Augmenting teams through staff augmentation has become increasingly popular for companies who want to expand their teams with skilled talent while keeping costs low. However, integrating new team members can be a challenging process, especially when they are working remotely or located in a different country. In this blog post, we will define staff augmentation, and provide an overview of the key steps involved in the integration process to ensure that new team members can adapt quickly and start contributing to the team's success.
Staff augmentation definition
Staff or Team augmentation is a solution for companies that require additional resources for their teams. It involves hiring external professionals or teams to work alongside the existing staff. This solution provides flexibility and cost-effectiveness to organizations, as they can choose professionals or teams with specific skills and experience required for their projects.
The term "team augmentation" can also refer to cases where an entire team is hired to reinforce the in-house team. This approach allows businesses to maintain oversight and transparency while adding the necessary expertise and skills to accelerate progress. If you want to learn more about staff augmentation and why it could be the right choice for your business, check out this blog post.
Key Steps in the Integration Process of Augmented Team Members
The key to integrating new team members is to have a clear and well-defined process in place. The following are the key steps involved in integrating new team members:
Identify the needs of the team
Before starting the integration process, it is important to identify the team's needs. Determine the skills and expertise that the team lacks, and identify the qualities and characteristics that would be a good fit for the team. At this point, you can also identify current employees who would support the new hire as mentors, based on their personality, energy level, and knowledge about processes and company culture.
Choose the right team members
Identify the team's needs and select candidates who possess the required skills, experience, and qualities. Evaluate cultural fit carefully, ensuring that candidates share the same vision and values as the team.
The concept of Cultural Fit has been challenged recently, arguing that if cultural fit can be agains diversity and inclusion, but it depends largely on the culture fit definition aplied. When companies have clear values and principles, finding employes that share the same vision is esencial for team building.
For example, if a team values open communication, transparency, and collaboration, it would be important to look for candidates who also prioritize these values. This can be demonstrated through the candidate's past work experience, references, and responses during the interview process. By selecting candidates who align with the team's values and principles, they are more likely to fit in well with the team and contribute to its success.
Onboard the new team members properly
Effective onboarding is essential for a successful integration process. The onboarding process should start before the new hire's first day and should be tailored to their specific needs and experience. When working with any employee, in particular augmented team members, it is important to clarify and discuss practical issues such as their payment schedule, benefits, and local holidays. It is also crucial to communicate working hours and expected response times when collaborating with international teams.
The onboarding process should be interactive and engaging to help the new hire stay motivated and learn more quickly. The new hire should also be provided with the support they need to be successful, including a mentor, access to resources, and opportunities to ask questions.
Facilitate open communication
Open communication is crucial to integrating new team members, but it can be challenging, especially for remote software developers. Communication barriers such as time zone differences, language barriers, and cultural differences can hinder effective communication. It is essential to establish clear communication channels and protocols and make sure that the new team member is aware of them. Encourage the new team member to ask questions and provide feedback, and make sure that they have access to the necessary tools and resources to communicate effectively. Additionally, it's important to establish rapport and build trust to facilitate open communication, especially when working remotely.
Monitor performance and provide feedback
Regular feedback helps new team members to understand their strengths and weaknesses and make adjustments as needed. In addition, agile or Scrum methodologies emphasize the importance of continuous improvement, so providing feedback and encouraging team members to learn and grow is essential in these environments. It is also important to assess the new team member's ability to work effectively within the team's established processes and workflows and to provide guidance and support as needed to ensure successful integration.
During the onboarding process, it is recommended to have periodic check-ins to ensure that the new employee is comfortable and engaged. It's also important to provide feedback on the new hire's early contributions.
Encouraging new team members to work with others and contribute their ideas not only helps them feel like they are part of the team but also helps to improve the team's overall performance. In Agile, team members work closely together and continuously collaborate to achieve shared goals. Being adaptive to changes and providing frequent value delivery are also key principles of Agile that can help with the process of onboarding and team building. By fostering a culture of collaboration, adaptability, and continuous improvement, the team can work more efficiently, identify and address issues more quickly, and ultimately deliver higher-quality results. Therefore, it is important to ensure that the new team member is aware of the importance of teamwork, collaboration, and Agile principles in achieving the team's objectives.
