Management

Onboarding Software Developers
For Employers

Ten Tips to Make Onboarding Remote Software Developers a Success

Onboarding remote software developers is challenging. This blog shares ten tips to make your onboarding program successful even when working remotely!

More and more businesses have started realizing the benefits of remote work, including increased productivity, decreased employee turnover rate, and reduced absenteeism.  These benefits have made hiring remote software developers a significant preference.

However, the needs of remote working engineers are different from those of office workers, and this applies to their onboarding process as well.

Here are ten ways you can make your remote onboarding program successful:

  1. Maintain equal prioritization of software developers working in-office and remotely

    Onboarding remote and on-site employees together is a challenging task. Ensuring that all new software developers feel comfortable and sufficiently welcomed to participate and ask questions is essential.
    Create an inclusive environment where everyone can see the onboarding presentation and hear what the presenter and other participants say. Place microphones and cameras to cover the entire space to make sure that everyone can learn effectively.
  2. Eliminate Stress With a Structured Approach

    Provide the new hires with information to help them understand their role and how they can be successful. 
    • Give them a brief overview of the software development team’s goals and KPIs.
    • Outline your company’s appraisal process.
    • Talk about their potential career path. Let them know what resources you provide that can help them grow.
    • Have a conversation about how high-level decisions are made within the company.
  3. Host get-to-know-you sessions

    Onboarding is not only about sharing information about the company. It’s also about getting to know each other.
    During your onboarding program, you can conduct random breakout sessions to give your remote employees the chance to talk to their coworkers and build relationships.
  4. Make your onboarding process fun!

    Onboarding Remote Software Developers

    Onboarding Remote Software Developers a Success: Make it Fun


    A presentation format can become monotonous quickly; however, you can’t afford to let your software developers get distracted while you’re sharing important information.
    To ensure your new hires don’t burn out with too much information, you can make your onboarding program fun by gamifying a few sessions with trivia and more. 
  5. Encourage new hires to participate

    While providing information about your organization is essential, you also need to encourage software developers to ask questions. However, new hires are more guarded during this phase and may not feel very comfortable doing so.
    Hiring remote working software developers comes with the added challenge of being proactive and constantly encouraging them to participate. For example, you can set Q&A sessions where people can vocalize queries they may have had during the presentation.
  6. Play some music!

    It is a struggle to keep your energy up during hours of presentations. You can play some music during your session breaks to help your remote working employees feel refreshed. This way, they are ready to focus when the session starts again.
    At Turing, we encourage employees to add their favorite regional music to a Spotify playlist. This practice helps everyone realize the diversity of the team and feel more connected.
  7. Cater lunch

    New hires feel special when the company goes out of its way to show them how much they care. You can arrange to deliver lunch to your remote employees. If that seems like too much of a hassle, you can let them enjoy a free lunch of their choice and cover the cost.
    This small touch will encourage them to feel even more connected to the company during the second half of the presentation.
  8. Host happy hour

    Onboarding Remote Software Developers

    Onboarding Remote Software Developers: Happy Hour


    While the
    get-to-know sessions can help participants engage with their coworkers, you can’t host these sessions for long.
    You can arrange for an informal after-work meeting to conduct games, ice-breaker sessions, or simply get a cup of coffee and talk to your coworkers.
  9. Create an accessible resource library

    During the onboarding sessions, the information you share will be pretty extensive, especially for software developers unfamiliar with the company. As a result, it can be difficult for them to retain and recall everything necessary.
    You may find it helpful to create a resource library with vital information and documents and share it with your new hires. Such a library will make it easier for them to look for information when they need it without asking others about it.
  10. Make it memorable

    Regardless of where the software developers reside, you can always do something to make their onboarding program memorable. Sharing company swag like t-shirts and coffee mugs or putting together a ‘welcome to the company’ kit, including branded stickers, diaries, and more, can be an excellent way to get started.

Summary

Creating a welcoming remote employee onboarding experience is essential to ensure you set your software developers up for success from day one. 

Therefore, while hiring remote software developers, it’s vital to create a clearly defined onboarding process. This process helps them gain a better understanding of their responsibilities and makes them feel valued. 

If you’d like to know more about how you can make your onboarding process successful, you can read the complete article here

But before working on creating an excellent onboarding process, you need to find and hire skilled and experienced software developers. If you’re looking to hire remote developers for your team, Turing can help. 

Turing’s automated platform lets companies “push a button” to hire senior, pre-vetted remote software developers. Access a talent pool of the top 1% of  1M+ developers with strong technical and communication skills who work in your time zone. There’s no risk. 

Turing offers a free two-week trial period to make sure your developers deliver to your standards.

For more information, visit Turing’s Hire page.

Tell us the skills you need and we'll find the best developer for you in days, not weeks.

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By Oct 25, 2021
Engineering Managers, Test Your Team’s Diversity with This
For Employers

Engineering Managers, This Is How You Can Judge the Diversity of Your Team

Here are nine questions that engineering managers should ask to evaluate their team’s social culture and values.

Joel Spolsky published a blog post in 2000 titled The Joel Test specifically for engineering managers. It is a series of quick and easy ‘yes or no’ questions that measure the quality of software engineering teams.

Despite being 20 years old, The Joel Test is still relevant today to judge an engineering team’s technical mastery. However, William Hill, senior software engineer at New Relic, noticed the test’s lack of consideration towards a team’s social culture and values.

Therefore, William developed a new list of questions that engineering managers can use to evaluate the culture and inclusivity of the modern-day engineering teams. 

And of course, he aptly named it The Will Test.

The Will Test

The Will Test includes nine questions focusing on judging a company or team’s social culture and inclusivity. 

  1. Does the company have engineering managers or leaders from the minority community?
  2. Does the company provide access to resources for maintaining your mental health?
  3. Is there an established Code of Conduct?
  4. Is the organizational hierarchy clearly defined? 
  5. Is there a clearly defined path to promotion?
  6. Does the company invest in career growth? 
  7. Does the company make use of diverse recruiting channels?
  8. Is there a dedicated DE&I team?
  9. Is there a formal internal membership program?
  • Does the company have engineering managers or leaders from the minority community?
    In 2017 a study by Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting showed an underrepresentation of women and people of color in executive positions. According to the report, within 177 of the largest San Francisco Bay Area tech firms, the percentage of Black men and women in management was just 1.5 percent and 0.7 percent, respectively. Minority engineering leaders give other minorities the strength to believe they can succeed, too.
    Without minorities in positions of power, the organization’s effort to encourage diversity and inclusivity doesn’t fulfill its objective. 

  • Does the company provide access to resources for maintaining your mental health?
    In a fast-paced, high-pressure corporate world, burnout is a serious problem. Add in the stress the pandemic has brought on; burnout can significantly impact engineering teams. On top of this, minorities face another league of mental health issues like impostor syndrome and microaggressions. Engineering managers can help their team deal with these issues by ensuring access to the right mental health resources.

  • Is there an established Code of Conduct?
    Bullying and harassment can take different forms in today’s workplace.
    Engineering managers need to ensure that their best-performing engineers do not take undue advantage of their reputation and walk all over their coworkers. If they’re pushing their best work at the expense of others, that’s a red flag.

  • Another major red flag is employees making culturally insensitive or sexually suggestive or offensive comments or gestures without any fear of consequence. Regardless of size, it is crucial to have a well-written Code of Conduct that lays out the standards of professional conduct.
    William suggests implementing a Code of Conduct like Linux kernel developers to improve the team’s culture of inclusivity.

  • Is the organizational hierarchy clearly defined?
    While having a flat organizational structure isn’t bad, several prominent companies, including Buffer, Github, and Medium, tried this approach but gave it up.
    Establishing control without a structured hierarchy is difficult. A minority in engineering needs to know the different levels to understand how to execute certain activities. A flat organizational structure creates ambiguity, leading the minority to speculate about the lack of transparency within the decision-making process.

  • Is there a clearly defined path to promotion?
    Defining a path to promotion relates to the previous organizational hierarchy point. Hierarchies allow engineers to understand what they need to do to rise through the ranks. How you manage your promotions can make or break your company’s culture.
    And thus, having a clearly defined promotion process with set expectations helps minorities justify the outcome of their appraisal. 

  • Does the company invest in career growth?
    It’s not just about finding and hiring diverse talent; it’s also about retaining them. Unfortunately, minority engineers are usually at a disadvantage when it comes to office politics.
    In this scenario, engineers are more likely to stay with an organization when they feel like the company cares about their personal and professional growth. 

  • Does the organization make use of diverse recruiting channels?
    Focusing on schools with high academic and social prestige is not the only way to find talented engineers. You can take advantage of automated platforms like Turing to recruit engineers from underrepresented communities. According to William, annual tech conferences like NSBE, Afrotech, Grace Hopper, and Tapia can also be good places to find highly skilled engineers.

  • Is there a dedicated DE&I team?
    Having a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion team is essential for any organization. If you don’t have one, then promoting diversity and inclusivity within the company usually falls onto the minority engineers in your team.
    Given that this is not a part of their job and consideration of their effort is not part of the appraisal process, this increased responsibility simply adds to the workplace inequality.

  • Is there a formal internal membership program?
    A study by Heidrick & Struggles states that 30 percent of women and 32 percent of minorities found their mentoring relationship to be extremely important.
    A diversity-focused internal mentorship program addresses the issues faced by these groups. Furthermore, it focuses on creating equal opportunities for their growth.

Diversity has many different dimensions— age, race, gender, disabilities, and more, and so does inclusivity. Therefore it may be a challenge for engineering managers to measure the success of an inclusion or diversity program. While The Will Test isn’t perfect, it will give you a comprehensive understanding of where your company stands. In addition, you can adapt The WIll Test to address any underrepresented group.

