How to Master Onboarding Remote Developers from LATAM (2021)

Onboarding your new developers is a mammoth task. HR managers not only have to get all the paperwork ready and grant access to key tools but also immerse new devs in the company culture. 

However, onboarding can be especially challenging for remote developers from LATAM. Making devs feel welcome and supported from a distance can be difficult unless the whole team is on board. At the same time, devs from LATAM may have different assumptions about work processes, which means over-communication is a must.

Nowadays, 18% of the workforce telecommutes full-time, which means onboarding remote employees will only become more common. And with LATAM churning out amazing development talent, onboarding new employees from this region is even more essential. To help HR managers succeed, we’ve put together best practices for onboarding remote developers from LATAM.

Top challenges for onboarding remote employees

HR managers are constantly adapting to new work trends and needs - and how to onboard remotely was a big one in 2020. Though your company may have created a top-notch remote onboarding process, challenges still remain to make it seamless for new devs. In 2021, common struggles that HR managers still face include:

  • Engaging and integrating the new dev: Remote onboarding should spark positive feelings and jumpstart work relationships. However, remote employees often feel isolated or lonely, instead of included in company culture. 
     
    • Getting managers and team members on board: It’s difficult to integrate a remote employee if your managers are too busy or unwilling. Train your teams on how to support onboarding, so that they recognize the importance of welcoming new members and making time for them.

  •  Avoiding the information dump: Putting all information into a Google doc for the new employee to read is not ideal. This can be tedious and overwhelming instead of helpful. HR managers can avoid information dumping by creating online onboarding workshops that require employee interaction.

  • Personalizing communication: Onboarding can sometimes feel like a generic, one-size-fits-all process, even though every employee is unique. A new dev might find certain onboarding activities useful, while another considers them micro-management. Try to personalize communication according to the remote employee’s needs.
  • Continuing remote onboarding past Week 1: Onboarding shouldn’t be just one week, but instead a months-long process. Otherwise, a new employee might not have all the resources or soon become confused or isolated. Make sure to plan for full integration across 3-6 months.

 Of course, these are just a handful of challenges. You may be dealing with other remote onboarding challenges at your tech company in addition to these.

Successful remote onboarding for South American devs

Overall, developers can be an idiosyncratic bunch - and South American devs are no exception. Often devs are self-learners and like finding their own way around new material. That’s why setting up self-paced remote onboarding can be a great fit for this learning style. 

Devs from any country may also have different corporate or cultural backgrounds, where collaboration and team-building weren’t always prioritized. Making new devs familiar and comfortable with your company’s culture, through a buddy system or dev-friendly hangouts (such as online trivia night) can make a difference. You may even consider handing over the mic to LATAM devs during a Culture Chat series. 

That said, South American developers highly value job security and may be more conservative than devs from other regions. For example, some LATAM employees may be reluctant to raise their own opinions out of respect and to avoid “rocking the boat.” During remote onboarding, it’s important to keep communication open so question-shy devs feel empowered. 

Finally, every LATAM remote developer is unique, with his/her own background, country, culture, and values. It’s important to personalize remote onboarding as much as possible to avoid isolating devs during the process. Here are some key steps for onboarding remote employees that will integrate them from day one:

  • A robust welcome pack: this may include fun stuff, as well as company policies, resources, and reference contacts.

  • Daily, weekly, monthly checklists: set up to-dos in your company’s management tool (Slack, Asana, etc.) with due dates, so the new dev has a clear sense of how to complete onboarding tasks.

    •  Self-paced remote onboarding: Creating interactive online workshops by topic can be an excellent way to onboard. For example, you could prepare a self-paced workshop about diversity, vacation time, etc.
    • Introductions company-wide through online channels: Don’t leave the new dev in the dark. Introduce him/her to the whole company on the main channels. Encourage others to leave comments too!

  •  Schedule video calls with their manager, team members, and buddy: Get these meetings on the calendar, so the new dev starts talking with team members ASAP.

  • Create an online hub for questions: This can encourage asking questions and make it easy to quickly respond.
  • Virtual team building: Integrate the new dev with happy hours or team games at least once a month.
  • Sharing key milestones for recognition: Use your company’s online channels to recognize new employees when they do a great job.
  • Get employee feedback: Check on your remote employees using an anonymous survey tool and make adjustments as needed.

Moreover, HR managers can really boost the remote onboarding process with extra planning. For example, onboarding new devs in groups is the best way to make them feel connected and part of a team. You might also consider treats, such as sending the new employee lunch delivery on Fridays or giving them employee swag to wear at home. Some startups even have silly competitions, such as meme wars, to get new employees feeling included in the greater company culture. 

Finding the best Latin American talent - and retaining it 

Latin America is a hotspot for developer talent. For this reason, the pool is quite competitive and top LATAM developers typically get wooed by several companies. As an HR manager, you’ll need a great remote onboarding and retention plan to keep this talent. 

To retain LATAM talent, you’ll want to focus on rewarding work ethic and creating advancement opportunities. For example, offering a bonus (whether money or vacation time) after completing a big project can really impress LATAM employees who aren’t used to this type of recognition. 

Since local companies may have a more rigid culture or rules, you may also attract employees by offering flexible hours, supporting creativity, and offering time for professional development (such as learning new coding languages). Generally speaking, this type of personal interest and investment in the developer’s career can go a long way. 

Finally, you can retain top LATAM talent at your tech company by hiring the right devs in the first place. Often, differences down the road occur because the hiring decision wasn’t quite ideal. To get the best developer talent in Latin America, you should start your search on Tecla. Sign up and find new leads by connecting directly to top remote developers from LATAM. Get in touch with us.

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