It's no surprise that remote team are on the rise. The COVID-19 pandemic opened up new avenues as people had to adapt to remote working in order to continue their operations. No wonder remote working is starting to become the new normal.
Global Workplace Analytics found that remote employees are 35-40% more productive than those who work in the office. Many companies have experienced great success with remote working. I'm sure you can see the benefits to your team, as well as how much it helps to increase productivity and scale more quickly.
One of the few industries that can adapt to remote working is the software engineering industry. It's also one of the fastest growing industries in all sectors across the world, with Gartner estimating that IT spending will grow by 5% this year.
In response to this increasing need, companies are starting to beef up their teams. Especially engineering departments. You can't just scale your company by hiring more people. You should also redefine your processes and build on the culture you already had. Expressing yourself satisfactorily is an important task as well.
Spend more time figuring out why you need to scale engineering teams, before you start scaling operations.
Why the need to scale your teams?
The Startup Genome Report revealed that 70% of startups try to scale before they have other fundamentals in place. Premature scaling is a major contributor in the failure of startups.
Teams become more efficient when they are smaller because it's easier to collaborate and pinpoint what each person is responsible for. However, as the business grows, the team is overburdened with work. They might not be able to deliver the assigned work in the stated time duration. In such cases, it can be useful to hire more people onto your desk and get your workload taken care of much faster.
This expansion will help you ship products or provide services to your clients on time. However, you need to define structured processes that offer planned changes in order to support this expansion.
One way you can identify when you need more engineers is when there's a gap in your skillset. This might mean certain projects require skills your team currently doesn't have or that certain projects need to take priority over others.
In this scenario, a skills gap analysis can be conducted to identify any skills that are missing. This can then be reviewed against the current employee's skill set to analyze if there are any gaps. Instead of trying to minimize the skills gap, you may need to consider expanding your team in order to bring in new know-how. Additional training or certifications may be able to help with the skills gap, but more employees will also mean a larger financial commitment.
When planning to expand the team, figure out why and what your company will benefit from the process. Understand your business's strategy and vision to assess whether you need more staff members.
Scaling a team is not as easy as it may seem and does come with its own set of challenges.
What are the challenges companies face in scaling up their teams?
Most companies find it hard to find the right candidates for their openings. Hiring teams have to search for skilled candidates. The recruitment industry is currently a candidate-driven market and there just aren’t enough skilled talent available.
Businesses are faced with a tough decision - to hire new staff members or retrain the ones they already have. But why let the best talent slip away when they could be trained?
According to Manpower Group, 69% of employers are already facing difficulty in filling their open jobs.
A few more challenges companies
- Cash burn
When a company expands its team, it has to bear the additional costs of salaries, infrastructure and software.
When you have more team members and invest in technology, you should be able to upgrade the quality and performance of your services.
To respond to a growing team, companies should reconsider their management hierarchy and reassign roles.
Five Steps guide to scale up your team
1. Talent Acquisition
When you have a remote team, it's essential that you have the right people on your team to do the job. Its important to identify whether they suit the company culture in terms of how they work and how committed they are.
Looking for the best engineers in your city? Implement these strategies to reach out to the best professionals. Promote your job openings by advertising on your company website, leading job boards, as well as social media networks. You can also reach out to candidates who are a good fit for the roles- even if they're not currently registered with you.
You can also collaborate with other professionals or host events; so you're never short on fresh material.
One of the best ways to find an excellent talent is to use an employee referral program. Offer tangible rewards, such as online subscriptions, food vouchers, gift cards or any other meaningful prize for every successful reference.
Remote working offers you to an advantage when it comes to hiring. As the location of their work is not a barrier, you can source global candidates for your roles. This will expose you to a larger talent pool and more diverse range of applicants.
A few tips to attract candidates
- When writing a job description, be sure to include the responsibilities and qualifications of each position.
- Focus your job advertisement on portraying the culture of your team.
- Tell the candidate what they can expect from the job. Benefits, compensation, vacation time and flexible work hours are all good things to mention.
- Motivating your employees to share their experiences working for you will encourage others to apply for jobs at your company.
2. Interviewing potential employees
The next step to successful team scaling is interviewing your candidates and assessing their skills. Interviewing them and evaluating their skills will help you make well-thought hiring decisions.
When you’re hiring, it doesn’t matter if a candidate has the highest education or work experience in the world. What really matters is that the candidate is a good cultural fit for your organization and will benefit from working with you and your team for years to come. Hiring people with a culture fit promotes a productive work environment and effective working relationships.