If you’d like more information about The Will Test, you can read the complete article here.

Building a business that allows every engineer, regardless of their race, color, gender, or any other factor, to feel included and reach their potential should be an ultimate goal.

If you’re looking to find experienced software engineers from underrepresented communities to join your engineering team, Turing can help you. You can access a talent pool of the top 1% of 700K+ developers from all over the world. Additionally, with our two-week trial period, you can work with the developer to ensure they deliver to your standards. 

For more information, visit Turing’s Hire page.

Tell us the skills you need and we'll find the best developer for you in days, not weeks.

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By Oct 4, 2021
Facebook’s Former Engineering Manager on Knowledge Sharing
For Employers

Facebook’s Former Engineering Manager on Knowledge Sharing

These are the most effective knowledge-sharing methods for your engineering team, according to Balázs Balázs, ex-Engineering Manager at Facebook.

“Every software development team must engage in knowledge-sharing. It’s crucial when bringing engineers on board for your project or firm,” says Balázs Balázs, former engineering manager at Facebook. As a team leader, you must choose the most efficient ways to share knowledge. You should also ensure that the team has the necessary time, resources, and encouragement to participate in the knowledge-sharing process.

Here’s how you can do it: 

Pick the best knowledge-sharing methods

Balázs uses two principles to evaluate knowledge-sharing methods and ensure effective communication:

  • Prioritize active over passive
    Documentation is essential, but organizations often overvalue it, says Balázs. It’s a passive sharing method, and so it doesn’t encourage human interaction, he explains. On the contrary, multiple employees interacting with information is an active and dynamic approach to knowledge-sharing. And thus, Balázs prefers this method of active knowledge-sharing over plain old documentation.
  • Be pragmatic
    Balázs says that most people don’t consider the cost of documentation; they simply feel compelled to document everything. Knowledge-sharing comes at a price. So, consider your circumstances, weigh the cost and benefit, and choose your approaches carefully. There are no uniform principles here, Balázs adds. 

Encourage engineers to take part in knowledge-sharing

It is crucial to foster an environment that encourages employees to ask questions. Create a psychologically secure environment for your team where everyone is free to voice their opinions. Nobody should be ashamed to confess they don’t understand something. Such employee proactiveness will make your knowledge-sharing system less expensive.

Balázs also recommends promoting knowledge-sharing through rewards. For instance, Facebook Workplace facilitates knowledge-sharing through ‘likes’. This way, employees publicly commend members who invest a lot of effort in knowledge sharing. 

The second trick is to make it fun. For instance, Facebook employees get to travel across its global offices for free, depending on the business need. This is a great way to make knowledge-sharing enjoyable.

Incorporate documentation into your onboarding 

Onboarding provides an opportunity to integrate the new employee into the company. Balázs advises organizations to develop their onboarding process in a way that encourages new employees to interact with the rest of the team. 

He also advises new joiners to take part in the documentation process. Leaders can assign the task of updating documentation for an ongoing project to new employees, he explains. This practice encourages them to interact with other team members. And thus, it breaks down communication barriers and makes the new members get over their nerves. 

Your knowledge-sharing process determines the success of your organization. It’s critical to ensure that everyone in the firm lives and breathes it. Create an environment that’s highly open and transparent. If employees are always aware of what is going in the organization, minor inconveniences and bumps along the way will not impact their productivity and morale. 

Read the complete article here.

Are you struggling to vet software engineers/developers on your own? Turing can help. Turing’s automated platform lets companies “push a button” to hire senior, pre-vetted remote software developers. Access a talent pool of the top 1% of 700K+ developers with strong technical and communication skills who work in their time zone. There’s no risk. Turing offers a free two-week trial period to make sure your developers deliver to your standards.

For more information, visit Turing’s Hire page.

Tell us the skills you need and we'll find the best developer for you in days, not weeks.

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By Sep 30, 2021
Jean Hsu, VP of Engineering at Range, shares key traits that make up for great engineering managers and engineering leaders
For Employers

Tips for Engineering Managers from Range’s VP of Engineering

Jean Hsu, VP of Engineering at Range, shares key traits that make up for great engineering managers.

All great engineering managers are continuous learners, excellent communicators, and efficient problem solvers. But that’s not all. According to Jean Hsu, former engineer at Google and Medium and the current VP of engineering at Range, a good team leader is much more than that. 

In this blog, Hsu talks about some traits that make up for great engineering managers.

Key takeaways:

Working on the right things for maximum impact

Engineering managers must always prioritize the right tasks for the maximum benefit of the company. According to Hsu: “There are so many things one can work on in an early-stage startup. Thus, it is important to determine where you are most useful and where you want to grow while balancing other things. For example, when I joined Range, I spent the first few months dividing my time between IC work and codebase. However, soon, I realized this was not the best use of my time. Instead, I should be working on top of the funnel acquisition, leverage networks of engineering leaders, and bring them to Range.”

She further adds that there are few processes to support new ideas when you are on a leadership team. Generally, people do what they think is good for the company. “It is basically like a lot of different projects taken by individuals hoping to make an impact. So  I think it is necessary to navigate how you can serve the company as well as meet your targets in the proper manner,” Hsu explains. 

Comfortably dealing with uncertainty 

Engineering managers confidently navigate through uncertain times and motivate their teammates to face the unknowns. Hsu says: “During my time at Mia, I was in a situation where my team was not delivering, and while we were working to fix it, my initial thought was we are failing. But then I realized I am just in a phase where I am unsure what to do to turn this team around, but I will figure it out. Once I had reframed my thoughts, I went from feeling stressed to being excited to tackle this challenge.” 

And thus, she says that it is essential to look for situations that provide the right learning curve to deal with problems in the future.

Hsu further adds that engineering managers must realize there is a lot they can do and a lot they cannot do. Therefore, they must learn to live with uncertainty and treat it as a part of their life. “There will be things that are outside your control, but if you keep stressing over it, then it will be draining on you. So, figure out the things in your control and place faith in your abilities to overcome the challenges. Then, by formulating a strategy that can steer you and your team towards success, you will be showing that you are comfortable navigating uncertainty at any stage,” she concludes.

Preparing teammates for future  

Understanding what employees need not just from their current role but from their career itself is what engineering managers must do to prepare them well. Hsu elaborates further: “When I joined Range, I told all the engineers here that I like being at Range, but at some point, we will move on. [I also asked them that] when they do [move on] what will they be interested in working and how can we best utilize their time here. This practice helped me learn more about their interests and what they would be more inclined to work towards.”

She adds: “Some people want to take the more traditional management path like staff engineer etc. So, understanding the reason behind their decision and learning what interests them about this particular role can help you present the right opportunities.” 

Allowing employees flexible work-life balance

Engineering managers must always try to create a healthy work-life balance for their team. Hsu notes that with many companies changing their policies to have a remote-first culture in place, there will be a significant talent reshuffle. “Employees will prefer companies which have a proper structure in place to facilitate seamless office and remote work. Post-pandemic, a lot of people like me are looking for a healthy work-life balance [with] hybrid work options,” she adds. 

She further continues: “For engineers, since the work is suited for asynchronous back and forth, they can increase their productivity while working remotely. Engineering managers must understand the impact of the policies on the company and employee productivity and well-being. [It is] only then can they retain and attract top talent.”

High-performing engineering managers instill an action-oriented mindset into everything they do. They focus on doing the right things as well as getting things done. They know how to set a vision and convey expectations. But most importantly, as Hsu notes, great engineering managers actively listen to their team members’ concerns and address them by building a cohesive working environment. 

Read the complete article.

Are you an engineering leader looking to scale your team? Turing can help. Turing’s automated platform lets companies “push a button” to hire senior, pre-vetted remote software developers. Access a talent pool of the top 1% of 700K+ developers with strong technical and communication skills who work in their time zone. There’s no risk. Turing offers a free two-week trial period to ensure your developers deliver to your standards.

Tell us the skills you need and we'll find the best developer for you in days, not weeks.

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By Sep 29, 2021
Rob Zuber, CTO of CircleCI, highlights the most insightful metrics that engineering managers should track for improving their engineering team’s performance.
For Employers

Engineering Managers: Ensure That You Track These Three Metrics

Rob Zuber, CTO of CircleCI, highlights the most insightful metrics that engineering managers should track for improving their engineering team’s performance.

Engineering managers put a lot of stress on the wrong numbers while measuring growth, and this obsession can sink their business strategy. However, the metrics you use as benchmarks may not always impact your end goal as an organization. 

After leading software teams for around 20 years, Rob Zuber, CTO of CircleCI, says that the most insightful metrics fall into three categories:

  1. Velocity metrics
  2. Morale metrics
  3. Business metrics

Let’s take a look at these metrics in detail.

Velocity metrics

Engineering velocity metrics are powerful because they are result-based, measuring the speed and efficiency of your engineering processes. In addition, they evaluate the smoothness of your software delivery pipelines and are probably one of the most commonly tracked metrics.

Throughput

  • Engineering throughput is the rate at which a product or service is produced or processed. Moses Mendoza, former Head of Engineering at Zapproved, focuses primarily on measuring the throughput of his team to understand what’s holding them back. 
  • By periodically tracking the team’s throughput and comparing values, engineering managers can make data-driven decisions to manage their team’s work structure.

Lead time

  • Lead time refers to the time between the initiation and completion of a section in a process. Issues related to communication, tooling, or even pipeline quality can negatively affect the lead time.
  • And thus, measuring lead time can help engineering managers identify the friction-causing pain points in their process. 