Celebrating successes is an important part of the integration process. Recognize the new team member's contributions and celebrate their achievements. This will help to build morale and reinforce the team's sense of accomplishment.
The following are some tips for onboarding new team members effectively:
As mentioned before, the onboarding process should start before the new hire's first day. Provide the new hire with information about the team's goals and expectations, as well as any necessary training materials.
For a software development team member, the onboarding process should include providing them with access to the development environment, as well as any necessary software licenses and tools. The new hire should be introduced to the team's codebase and coding standards. The onboarding process should also include an overview of the team's development process and any relevant documentation. Finally, it is important to communicate the team's goals and expectations for the new hire, as well as any specific projects they will be working on.
The onboarding process should be tailored to the individual's needs and experience. Take the time to get to know the new team members and understand their strengths and weaknesses.
The onboarding process should be interactive and engaging. This will help the new hire stay motivated and learn more quickly. Use a variety of training methods, such as videos, quizzes, and hands-on exercises.
The onboarding process should provide the new hires with the support they need to be successful. This includes providing them with a mentor, access to resources, and opportunities to ask questions. Make sure that the new hire knows that they can ask for help if they need it.
A mentor can provide guidance and support to the new hire, helping them to navigate the complexities of the team's codebase, coding standards, and development processes. Mentors can also help new team members to develop their skills and knowledge, provide feedback on their performance, and offer career advice and opportunities.
Effective Onboarding Steps for remote employees
1. Stay in touch after the offer is made and share relevant information about the process. Also, be available to answer any concerns that the new employee may have. Provide clear information about their payment schedule, benefits, and local holidays. It is also crucial to communicate working hours and expected response times.
2. Manage paperwork in pre-onboarding: During pre-onboarding, it is important to manage paperwork to ensure a smooth onboarding process. This includes providing and reviewing contract documents, privacy agreements, and any other necessary legal documents. Collecting important information from new employees and making sure everything is in order before they start can help avoid delays and create a good impression.
3. New employees should be able to access the tools and systems they need to do their job from the start, including:
- Company email and messaging platforms
- Project management and collaboration tools, such as Trello or Asana
- Development environments and tools, such as IDEs or version control systems
- Access to necessary documentation and knowledge bases
- Security protocols and VPN access, if applicable
- Accounts and logins for any necessary software or services
Providing access to these tools and systems in advance can help new team members hit the ground running and avoid unnecessary delays in their onboarding process.
4. Assist employees in creating a healthy workspace. This can include providing ergonomic equipment or tips on how to create a comfortable and safe work environment. Some companies take the opportunity to send a welcome kit that reinforces the positive message of inclusion in the team.
5. Hold a 1:1 Kick-off Meeting:The 1:1 Kick-off Meeting is an important step in the onboarding process, and it is typically held by the new employee's direct manager. During this meeting, the manager should take the time to get to know the new team member and address any concerns they may have. The meeting should also be used to set clear goals for the onboarding process and establish expectations for the new employee's performance.
Overall, the 1:1 Kick-off Meeting is an opportunity to establish a positive relationship between the new team member and their manager, and to set the foundation for a successful onboarding process. By establishing clear goals and expectations, the manager can help the new employee feel supported and motivated, and ensure that they are equipped with the necessary resources to succeed in their new role.
6. Introducing New Employees to the Team: When introducing new remote employees to an international virtual team, extra effort is required to ensure effective communication and collaboration. One way to introduce new team members is to organize a virtual meet-and-greet with the team. This can be done through a video call or a group messaging platform. During the meeting, each team member can introduce themselves and share a little about their role and responsibilities, if possible. In larger companies, it is sufficient to introduce the direct team members to help the new employee get a sense of who they will be working with and what each team member's role is within the organization.
Encourage the new team member to ask questions and provide feedback, and make sure that they have access to the necessary tools and resources to communicate effectively. Additionally, it's important to establish rapport and build trust to facilitate open communication, especially when working remotely and across different cultures.