One of the top benefits of telecommuting is that it makes video interviews possible. Video interviews or virtual interviews can help streamline your recruitment process. You no longer have to go through the hassle of conducting phone screens or other rounds of candidate screenings. Plus, you'll always have a candidate available since they'll never miss the interview!
For example, when you are hiring a full-stack developer, it is important to check their coding skills and knowledge on different types of programming languages. Checking the code quality can also be another criterion for grading the candidate.
Let's take a closer look at some other key factors that will help you understand the skills and readiness of candidates who would be the ideal fit for your hiring needs.
1. It is good to consider both the technical & soft skills of a candidate before hiring them (or not). Technical skills are important, but so are their interpersonal skills - soft skills can impact how a hire will work with your team.
2. Find out more about the candidate's work experience. When you're hiring for a remote position, it's the work experience that matters, and candidates should expect to be working remotely from time-to-time. Have a good understanding of what their past responsibilities and roles were and match them as much as possible with the position you are looking to offer.
3. Educate yourself on your candidate’s educational background. More specifically, if you are hiring for an engineering role, there are certain qualifications and experience that will be essential to the role. In order to better understand the candidate’s education and accomplishments, take a look at their academic credentials
4. Does the candidate seem like a culture fit? The ideal candidate should be someone who not only contributes to your project but also fits well with the company culture. It’s important to find a potential employee that shares your company’s goals, values and personality - from their communication ability to career objectives
5. It's always a good idea to get a second opinion when making hires. Ask other members of the hiring team for feedback and try to make informed decisions. With the key pieces of information and unbiased opinions, it'll be easier to find the candidate that shares your company values.
3. Onboarding the new hire
Employer onboarding is part of building your team. A good process makes new hires feel welcome and provides a comprehensive picture of what their day-to-day will be like. It also gives them insight into the company culture.
Onboarding new employees is instrumental in introducing them with the team. It also has proven results on reducing employee turnover, according to the Brandon Hall Group's research. A properly planned onboarding experience can increase retention rates by up to 82%.
How to onboard new employees?
- In order to onboard your new employees, you will need to introduce them to your company and mention the necessary documentation that they will need. They can always access a pdf of the handbook in their inbox if it is not readily available.
- If you're passing the torch to a new hire, make sure they know what's expected of them! Share your username and passwords for other company accounts, as well as any relevant company policies or documents that may be helpful to your new employee.
- Introduce them to your team during a virtual meeting. Since they would be working remotely, you can schedule as little downtime as possible.
- It's important to convey expectations and the core responsibilities for a job to a new employee. The best way is through a tour of the projects the role entails.
- Ask your new employee to share their feedback about the onboarding process. Listen and use their suggestions to make improvements for future new hires.
4. Training your employees
Developing a strong team is essential to the success of your business. You can invest in your team's training and employee development by providing them with various learning opportunities. This will not only help them develop professionally, but also personally.
- This training focuses on team bonding to enhance positive relationships among the team members. The goal is to create a cohesive team that can work together effectively.
- Technical training helps your team to stay up-to-date with the latest technologies and trends. It is important for teams to continuously learn and evolve in order to be able to compete in the ever-changing marketplace.
- Soft skills training program is designed to help employees improve their interpersonal skills, including communication, time management, attention to detail, listening, and empathy. This training can help employees become more effective communicators, better time managers, and more attentive and understanding colleagues.
- Conflict resolution training helps your team identify and resolve workplace conflict situations. Through this training, team members learn how to identify problems and arrive at solutions together.
5. Using the right tools
There are a few key tools that are commonly used in order to manage remote teams effectively. Having access to these tools can help to ensure that your team is able to communicate and collaborate effectively, regardless of location.
Below are some of the most commonly used tools you will need for effective remote team management.
- Knowledge tools
An internal knowledge base can prove beneficial for your remote engineering team in regards to query resolution and collaboration. It can act as a central repository for creating, storing, and sharing information related to client projects, work policies, company information, training materials, and other files.
- Project management
Organizing and managing a complex project can be difficult, but with a project management tool or scrum tool, you can track your project's progress quickly and easily. These tools can help you keep track of new features, issues, and bugs, as well as improvements to your project.
- Development tools
Github is a widely used tool among developers for software version control. It is also a code hosting platform that helps remote engineering teams work together on projects, regardless of location.
- Communication tools
To promote successful remote team collaboration, it is key to have an effective communication platform that enables easy conversation organization and offers audio and video chat capabilities.
Every company begins small and then scales to what it is today. Success is attainable through growth; it is how you manage this business expansion that determines your eventual success. By recognizing the necessity and implementing a strategy, you can certainly scale your remote team successfully. Always being prepared and willing to change is crucial.