Sprint velocity 

  • To reach your company targets, you need to understand how much work your team can get done in a sprint without compromising quality. 
  • Tom Forlini, CTO at Livestorm, says there are three smaller metrics within sprint velocity that engineering managers should take note of: 
  1. The number of issues done vs. planned: This metric represents the number of issues assigned at the beginning, and the total completed estimates by the end of a sprint.
  2. The number of issues against story points: Story points don’t have a specific unit of their own. They are used when engineering managers don’t want to complicate things by using time as a unit of measurement. With this metric, you can assign a point of value for each story to ascertain the difficulty level related to a situation. For example, this difficulty could relate to aspects like complexity, effort, and the risk involved. 
  3. Percentage of issues distributed depending on the type: While issues like code rewriting for a new feature and bug detection can count as two individual issues, one issue may take longer to resolve than the other. Therefore, it’s crucial to maintain a balance between different types of issues.

These metrics will allow you to evaluate and estimate team productivity and use your insights to plan your team’s workload.

Morale metrics

Morale metrics give engineering managers a clear indication of the employees’ feelings towards the company and its management.

Unlike velocity metrics, morale metrics are not tangible. Unfortunately, that is probably why most engineering managers underestimate them.

It’s no secret that engineers who feel happy with their jobs are more likely to stay with the organization. Therefore, morale metrics are an essential factor in monitoring employee retention. Mendoza says that engineering managers should measure morale by having direct conversations with employees, conducting surveys, and asking team leaders to have honest one-on-one discussions to understand how their team members felt. 

Business metrics

Every area of business has specific KPIs that need to be tracked, monitored, and analyzed. These metrics help the engineers in your team understand how their work is helping the organization move towards its goals.

And thus, tracking real-time business metrics is essential.

Here’s how you can get the most out of these metrics:

  1. Reviewing metrics at regular intervals will help your team internalize them, ensuring that team’s efforts align with company goals.
  2. Don’t overwhelm yourself by trying to track too many metrics at once. Instead, start small and focus on a handful of metrics that matter and scale over time.
  3. Try to understand how different metrics work together instead of just targeting individual metrics. For example, understanding how your engineering metrics impact your business metrics will help you see the bigger picture.

Engineering managers may feel like there are several metrics that are essential for their engineering team’s productivity. However, velocity, morale, and business metrics are the most important as they help make data-driven decisions, evaluate team performance, and enhance overall business strategy. 

You can find the full article here.

While metrics can help improve your software team’s productivity, nothing can get you better results than hiring skilled and experienced developers. If you’re looking to recruit and retain capable and experienced remote software engineers who are adept in technical and soft skills, Turing can help. 

Turing’s automated platform lets companies “push a button” to hire senior, pre-vetted remote software developers. Access a talent pool of the top 1% of 700K+ developers who work in your time zone. There’s no risk. Turing offers a free two-week trial period to ensure your developers deliver to your standards.

For more information, visit Turing’s Hire page.

Tell us the skills you need and we'll find the best developer for you in days, not weeks.

Hire Developers

By Sep 28, 2021
Four Strategies That Helped Facebook Navigate Organizational Change Post-pandemic
For Employers

Four Strategies That Helped Facebook Navigate Organizational Change Post-pandemic

Inspirational leaders from Facebook share key insights about navigating organizational change post-pandemic

Growing organizations need inspirational leaders to steer them towards success post-pandemic. According to Facebook’s engineering leaders, flexible work hours, greater empathy, and communication can help organizations guide their teams through this phase. 

This post dives into the key strategies that helped Facebook cope with organizational change amidst the pandemic.

Key takeaways:

Embrace empathy and personalized communication 

Leaders must be more empathetic towards their team members to build a sustainable work culture and ensure high productivity. 

According to Mudit Goel, Director of Engineering for Real-Time Communications (RTC), everybody has a different situation at their home which we must not forget. “I’ve seen kids pop into the middle of a meeting to hug their parents. I’ve seen fire alarms come through, and I’ve seen a person I was talking with attacked by fire ants! We all have to find ways to work with others’ constraints,” he explains.

Jerome Pesenti, VP of AI, agrees: “As leaders, we need to show a lot of empathy for what people are going through and allow everybody to have as much of a normal life as possible, given the circumstances. Being mindful of what teams are experiencing is the key to staying calm, offering guidance, and showing support.”

Lead by example, and don’t hesitate to reach out for help

Jerome further adds that it is essential for leaders to live by example. “Many leaders on my team and across the company have shown that they need to adjust their regular schedule. We need people to find balance in a new and sustainable way. Find what works for you and makes you most productive,” he shares.

Surupa Biswas, an Engineer Director of Facebook’s Developer Infrastructure Group, agrees with Jerome. She says it has been quite a revelation to see people accept help from all corners of the company, and she too has taken to it. Biswas adds: “Facebook has such a big company growing on all fronts; still, all of us here feel like we are a part of a big team working together.”

Fierce prioritization in the face of uncertainty

Prioritizing relevant work and linking it to a core mission can help teams stay motivated. Focusing on business goals for organizational change will not be enough to help teams adapt. Leaders should balance both—empathy and inspiration. 

Ning Li, VP of Engineering of Facebook Apps, says while it is essential to address new challenges, leaders focus on what is critical in the moment. According to her, it is okay to cancel certain projects as long as you focus on what’s relevant. 

Li elaborates further: “For example, our team’s pivot to support small businesses is crucial right now. We’ve reprioritized our work, so our services run well for the businesses that need them. This stays true to Facebook’s mission.”

Share and utilize productivity insights

Sharing and utilizing productivity insights helps employees who are starting in an environment that is new to them. Engineering leaders should also test and sharing productivity hacks alongside their teams.

Goel also shares how leaders can learn from their teams. “Many people are facing similar challenges, and we’re all learning from each other. We tell each other about the different things we’re trying while working from home, and we talk about which one’s work. We also discuss the specific problems we’re facing and share how we’re overcoming them,” he explains. 

For Biswas, creating a new schedule has been very helpful. “I try to have all of my critical meetings between 8:00 am and noon,” she adds. That way, she has more time throughout the day for her personal activities. 

Not just Facebook but organizations worldwide are experimenting with novel management practices to adapt to a distributed workforce. As more and more organizations shift to remote work culture, leaders need to develop new ways of empowering their team members. Most importantly, they need to understand that the future of work requires a flexible, high trust, inclusive and compassionate culture.

Read the complete article.

Are you struggling to recruit skilled software developers since the pandemic? Turing can help. Turing’s automated platform lets companies “push a button” to hire senior, pre-vetted remote software developers. Access a talent pool of the top 1% of 700K+ developers with strong technical and communication skills who work in their time zone. There’s no risk. Turing offers a free two-week trial period to ensure your developers deliver to your standards.

For more information, visit Turing’s Hire page.

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Tell us the skills you need and we'll find the best developer for you in days, not weeks.

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By Sep 6, 2021
Best Strategies to Reduce Unhealthy Employee Attrition
For Employers

Greenhouse CTO Shares How to Reduce Unhealthy Employee Attrition

According to Boufford, organizations shouldn’t aim for zero regrettable employee attrition but implement strategies to reduce the unhealthy turnover rate.

A high employee retention rate has many tangible benefits, including an experienced workforce, lower recruitment and training costs, etc. However, zero regrettable attrition should not be an organization’s only goal. According to Mike Boufford, CTO of Greenhouse, analyzing the reasons behind healthy and unhealthy turnover is more important than aiming for zero regrettable attrition.

In a recent blog post, Boufford shares three strategies designed to reduce regrettable employee turnover:

Foster a culture of open communication and respect 

Lack of proper communication is one of the prominent reasons why employees quit their jobs. Therefore, you must cultivate a culture of openness by discussing the company values with your employees. Open up conversations about the organization’s compensation philosophy with them. This way, the employees will feel a strong sense of belonging in their organization.

In addition to this, studies affirm that employees would stay at a company longer if it invested in their careers. And thus, providing learning opportunities can show your employees that the company values their personal growth. This encourages them to remain committed to the organization.

It is equally important to build a culture of respect in the workspace; work proactively to show that bad behavior is not tolerated in the organization, according to Boufford.

Replace ‘regrettable’ with ‘healthy’

When you focus on the regrettable attribution metric, you are more concerned about the number of people leaving rather than the reason why they are leaving, Boufford explains. Regrettable attrition is a poor proxy for gauging your employees’ satisfaction and loyalty. It obscures workplace issues that need your attention, he adds.

“There are healthy and unhealthy reasons for turnover — that’s where our focus should be, instead of simply on deciding whether or not the company mourns their departure,” says Boufford. He shares a few pointers to encourage a healthy turnover. Specifically: 

  • Make it clear to your employees that it’s okay to consider other opportunities for their careers. 

  • Show them that you are genuinely committed to helping them achieve their career goals. 

  • Talk about your own ambitions and, in turn, encourage them to be vocal about their future plans. 

  • Help them identify and examine new opportunities.

Most importantly, handle resignations with respect and grace. Ensure you part on good terms.

Develop a framework to analyze the turnover

There are several reasons why employees may consider quitting, according to Boufford. The CTO also adds that a detailed framework that analyses the causes of employee turnover can help you take the necessary measures to reduce it.

He shares a sample framework to identify a few healthy and unhealthy causes of turnover:

Healthy Causes:

  1. They’ve found a new passion and need to devote their time to pursue it.
  2. They’ve found a better opportunity to advance their career.
  3. They want to do something on their own.

Unhealthy Causes:

  1. They resign to join a competitor. 
  2. They feel like they were mistreated or have issues with the team dynamics.
  3. They don’t feel like they’re learning anything new.