7. Pair new employees with a mentor: Mentorship is particularly important in software development, where new team members must navigate complex codebases, development processes, and coding standards. A mentor can provide guidance and support to the new hire, helping them to learn more quickly and avoid common pitfalls. They can also help new team members to develop their skills and knowledge, provide feedback on their performance, and offer career advice and opportunities. In addition, mentors can help new team members to integrate into the team's culture and establish relationships with their colleagues. Overall, mentorship is a valuable tool for ensuring the success of the onboarding process and the long-term success of the team.
8. Training: Providing access to workflow details and allowing time for orientation and training are crucial steps in the onboarding process. This helps new team members understand how their role fits into the broader company and feel more comfortable in their new environment. However, training and upskilling should not stop after the onboarding process. It is important to continue investing in the development of team members to improve their performance and contribute to the team's success.
Providing regular training sessions and opportunities for upskilling can help team members stay up-to-date with the latest technologies and best practices in their field. This not only benefits the team member's individual growth but also contributes to the overall success of the team and the organization. By investing in the development of team members, companies can create a culture of continuous learning and improvement, which can lead to higher job satisfaction, better employee retention rates, and ultimately, improved business performance.
9. Effective planning and follow-up: Establishing clear goals is key to ensuring effective integration of new team members. By setting specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) goals, both the manager and the new employee can stay on track and ensure that the onboarding process is progressing as planned. These goals should be aligned with the team's objectives and should be reviewed regularly to ensure that progress is being made and adjustments can be made as needed.
Coordinating a plan for the first 30-60-90 days with the employee's manager and following up on the agreed outcomes or KPIs can help ensure that the onboarding process is effective and that the new team member is integrating well into the team. During the onboarding process, it is important to keep following up with new employees and providing them with feedback. At the end of the first year, evaluate their performance, get feedback from them, and discuss their learning and development opportunities. This can help them feel valued and supported as they transition into their new role and give you a more accurate vision of their performance and integration with the team.
Team Augmentation with Nearshore Talent: Possibilities and Implications
Augmenting teams with talent in nearshore locations can provide numerous benefits, such as access to a wider pool of talent, time zone overlap, lower costs, and cultural compatibility. While there may be some challenges to consider, such as communication barriers, with careful planning and a well-executed strategy, organizations can reap the rewards of a more diverse and efficient team. Working with teams that have cultural compatibility can also be beneficial in the integration process.
Regardless of cultural compatibility, proper onboarding is crucial in ensuring the success of the integration process. By tailoring the onboarding process to the individual's needs and experience, being engaging and interactive, and providing the necessary support, organizations can ensure that new team members can adapt quickly and start contributing to the team's success.
The following figures provide some context for the importance of effective onboarding and the growth of the nearshore IT market:
- 86 percent of organizations with a strong onboarding process improve new hire retention by 82 percent and productivity by over 70 percent. (Brandon Hall Group)
- The Aberdeen survey showed that 83 percent of the highest-performing organizations began onboarding prior to the new hire’s first day on the job.
- 93 percent of businesses agree that onboarding can help new hires decide whether they want to stay or leave. (Zavvy)
- 17 percent of new hires leave their jobs within their first 90 days. (SHRM)
- The average cost of hiring a new employee is three to four times their position salary. (Society for Human Resource Management)
- New Employees with good onboarding are 18X more committed to their employer (Bamboo HR)
In conclusion, effective team augmentation is crucial for companies that want to expand their teams with skilled talent in a flexible way. By following the key steps outlined in this post, organizations can efficiently integrate new team members and improve their efficiency, productivity, and overall success.
If you are looking for a partner to augment your teams with talented South American developers, consider BetterWay Devs, an IT staffing agency that specializes in providing high-quality team augmentation services. We facilitate the onboarding process by managing all the pre-onboarding paperwork, ensuring flawless communication with the new team members, and supporting them in creating a healthy working environment.
BetterWay Devs Inbound Marketing Manager