Our bulletproof onboarding process

Recruiting at SOUTHWORKS Part 3: making remote onboarding bulletproof

Our team members’ first month at SOUTHWORKS is super important when it comes to setting the tone for the rest of their time with us.

We’ve talked before about how we let our teams perform their own people-related activities, but one thing that’s set in stone is what we call our bulletproof onboarding process, which we use to welcome new SOUTHIES and ensure that we get the best out them. What does it involve, and how does it help new recruits get settled in? Read on to find out.

As a true remote-first company, it’s not enough for our people to start operating remotely once they get into the meat and bones of their work – we need every single process to be remote, and that includes onboarding. During the recent pandemic, we became experts in international logistics 😆 – regardless of where in the world our staff were, we got really good at getting them the digital tools, physical hardware, and information they needed for their work without having to leave the comfort of their own homes.

Our bulletproof onboarding process, takes new SOUTHIES through several activities over the course of their first 30 days:

  • A team welcome where we re-introduce new members to the rest of their team – they’ve mostly already met them during the interview, when the team will have also talked them through the tasks and challenges involved in the project they’ll be working on, but we find it helpful to do this post-hire welcome to the team.
  • Training in information security, privacy, and getting rid of the unconscious biases we all have. Because all teams are responsible for selecting new members when they’re needed, they also receive hiring and interviewing training at this stage. We try to keep all training for new employees to no more than a couple of days.
  • Next, the new recruit is shown around by their team. Our leadership team will also reach out to them and explain the challenges we face as a company and discuss how we’ll equip their home office, both of which are very important to getting them settled in and familiar with what’s going on at SOUTHWORKS.
  • Then - this is the big one - as soon as they’re ready to get started, we ask the new hire’s teammates to find a small task that they can get started with right away, and from which they can then grow their role in the project over time. It’s vital that this is a worthwhile use of the customer’s time where the new team member can really feel like they’re contributing something of genuine value right from the start, and not just a non-critical task to keep them occupied just for the sake of it. It might sound ambitious, and perhaps a little scary for the individual, but we believe that giving them the chance to play an active part in their team’s success from day one, rather than keeping them waiting for months before they get to work on anything important, makes them feel like a valued team member and sets them up to achieve big things right from the off. And of course, we will give them all the supervision, coaching, and support they need throughout this process.
  • Finally, we’ll also let the new recruit know what they’ll be working on next once their current project comes to an end.

This bulletproof onboarding process is part of what enables us to scale up rapidly yet sustainably to meet our businesses growth demands, and to allow us to get going right away on solving our clients’ development challenges.

We’re hiring! If you like what you see here on our culture blog and you’re interested in joining our team, check out our open positions.