Strong employee retention has significant benefits, but it pales in comparison to the advantages of fostering healthy company culture, according to Boufford. A company with solid values assures that people stick around, not because they haven’t found a better opportunity, but because they want to. And thus, if you take steps to cultivate healthy behavior, a high employee retention rate will be just one of the many benefits your organization sees.

Read the complete article. 

Are you struggling to recruit and retain skilled and experienced remote software engineers who are adept in technical and soft skills? Turing can help. Turing’s automated platform lets companies “push a button” to hire senior, pre-vetted remote software developers. Access a talent pool of the top 1% of 700K+ developers who work in your time zone. There’s no risk. Turing offers a free two-week trial period to ensure your developers deliver to your standards.

For more information, visit Turing’s Hire page.

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By Sep 4, 2021
Amazon Leadership Principles for Building an Invention Machine
For Employers

Amazon’s Success Formula for Building an Invention Machine

Amazon explains how it drives invention through the following leadership principles: single-threaded leadership, working backward, and uniform mechanisms.

Amazon’s success story and customer-centric approach are well known.  Colin Bryar, former Amazon VP, and Bill Carr, ex-Amazon VP of digital media, dive deeper into the pillars of Amazon’s success in their book, ‘Working Backwards.’ The book reveals that the e-commerce giant’s success cannot be credited to a single practice but to the system that Jeff Bezos and the leadership team have created along the way. 

Let’s take a look at key takeaways: 

Innovation takes time

If you want to build a product that is not your core business, you cannot just brainstorm a quick idea and put it out for the public. For example, AWS grossed $10billion in just four years, but it took around 18 months before engineers started working on codes. According to Carr: “More so than most companies, Amazon thinks about creating value for customers, focusing specifically on how they can create unique and distinct products.”

Colin adds: “Moving fast isn’t about moving quickly, throwing stuff over the fence, or launching it in an app to see how it sticks. Instead, stopping to think about the value you’re trying to create for the customer and the problem you’re trying to solve is essential, especially when you’re moving into a brand-new area.” 

If you are building a company or as Bryar likes to call it, the invention machine, you need to analyze what your customer needs and if your product will be of value to them. 

Focus on what customers want and not what you can provide

Most business schools teach how to build a business around your skillset. But Amazon takes a different approach.

The organization had $5 billion in revenue back in 2004. Despite the massive figure, Bezos invested in digital media, seeing iPods’ growing popularity. In addition to this, he pulled Carr and his boss, Steve Kessel, off the physical media business and instructed them to focus on digital media. 

This management decision led to the birth of the Kindle. The device was not outsourced but built in-house. The device solved a critical problem: easy access to e-books. It took three years for Kindle to launch, but over time, Kindle became a go-to device for book readers with a collection of more than a million books.

Single-threaded leadership

Amazon believes in being stubborn on the mission but flexible on the details. The company has an approach of single-threaded leadership. The system suggests that a person responsible for one product should not have to worry about anything else. 

One example of this approach in action is Amazon Prime. Jeff Wilke, former CEO, Amazon, made one of his strongest VPs step down from a huge role in operations to focus solely on Prime. After this change, the whole team was in place, the team finalized the product, and launched the program in just a matter of months. 

Start from the end

Usually, companies brainstorm on an idea, make mockups, test the products, and launch it to the public. This process can have two outcomes: The product can be a huge success or a dud failure. 

Amazon believes in the building by working backward. Rather than spending time conceptualizing a product, it starts with the customer. The team drafts a series of press releases, conducts surveys, evaluates the responses, and builds the product around the answers. Then, they create a roadmap and assign tasks accordingly. 

Similarly, Amazon emphasizes spotting the potential hurdles earlier in the development process. Bryar says that it’s much cheaper to address a set of questions upfront than to counter the issues at the production stage. 

He lists down a few questions that leaders should ask themselves before starting on a new product: 

  • How well can the product scale?
  • What are the key areas which can cause the failure of this product?
  • What amount of failure is acceptable?
  • Is the product reliable?

These questions can help leaders understand what can hamper the growth of their product and what can help it succeed. 

Intentions don’t work, mechanisms do

Bryar reveals: “When we ran into an issue or a problem, Bezos would always ask, ‘Do we have a mechanism in place, so it doesn’t happen again?” And hence, Amazon builds mechanisms to overcome challenges. It uses the ‘5 Whys’ method to find the root cause of the problem, just like Toyota. 

According to the method, it usually takes five ‘Whys’ to reach the root cause of an issue. Then, when a counter-measure becomes apparent, you follow it through to prevent the issue from recurring. Finally, leaders can go a step further using a sixth, seventh, or even eighth ‘why’ if the problem is too complex. 

Another mechanism that the organization borrowed from Toyota is the ‘Andon Cord.’ This method consists of a pull cord that workers can activate to stop the production and warn management in case of a significant issue. Similarly, if multiple customers face the same problem with the same product, Amazon pulls the Andon Cord on the product until they fix the problem. 

In addition to this, Amazon believes in measuring the metrics that matter. To boost output, the organization closely monitors customer satisfaction, average delivery time, number of orders, new items in stock, etc. 

The e-commerce giant has launched various products since its inception, all of them highly successful. Leaders often look at the bigger picture when growing a company. However, the executives at Amazon prefer diving deep into the details of the business. As Bryar says, “Deep diving is not micromanaging – it’s staying on the top of the details of your business.” And thus, Amazon keeps its horizontal array of businesses afloat using its own set of carefully curated strategies. 

Read the complete article. 

Excellent engineers are intrinsic to incredible inventions. Are you looking to hire skilled software developers to scale your team? Try Turing. Turing is an automated platform that lets companies “push a button” to hire senior, pre-vetted remote software developers. Firms can hire from a talent pool of 700K+ developers with strong technical and communication skills who work in their time zone.

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By Sep 3, 2021
Google's Project Oxygen shared five traits intrinsic to engineering management decision-making, team collaboration, great technical skills, result-orientedness, etc.
For Employers

Want To Become a Great Engineering Manager? Here’s How Googlers Do It!

Google’s Project Oxygen shared five traits intrinsic to engineering management: decision-making, team collaboration, great technical skills, result-orientedness, etc.

A few years ago, Google came up with a hypothesis that managers add nothing but an extra layer of bureaucracy to its system. The organization tried to prove the same with Project Oxygen. Quite contrary to the expectations, the analysis revealed that managers were intrinsic to Google’s success. 

Based on these findings, the tech giant identified five essential characteristics that make up for a great manager:

They are good at coaching and decision making

The command and control style of leadership is no longer effective. The most efficient managers act and think like coaches. They don’t solve problems on the spot but use them as examples to enhance their team’s problem-solving skills. Good managers know that they’re facilitators and not problem-fixers. They consistently share their knowledge with the team members so they can grow professionally and develop leadership skills. 

The absence of solid decision-making can paralyze an organization. And thus, great managers are excellent at making decisions and executing plans. They weigh their options carefully, but once they come to a decision, they stand behind it diligently.

Don’t micromanage. Do create an inclusive environment

Great managers do not micromanage employees but empower them to take control of their projects. Such empowerment gives employees the freedom to explore and learn from their experiences. Research shows that empowered employees have higher job satisfaction than others. Moreover, managers who empower others are seen as more influential and inspiring by their subordinates.

All employees want to feel a part of the broader team mission. And thus, high-performing managers strive to create an inclusive environment where anyone can ask a question, experiment, and propose a new idea. Such managers promote team cohesion through empathy, and they exhibit genuine concern for their team members. They are actively engaged in their employees’ success and happiness at work

The best managers are good at communication and collaboration

Effective communication is intrinsic to high-performance management. Often, managers lose sight of this and fall prey to a top-down approach. Great managers don’t just give directives; they communicate performance expectations to employees with utmost clarity. This way, every team member knows their roles and goals in the organization. Beyond this, great managers listen to their team, accept feedback, and implement it wherever possible. 

In a remote business world, collaboration skills are a top priority. Lack of collaboration can hamper a team’s productivity. Great managers know that their team is not an independent unit, and thus, they always find ways to collaborate across teams to enhance the overall output. 

They are productive, results-oriented, and have a clear vision

Great managers make productivity a priority—they are efficient delegators and contributors. They consistently measure results and keep the processes to a minimum by equipping employees with productivity-enhancing tools.

Efficient managers have a clear vision for the organization. They have clarity on the goals and objectives required to get there. Most importantly, such managers include employees in the strategy and vision-building process instead of imposing it on them. As a result, these team leaders foster commitment instead of compliance and lead the team towards a shared vision of success. 

The best managers have critical technical skills and promote career development

Managers increase their credibility when they practice what they preach. As a result, Google believes that great managers have expertise in the same technical skills their employees must possess. This way, they can guide them through tasks and remove roadblocks. 

Lastly, the best managers care about their employees’ careers and growth as much as they care about their own. They provide consistent, constructive feedback to their team members to help them achieve personal and organizational goals. They contribute in ways that help employees thrive in the organization.

Great managers bring out the best in their team members. But being a great manager is so much more than just managing and delegating tasks—it’s a continuous learning process. It is about mobilizing employees, identifying and developing their skills, and channeling them to meet organizational goals.  Most importantly, becoming a great manager is about becoming a great leader and driving other employees towards excellence.

Read the complete article.

Are you struggling to hire skilled and experienced remote software engineers who are adept in technical and soft skills? Turing can help. Turing’s automated platform lets companies “push a button” to hire senior, pre-vetted remote software developers. Access a talent pool of the top 1% of 700K+ developers with strong technical and communication skills who work in your time zone. There’s no risk. Turing offers a free two-week trial period to ensure your developers deliver to your standards.

For more information, visit Turing’s Hire page.

