams of remote developers as their core workforce. Those that are hiring remote resources at scale are the ones that’ll see their bottom lines grow.