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By Aug 26, 2021
Hiring Managers Should Know This Before Hiring Top Talent
For Employers

The Key to This Twitter Manager’s Interviewing Approach? Clearly Defined Rubrics!

A set of clearly defined rubrics can make the hiring process much more consistent for hiring managers. Twitter’s Software Engineering Manager reveals how.

As a hiring manager, one should have a set of rubrics for the interview process, says Mallika Rao, Software Engineering Manager at Twitter. A well-structured set can help you to hire great talent. In the absence of defined rubrics, people default to their own criteria to assess candidates.

Rao goes further by elaborating her approach to hiring:  

Clear rubrics make the hiring process more uniform

Rao believes that well-defined rubrics make the hiring process consistent. “If you have the rubrics and the call structure in place, and you know how you’re going to sell the vision, goals, or inflection points in the product, you’ll be able to get a lot more out of that call,” she explains.

Rao also says that candidates should have a good idea of the team before they go on-site. “Leaders and hiring managers,” she says, “should provide candidates with relevant information and get them excited about the team.” 

Managers should be mindful of the levels they’re hiring for

For example, software engineering has various levels, software engineer 1, senior software engineer, etc. Leaders need to tune their questions for each of these levels carefully. Before the interview, they should mull over points like: Do they have a variety of questions for different roles? How do they level them? How do they write reviews? 

Setting the correct expectations and calibrating the panel that can evaluate candidates for each level is equally important. “If the company is in a position to think about it, topgrading can be a good idea,” Rao adds. Topgrading is a 12-step hiring process designed to identify top talent from a pool of candidates for a particular position, even before hiring managers have had a chance to see them in action. Unlike standard behavioral interviews, topgrading helps make informed and evidence-based recruiting decisions rather than solely basing them on job applications. 

As a leader, you must develop an interview process that gives you strong signals about the candidate. Then, once you have the cues, make your decisions using the rubric. “It goes a long way in having quick huddles to decide with the interview team if it’s a hire or a no-hire. It really helps the candidate and the team,” Rao explains.

At times, it is okay to override decisions

In an effort not to upset others, leaders might avoid tough decisions. Unfortunately, these delays do more damage than whatever fallout leaders are trying to avoid. 

On a similar note, Rao says that it’s okay for managers to override decisions. Even when the team says ‘no’ democratically, the manager might have good reasons to go ahead and close the hire; they might know something the team does not. However, managers need to keep in mind that they have limited matchsticks to burn. Their decisions can impact the team’s trust. And so, they need to be conscious of how they’re making decisions and keep the process as organized as possible. 

Managers must understand that hiring is not a general solution. Depending on the organization or vertical they are hiring for, they need to employ different hiring strategies. Though being mindful, flexible, and unbiased help, managers must be clear about what they’re looking for in a candidate. In addition, leaders should know the expectations of both the candidate and the organization well before making any hiring decision. 

Read the complete article.

Are you struggling to hire skilled and experienced remote software engineers? Turing can help. Turing’s automated platform lets companies “push a button” to hire senior, pre-vetted remote software developers. Access a talent pool of the top 1% of 700K+ developers with strong technical and communication skills who work in their time zone. There’s no risk. Turing offers a free two-week trial period to make certain your developers deliver to your standards.

For more information, visit Turing’s Hire page.

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By Aug 24, 2021
Software engineering companies work culture
For Employers

Netflix, Facebook, GitLab, Basecamp, and Buffer Swear By These Workplace Values

Freedom and transparency lead to greater employee engagement in software engineering teams. Tech companies have molded their workplace according to these values.

A good work culture gives equal growth opportunity and voice to every employee. Daniel H. Pink, a renowned author, who has penned several books on workplace culture, says that employees are happier and more productive when they have autonomy, mastery, and purpose in their work. Successful tech companies across the globe have modeled their culture, keeping these principles in mind.

Let’s take a look at five such companies: 

Netflix: freedom and responsibility go hand-in-hand

Netflix has a unique engineering culture where every developer is accountable for what they write— they run their program and fix issues if any. As a company, Netflix is known for the freedom it gives its employees.

In addition to this, the online streaming platform has no policies on vacations or clothing. Employees take as much leave as they want; the company doesn’t keep track at all. 

Netflix hires people based upon nine values: Judgement, communication, impact, curiosity, innovation, courage, passion, honesty, and selflessness. It believes that when responsible people get freedom, they thrive on it, supporting a culture of creativity and self-discipline. 

GitLab: praise in public, criticize in private

GitLab follows a ‘dogfooding’ process. The employees at the company use their products to see whether they’re useful in real-life situations. What’s more, the company doesn’t overlook boring ideas when they come to the table. On the contrary, it cultivates boring ideas because it believes they result in easy maintenance. 

In addition to this, GitLab envisions a workplace where caring for others is a priority. As a result, the remote-first organization ensures that all employees share positive feedback publicly and relay negative feedback in the smallest setting possible. GitLab also believes in creating a culture of diversity, inclusion, and belonging where everyone can thrive. 

Facebook: adapt and improvise

Facebook believes in ‘releasing fast, failing fast, and learning fast.’ So, taking inspiration from Mao Zedong, the social media giant created a ‘Little Red Book’ that contains the core values that drive the company. For example, one page from the book reads: “If we don’t create a thing that kills Facebook, someone will.” And thus, the California-based company motivates its employees to be a part of their fast work culture, knowing that greatness and comfort cannot coexist.  

Another page from the book reads: “There is no point of having a 5-year plan in this industry. With each step forward, the landscape you’re walking in changes.” Subsequently, the organization believes in creating and working towards 6-month plans based on its vision for the next 30 years. 

Buffer: transparency is the key

Buffer is on a mission to thrive through transparency. All the insights related to revenue, salaries, code, etc., are open to the public on Buffer’s transparency page. One can also look at how its employees’ wages are calculated and give feedback for the same. Buffer even reveals how it spends its earnings. The company states that for every 10$ dollars you pay, just $0.46 is the actual profit. 

Apart from this, the organization is keen on celebrating diversity. It maintains a diversity dashboard that lays out all its employees according to their gender, ethnicity, language preferences, and much more.

In addition to these values, Buffer promotes positivity and self-improvement and encourages its employees to work smarter and not harder. 

Basecamp: work-life balance is essential

Basecamp bases its core values on excellence, experimentation, honesty, and kindness. The organization has less than 50 employees to reduce complexity and promote efficiency. In addition, it nurtures a culture of charity and encourages its employees to give back to the world.

One of the organization’s areas of focus is employee happiness and health. Supporting this concept, Basecamp has summer hours from May 1 to August 31, during which employees observe a 4-day work week from Monday till Thursday only. The company also provides a monthly fitness stipend, massage allowance, and a community-supported agriculture allowance encouraging employees to buy local produce. Similarly, it encourages its employees to have a maximum of 40-hours of work per week and 8-hours of sleep a night.

A strong work culture ensures that good talent is appreciated and retained in the workplace. Freedom, responsibility, transparency, employee well-being, and giving back are some of the significant pillars of the work cultures of some successful companies across the world. Taking inspiration from these values, organizations can build a culture that promotes organizational and employee growth. 

Read the complete article.

Are you looking to hire skilled, pre-vetted remote developers that will align with your work culture seamlessly? Turing can help. Turing’s automated platform lets companies “push a button” to hire senior, pre-vetted remote software developers. Firms can hire from a talent pool of top 1% of 700K+ developers with strong technical and communication skills who work in their time zone.

For more information, visit Turing’s Hire page.

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By Aug 23, 2021
Creating personal branding is necessary for individuals as well as companies
For Employers

Here’s Why Tech Companies Should Not Ignore Personal Branding

Personal branding helps engineering companies establish themselves as thought leaders in the field, create a loyal audience base, and build a solid network.

Do you fear that creating a personal brand as an employee will affect your job? Or are you an employer who doesn’t want employees to build their brand because it might not align with the company’s culture? This post will help you address these concerns. 

Anjuan Simmon, an engineering leader, and public speaker has created a guide on why and how organizations should incorporate personal branding into their culture. 

Here are the key takeaways:

Show your work and scale your brainpower

A quote from Simmons’ Twitter thread reads: “One reason I started speaking at tech conferences is to “show my work” and try to portray the thoughtfulness and deep understanding I have about working in software development.” The public speaker emphasizes that this way, you can present your skills in front of a larger audience and enhance your communication skills in the process. 

Simmon also states that it’s essential to create a backup brain that can act as an automatic responder for queries that come your way. In his case, the backup brain is his blog. People can learn about his work and areas of expertise through his blogs. 

Don’t miss free training and create a more comprehensive recruiting network

Simmons says that when you sign up as a public speaker, you learn about various technologies from people using them or who have created them. You get to learn about what is working in the industry and what improvements you can make. You also gain insight into the innovations going around— all of this, at no cost whatsoever! The engineering leader turned speaker has attended many seminars and has been able to bring some good ideas to their company. This way, personal branding efforts can aid company growth. 

He recalls one such instance: “I attended a conference where an engineer discussed how they use a sponsorship spreadsheet to document the ways they support every engineer at their company. I loved the idea and presented it to my boss, and she empowered me to implement the same at Help Scout.” 

What’s more, such events can also help you land good talent for your company. “I’ve always got my hiring manager hat on at conferences. I meet all sorts of people looking for new opportunities, and I’ve placed roles based on people I’ve met. It’s increased my pipeline tremendously,” Simmons explains. 

How to develop a talk that can enhance your branding?

People don’t like robots speaking in front of them, no matter how interesting the topic. Simmons suggests that you should develop a funny and friendly talk so that the listeners can relate to it. Make it as factual as possible. He also suggests using relevant and engaging images in the slides to ensure accessible content consumption. This way, you will be able to convey your message without losing the attention of your audience. 

The engineering leader also takes inspiration from the stand-up world. He believes that every speaker should understand and analyze their audience before going ahead with any session. A joke that works on one set of the audience might not appeal to the other. And thus, it is crucial to tailor your pitch according to the audience present.  

Put it all together and practice

Good things take time. Learn from your experience and mend your mistakes. Identify what worked and what was not in your favor. Focus on creating a brand that is a reflection of your work. 

Simmons recalls his experience where some companies he had worked with were not in favor of personal branding. He firmly believes that if a startup is reluctant to have their employees establish themselves as a brand, they are missing a huge opportunity. “Over the past five years, most companies I’ve worked at were very small. But I’m on the speaker list next to people who work at FAANG companies — it lends credibility to be out there, flying your startup’s flag,” he explains. 

Company executives need to be openly supportive and vocal about employee engagement in personal branding. This practice helps employees know that they are part of a work culture that supports organizational and personal growth. Most importantly, personal branding through public events can significantly augment an organization’s credibility. It can also help organizations establish themselves as thought leaders in their fields, create a loyal audience base, and build a solid network of influencers to grow their business. 

Read the complete article.

Want to rise as an engineering leader in your field and boost your team’s performance? Turing can help. The company’s automated platform enables you to hire and manage remote software developers vetted for a Silicon Valley standard with just the “push of a button.” With Turing, companies can hire from a talent pool of top 1% of 700K+ developers with excellent technical and communication skills who work in their time zone.

Visit Turing’s Hire page for more information.

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By Aug 13, 2021
Former DataCamp Engineering Manager explains why effort-reward balance is essential in the workplace using the capuchin monkey experiment and equity theory.
For Employers

Do Capuchin Monkeys Understand Motivation Better than We Do? Ex-DataCamp Engineering Manager Answers.

Former DataCamp Engineering Manager explains why effort-reward balance is essential in the workplace using the capuchin monkey experiment and equity theory.

What’s the secret to boosting motivation within engineering teams? Equity Theory says Jared Silver, a former growth engineering manager at DataCamp, and engineer for ed-tech companies Mystery.org & Quill.org. 

In this article, we’ll use a famous experiment with capuchin monkeys to understand how Equity Theory drives motivation (or demotivation) in engineering teams and explore proven methods to cultivate enthusiasm in groups. 

Capuchin monkeys understand equity theory; engineering managers should too

Silver recalls an instance where he helped his team raise a million dollars in charity, quadrupling their fundraising goal for the year in the first quarter. In return, his boss offered to buy him a board game, which left him discouraged and deflated.

The Equity Theory of Motivation proposes that fairness produces motivation; managers can achieve high workplace motivation when employees consider reward commensurate with effort. For instance, when offered a board game for his accomplishments, Silver asked himself: “Is a board game sufficient reward for helping raise a million dollars?” 

Equity Theory further poses that an employee views a situation as inequitable when their peers receive superior rewards for the same degree of effort. Silver offers an example of Equity Theory in action: Frans de Waal and Dr. Sarah Brosnan’s famous experiment on how capuchin monkeys perceive fairness. 

In the study, researchers offered two capuchin monkeys cucumbers as compensation for completing the same task. While receiving the same reward, both monkeys were content to finish the job. However, when the second monkey received a superior reward, a grape, the first monkey stopped working. Having recognized inequity in reward distribution, the monkey modified his behavior to suit the prize. 

Two Monkeys Are Paid Unequally: Excerpt from Frans de Waal’s TED Talk

The same holds for engineering teams. Engineers will scrutinize your decisions to allocate resources through the lens of equity theory. If they perceive an unfair distribution of “rewards,” they might follow the example of the first monkey and either work less, pay less attention, or worse, quit.

Identify your team’s grapes and cucumbers

Silver reasons that different forms of reward—be it recognition, compensation, or opportunity—hold varying degrees of importance to various engineers. Moreover, social psychologist Roy Baumeister found that individuals experienced greater satisfaction when performing activities consistent with their values or themes. 

To that end, Silver describes the engineering manager’s primary task as understanding what each team member values and accordingly allocating minimum cucumbers and maximum grapes, i.e., more meaningful rewards and less trivial ones. Silver further outlines two of his favorite ways to understand his team’s needs: 

  1. Career narrative templates can spur growth and create lasting change

Silver considers career narratives to be a crucial tool in helping teammates grow professionally. Dr. Richard Boyatzis’ Theory of Intentional Change helped Silver incorporate a roadmap for positive, lasting change within his career narrative template. The three steps of intentional change include:

  • Identify who you want to become.
  • Find the gaps in your skill-set.
  • Develop a plan to bridge such gaps.

Keeping this insight in mind, Silver created a career narrative template to understand his teammates’ current career stages, their long-term goals and objectives, and the career path to get there.

  1.   Brag documents can help identify each teammate’s core motivations and interests

Silver uses brag documents, i.e., a record of each engineer’s achievements, to understand how they view and value their work. He begins every 1:1 session by asking teammates to share the accomplishments from the past week that bring them the most pride.

At one instance, when his team completed a giant refractor to payment logic, each teammate put forth different reasons for feeling accomplished. While some were excited about making improvements to technical architecture, others took pride in the business impact their technological innovations would bring in. Such insights helped Silver assign projects based on each engineer’s core motivations and interests.

In sum 

The capuchin monkey experiment demonstrates the importance of equity theory, i.e., the idea that workers like maintaining a balance between their efforts/rewards and the efforts/rewards of their peers. When team members perceive inequity in reward distribution, they change their behavior to restore balance. Since each engineer assigns their unique value to different forms of reward, managers should attempt to understand which rewards motivate which team members by using tools like career narrative templates and brag documents. These tools help you better distribute resources based on each member’s motivations. 

Read the full article

Are you looking to build a team of highly motivated and driven remote software engineers? Turing can help. Turing is an automated platform that lets companies “push a button” to hire senior, pre-vetted remote software developers. Your company can hire from a talent pool of top 1% of 700K+ developers with strong technical and communication skills who work in their time zone.

For more information, visit Turing’s Hire page.

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By Aug 10, 2021
Regular video calls for employee engagement, documenting processes for clarity, and scheduling meetings with clear agendas lead to efficient remote management.
For Employers

Three Best Practices for Managing a Remote Engineering Team

Regular video calls for employee engagement, documenting processes for clarity, and scheduling meetings with clear agendas lead to efficient remote management.

Leading a remote engineering team requires the manager to be on a constant lookout for techniques that can boost efficiency without expanding the cognitive load of the group. According to a survey conducted by The American Society of Mechanical Engineers, the number of remote engineering teams has increased from 13 percent in March 2020 to 74 percent in March 2021. This rise has sent managers across the globe scrambling for the best ways to oversee their teams.

This article dives deeper into the issues facing remote engineering teams and how managers can help develop bonds and increase clarity and productivity when their people no longer work in the same location.

Prioritize video conferences over messages to build connections

The biggest challenge of remote work is the loss of serendipity from being in the office. Distributed teams miss the opportunity to have casual dialogue that builds bonds between employees and contributes to company culture. In addition, inconsistent communication within engineering teams can lead to inefficient design, development, testing, and release. And thus, efficient communication tools are crucial for ensuring seamless engineering operations.

Though video conferences don’t provide the ease of in-office communication, they are more efficient than text messages as they convey body language and tone. Remote engineering managers should encourage team members to turn on their cameras in video meetings. This way, team members get a chance to better engage with each other. Thus, regular video conferences can aid in creating a virtual culture of connectivity and collaboration among globally distributed teams, reaffirming the message that everyone is working towards the same goal.

Document everything for complete clarity

A remote engineering job is technical and has no room for error. Therefore, the need for clear written guidelines is acute, especially when the team members work across time zones. If the instructions are not clear, the engineering team may lose a day of work waiting for further clarifications. Continuous, back-and-forth cycles like these are highly inefficient and disruptive. Standard instruction manuals, with explicit guidelines, can help avoid such cycles as ample details lead to fewer misinterpretations. Hence, it is essential to document everything as clearly as possible. Similarly, it is good to replace whiteboards with document-based processes as it helps distributed members understand the organizational goals and objectives clearly. 

Developing clarity with written communication minimizes lost work and is a skill all remote engineers should develop. Additionally, engineers should be encouraged to preempt questions by sharing their written instructions with colleagues for honest feedback. This way, all the probable queries are addressed before the message reaches a larger audience. 

Have a detailed agenda for scheduled meetings

Scheduling conference calls or meetings often feels like the simplest way to connect across boundaries. Unfortunately, remote-first organizations often send out generic meeting invitations that may not be relevant to every proposed attendee. Too many of these meetings, when scheduled one after the other, can become overwhelming. Thus, remote teams should spend an adequate amount of time preparing for the video conference calls to make them as efficient and result-driven as possible. It is equally important to evaluate the current progress toward milestones and other action items of the meeting. An explicit agenda comprising an overview for attendees and a list of expected outcomes must be shared among all remote members before scheduled meetings. 

This way, even employees who won’t be attending a particular meeting can get an idea of its scope and share their questions or suggestions concerning the organizer asynchronously. These practices can help make synchronous meetings much more productive and avoid redundancy. As a result, remote teams can hold only those necessary meetings to get things done that otherwise cannot be accomplished asynchronously.

It takes intentionality and effort to build a solid all-remote engineering team. An excellent remote manager must demonstrate genuine faith and confidence in the abilities of their team and offer support wherever needed. Having regular video calls for engagement, documenting processes and communications for better clarity, and scheduling meetings with explicit agendas can help engineering managers manage distributed teams efficiently. 

Read the complete article.

If you’re having trouble managing your remote engineering team, Turing can help you almost immediately. The automated platform enables companies to hire senior, pre-vetted software developers with just the push of a button. Firms can hire from a talent pool of top 1% of 700K+ developers with strong technical and communication skills who work in their time zone. With Turing, managing remote developers is simple, efficient, and secure. 

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By Aug 5, 2021
Company culture promoting innovation and creative thinking in engineering teams
For Employers

How Facebook CTO Mike Schroepfer Unlocks Creativity in His Engineers

CTO Mike Schroepfer shares how Facebook has built a company culture that promotes innovation and creative thinking among engineering teams.

Facebook’s C.T.O., Mike Schroepfer, has developed an engineering culture at Facebook that’s open, collaborative, and creatively autonomous一values that are key to driving a real-world impact. 

Here’s how he does it: 

Remove roadblocks that hinder creative thinking

Many assume that one cannot teach creativity. But Schroepfer believes that leaders can help remove the common roadblocks that restrain employee creativity. This way, employees can open up new value propositions and an abundance of opportunities. 

He recommends staying curious: “Ask questions even if you think you know the answer. Creating anything interesting requires teamwork, so any time you help someone do their best work is time well spent.” And in the process, if you encounter a problem, don’t be afraid to test your ideas. Make stress testing a norm in your operations.

The Facebook C.T.O. believes that creative engineering happens when people don’t feel bound and have the freedom to think, imagine, and create. And for creativity to flourish in a business environment, team members need to internalize a company’s vision and strategy. 

Build a company culture where information flows freely

There is no set model for problems that arise during projects and no step-by-step process to obtain answers in today’s world. Hence, the ability to utilize resources creatively becomes vital. And this can only be made possible through open communication and free flow of information. 

Schroepfer believes leaders must provide team members with as much information, context, and clarity as possible so that they can do their jobs to the best of their abilities. People are as innovative as you allow them to be. And thus, if you let your team chase their ‘aha moments,’ you’ll soon find yourself with a more dynamic and creative workplace.

In addition, organizations should have a robust training program to help managers learn how to push aside roadblocks, give feedback, and support teams to operate effectively and collaboratively at scale.

Share your optimism with the team and equip them well

Leaders should channel their positivity to the employees. They should leverage technology to enable team members to participate in the decision-making process fully. This way, they’re motivated and aligned with the company’s mission. 

Schroepfer explains: “The most important thing in my life is people, and at Facebook, people are at the center of everything we do. I try to help my teams see the potential for technology to bring communities together in new ways and enable them to build deeper connections. I’m very optimistic that technology can pave a path for a better future. And I share this optimism with my teams as a way to motivate them to come to work every day and make a real difference in peoples’ lives.”

It is equally important to equip your team members with the right tools and technology to enable them to think and create collaboratively at scale. Training programs and workshops are great ways to hone employee skills. 

A good leader seeks to engage their team and work together towards a shared objective. Where engineers are required to recognize, validate, and solve problems independently or through day-to-day teamwork, engineering leaders, on the other hand, need to make a material impact through transparency, vision, and strong mentorship. Efficient unblocking rituals, cultures promoting open communication, and a positive outlook can help upcoming remote engineering leaders around the globe achieve just that. 

Read the complete article. 

Want to drive more impact as a remote engineering leader? Here’s how Turing can help you: The company’s automated platform enables you to hire and manage senior, remote software developers vetted for a Silicon Valley bar at the “push of a button.” With Turing.com, firms can hire from a talent pool of top 1% of 700K+ developers with strong technical and communication skills who work in their time zone.

For more information, visit the Turing Hire page.

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By Aug 2, 2021
nurturing sound mental health in remote work
For Employers

Show Your Employees You Care About Their Mental Health With These Strategies

Employers can help workers tackle burnout and workplace stress by following these simple strategies for sound mental health care.

Does your organization care about its employees’ mental health? Does it take measures to improve it? If yes, do your people know? Research suggests that many employees feel their employers do not empathize with their mental health. A Forbes study, for instance,  revealed that 82 percent of American tech employees felt burnout while working remotely. Eighty percent of workers said they would consider quitting their current position for a job that prioritized employees’ mental health. Another study by Oxford’s Saïd Business School found that happy employees are more productive. 

In this article, we’ll look at why employees feel neglected, what’s happening as a result, and how organizations can buck the burnout trend:

Frequent dialogue helps alleviate feelings of isolation

Remote workers report loneliness as their biggest challenge. Research shows that loneliness can drive employee burnout and turnover. Organizations should encourage casual dialogue between employees as it helps tackle the feeling of isolation associated with remote work. Managers should focus on building a culture of connection through regular check-ins. Virtual coffee breaks and “watercooler” channels can help in promoting break-time chatter and collaboration. Virtual lunch hours, where employees log-in and have their meals together, could also be an excellent way to improve social connections. Similarly, using communication platforms to create a sense of community can help develop positive engagement in remote workforces. 

Conduct regular mental health surveys and sessions

Many employees share that they don’t receive the support they need to manage work stress. Mental health surveys help identify signs of mental distress in employees and provide insight to restructure organizational policies to boost talent well-being. Frequent check-ins with experts can help prevent stress and burnout among employees. They can also equip remote employees with tools to create a healthy and productive workplace. Including mental health coverage as part of health care plans can also be an effective strategy to improve workforce mental well-being. Managers should ensure that shame and stigma don’t stop employees from using their mental health benefits to seek treatment. Rather, management should encourage and normalize the use of these services.

Encourage regular breaks and time-offs

Remote employees work the equivalent of 1.4 extra days per month compared to their in-office colleagues. What’s more, remote employees often feel guilty about taking a break from work. This inability to unplug can affect their mental health, leading to burnout. And thus, a remote work schedule must consist of breaks at regular intervals. Thirty-seven percent of remote workers said that taking frequent breaks helped them refocus and relax. Encourage employees to reserve time on their calendars for a workout. Organizations can also offer fitness stipends to help employees cover costs related to their physical activities.

Let employees choose their working hours

Rigid work schedules reduce employee creativity and heighten stress levels. Seventy percent of employees said that flexible working makes a job significantly attractive, whereas 90 percent revealed it helped boost their morale. A majority of them also said that flexible hours helped reduce stress and increase productivity. Flexible schedules allow employees to work when they are the most productive. They establish a healthy boundary between work and home. 

What’s more, they can help in reducing employee turnover in the long run. Managers should work with remote employees to set measurable and achievable goals for these schedules to run seamlessly. Goal-setting will move the organizational focus from the number of weekly hours put in by the remote employees to the weekly output they’re delivering.

Provide mental health training to managers and leaders

Remote workers often worry about their performance because of a lack of facetime and feedback. Furthermore, nearly 40 percent of global employees said no one at their company had asked them if they were doing okay. These respondents were 38 percent more likely than others to say that their mental health had declined since the pandemic. 

Managers must demonstrate empathy with their employees. They should have regular one-on-ones with their team members to see how they are holding up. A sense of community is more likely to develop in organizations where leaders share their experience with mental health. This way, employees feel that there is a genuine and collective interest in their well-being. 

Organizations have a responsibility to support their employees’ mental wellbeing. Workplaces that promote mental health are likely to reduce absenteeism, increase productivity, and benefit from the associated gains. A WHO report states that for every US$ 1 put into scaled-up treatment for employee mental health, there is a return of US$ 4 in improved health and productivity. In addition, practices like flexible hours, regular check-ins, and mental health training can help create a healthy and stress-free work environment.

Turing is an automated platform that lets companies “push a button” to hire senior, pre-vetted remote software developers. Firms can hire from a global talent pool of top 1% of 700K+ developers with strong technical and communication skills who work in their time zone.

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By Jul 20, 2021
Healthy workplace culture
For Employers

Here’s How to Create a Workplace Culture Employees Will Never Want to Quit

Many employees quit due to bad workplace culture. Clear performance goals, constructive feedback, & employee recognition help build healthy remote work culture.

One in five Americans leaves their job due to bad company culture. The cost of this turnover is around $223 billion, according to a report on workplace culture. Replacing an employee costs up to 150 percent of their annual salary and has consequences on productivity. What’s more, 88 percent of job seekers say that having a healthy work culture is vital for organizational success. Organizations that want to succeed in the remote work era must ensure that employees feel valued to prevent them from switching jobs for better work culture. 

Key points for building a healthy remote culture:

Idea meritocracy and recognition lead to greater productivity.

Organizations with a culture of recognition are 2.5 times more likely to see enhanced employee engagement. Similarly, 90 percent of workers say recognition motivates them to work harder. Therefore, recognition from managers (or lack thereof) significantly impacts performance and workplace culture.

It is equally important to build a culture that implements and celebrates good ideas. This way, remote employees feel motivated to deliver high performance. A culture based on meritocracy promotes psychological safety, transparency, and permission to speak freely regardless of position. It prioritizes collaboration over competition. It empowers employees equally and overturns the arrangement where ideas from the highest-paid team members receive all the attention. It encourages remote employees to be vulnerable with one another. With such a culture in place, employees can share crazy ideas and freely differ from those they dislike, despite the absence of a shared physical workspace.

Setting clear goals leads to employee stickiness and accountability.

Establishing clear performance goals helps in improving employee engagement and decision-making. Engaged employees are 87 percent less likely to quit their organization. On the other hand, disengaged workers are 60 percent more likely to make errors in their work. 

A high-performing remote workforce is a product of transparency. Leaders and team members are most efficient when they have a good understanding of the company vision. Breaking the vision into smaller objectives can make it easier to track and manage progress. Using this method, business owners and managers can gauge if a goal is on its way to being completed on time or if it needs reevaluation. 

Employees are more committed to their work if they feel like they would hamper the team’s performance by lagging behind. This belief ensures that they are well-aligned with their colleagues’ tasks, leading to greater accountability. 

Daily rituals and regular feedback improve team performance.

Twenty-four percent of employees would consider quitting their jobs due to inadequate performance feedback. As opposed to this, employees who receive weekly feedback are 2.7 times more likely to be engaged at work. To build a healthy and sustainable remote work culture, managers must have regular check-ins with their teams. They should be sensitive to the needs of individual remote employees and find clever ways to keep them engaged. 

While delivering feedback, managers should address how the employee’s current contributions have helped achieve organizational goals and suggest ways to improve them. Good feedback highlights an employee’s strengths as well as weaknesses politely and strategically. Employees are more responsive towards business goals when they feel appreciated by their organization. 

Building a culture of constructive feedback shows employees that their opinions are respected in the workplace. Remote organizations should encourage employees to share feedback on the work culture and make adjustments accordingly. This practice helps in improving employee experience for future hires. 

Turing is an automated platform that lets companies “push a button” to hire and manage senior, pre-vetted remote software developers. Firms can hire from a global talent pool of top 1% of 700K+ developers with strong technical and communication skills who work in their time zone.

For more information, visit the Turing Hire page.

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By Jun 29, 2021
Communication challenges in a hybrid model of work.
For Employers

Three Communication Mistakes Hybrid Teams Must Avoid

Communication is key to organizational success. Hybrid teams should avoid these common mistakes to reduce transactional communication and encourage spontaneity.

The rise of hybrid teams has divided employees into two classes: information-haves and have nots. A recent report stated that it has reduced workdays to purely transactional communications and killed spontaneity between in-office and remote workers.

Additional takeaways: 

Uneven visibility and access to information leads to inconsistent decision making

Hybrid teams often face uneven information sharing. Consequently, in-office employees have a considerable advantage over remote employees. This contrast creates an uncomfortable information hierarchy between team members. Hybrid teams should acknowledge this challenge and establish a few ground rules to encourage consistent information sharing. Handbooks with organizational protocols, FAQs, policy terms, and training resource links can help here.

Influence is a product of visibility. Those who are “visible” influence the flow of work and decisions. Naturally, in-office employees have the edge over remote workers in this aspect too. Remote employees often find it challenging to share their opinions during discussions; when the rest of the team is collectively debating an issue in the office, all they can do is rely on their laptop screens. Remote employees may be working longer hours and increasing productivity but still going unacknowledged compared to in-office workers. And thus, hybrid teams should adopt practices to even out these disparities.

One way is always to encourage input from members that logged in virtually before the rest. Additionally, managers must focus on equalizing employee experience by ensuring equal information accessibility. They should ensure that employee benefits are beneficial for both in-office and remote workers. 

The “Zoom gloom” dampens team morale

Hybrid teams tend to suffer from the “zoom gloom.” This phenomenon is a result of the stress and lack of human contact brought by virtual meetings. Zoom offered advice for eliminating the gloom of too many virtual conferences. It shared that seeing oneself during meetings heightened anxiety levels. And hence, hiding self-view could help in reducing stress. Another research found that when participants got a break and meditated between sessions, their stress levels dropped significantly and did not build up over time. 

Using informal communication channels to build employee relationships is a big challenge for hybrid organizations. More than two-thirds of workers wish to spend more time with their in-office peers to develop better connections. The virtual workplace gets work done but ends up losing out on ‘hall talk.’  Hall talk is crucial for organizations as it encourages new ideas, information-sharing, and relationships. What’s more, virtual workplaces eliminate spontaneity and hamper the quality of communication. Eventually, this can dampen team morale. 

Promoting relationship-building activities in day-to-day work calls can help fix this issue. Activities like ‘creative introductions’ and ‘team kudos’ can help build a rich hybrid workplace. 

Inconsistent engagement leads to misunderstood concepts

The physical office space does not serve as the central hub for engagement in hybrid teams. The absence of a central hub makes it challenging to conduct events that require high levels of engagement, like high-value client meetings. Video calls, although convenient, cannot replicate the richness of face-to-face communications, especially when complex issues are under discussion. As a result, 53 percent of remote workers fear being left out of crucial team meetings and other activities in the office. And thus, managers are in a constant quest to find arrangements that satisfy the communication needs of hybrid teams.

Managers should design a selection guide that allocates workplaces based on the task. This guide can help in identifying and harmonizing activities that genuinely require face-to-face conversation. Similarly, leaders should invest time into equipping hybrid teams with the tools and resources necessary for rich engagement. 

Read the complete article.

Turing is an automated platform that lets companies “push a button” to hire senior, pre-vetted remote software developers. Firms can hire from a global talent pool of top 1% of 700K+ developers with strong technical and communication skills who work in their time zone.

For more information, visit Turing’s Hire page. 

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By Jun 28, 2021
For Employers

Onboarding to a new team as an engineering leader

In this post, Jean Hsu of Range shares some guiding principles and practices that have been helpful to her in navigating this onboarding process as an engineering leader.

Editor’s Note: This is a guest post from Jean Hsu of Range.

I recently joined Range as their new VP of Engineering. Over the last few weeks, I’ve ended many days full of meetings feeling energized — grateful to work with this incredible group of humans. And to be honest, I’ve also ended days feeling depleted — feeling a bit bashful about basic questions and overwhelmed by all that I don’t know.

Although I’ve previously onboarded at big companies like Google and smaller startups like Medium and built onboarding programs for engineering teams, this is the first time I’ve onboarded to a team in over eight years. It’s also the first time I’ve been onboarded to a team while everyone is working remotely, not to mention in the middle of a pandemic, while my kids are distance learning from home! With those remote constraints and personal time constraints in mind, I wanted to be particularly intentional about how I spent the first few weeks.

In this post, I’ll share some guiding principles and practices that have been helpful to me in navigating this onboarding process. 

Use Structured Questions to Get to Know Individuals and the Team
One-on-ones are foundational in getting to know people as individuals. You will want to schedule recurring one-on-one meetings with people you work closely with — whether that’s direct reports, cross-functional leads, or your manager.

In your first or second one-on-ones with the team, ask a set of structured questions to guide the conversation. You can give people a heads-up that you’ll be doing so, so they know it won’t be the norm for all one-on-ones. These are the questions I asked everyone on the engineering team:

  • What’s going well at Range?
  • What’s been frustrating, or could be better?
  • If you could have your way, what one thing would you change?
  • What do you want to get out of your time at Range?
  • What support can the team or I provide?

Think of these questions as a broad invitation to share whatever they feel is important. There are few enough that there’s plenty of time to dig into the responses in a 45 minute or hour-long time frame. Delve deeper into each with open-ended follow-up questions like “What else?” and “Can you tell me more about that?”

Without a clear intention, over time, one-on-ones can settle into status updates or pleasant-but-not-too-meaningful chitchat.  By bringing up these topics at the start of a new work relationship, you let the other person know that the one-on-one space is one where these topics can be discussed. One-on-ones are the venue where you want to hear what’s going well, learn about any frustrations, discuss areas ripe for change, what your direct reports want professionally, and what support they need. 

Lean into Your Beginner’s Mind
When you’ve been on a team for years, working day-in and day-out in the same codebase and same team, you acclimate to small changes around you, like slowly increasing build times or that weekly meeting that doesn’t seem to have an agenda. Blindspots emerge that slow the team down significantly.

When you’re the newcomer to a team, you’re the only one with entirely fresh eyes. Take notes on what you notice. Are there product features that seem particularly delightful to you? Do you find any processes that feel needlessly painful? What about obvious gaps that feel important to fill?

It’s easy to tell yourself, “Oh, I’m new, so I’m sure they have a good reason for that. I’ll just keep my mouth shut and see if it all makes more sense in a few months.” It’s tempting not to want to rock the boat and not be the new engineering leader associated with complaints. Quite reasonably, you don’t want to be the person who chimes in at every meeting with, “Well, at Google, we did XYZ.”

To get around being the “problem messenger,” get buy-in upfront from other leaders with whom you work closely. Talk to them about what gaps you can fill in the leadership team, and discuss processes for you to leverage your “Beginner’s Mind” in this critical period to share observations and insights.

Absorb Information, and Let Go of Your Need to Know Everything
At Medium, the previous tech company I worked at, I joined before there was a Medium. I was there through the nascent ideation process, building out of the initial product and every single product iteration after that. 

At Range, I don’t have that in-depth knowledge to lean on.
Suppose you are, like me, joining a company as an engineering leader. In that case, you may be trying to absorb everything you can about the team, the individuals, the processes, the codebase, and the product. Piece together what you can — have conversations with engineers, designers, product people, sales, and marketing. Read relevant docs, and learn from the expertise others have on the team.

And know that you don’t need to have that full historical context to fill your role effectively. I also remember times at Medium when I had no context at all. Once, I helped DevOps scope out a plan for thwarting DDOS attacks, even though I had no prior meaningful knowledge concerning this issue. I scoped out and executed a successful multi-month API project, with little context as well. 

So absorb what you can to get up to speed and let go of your need to know everything. Ask questions when you have them, and ask for help when you get stuck. Trust that you’ll tap into your team’s expertise to get the information you need to lead teams and projects. 

Define Your Role
As you settle in and start to get a feel for the team’s needs, take some time to take a step back and define your role. It can be easy as the new person to help out everywhere as needed, but take the time to think about what you want the position to be — what do you want to be doing six months or a year into your job?

There will be parts of your role that are more concrete and non-negotiable, but engineering leadership roles often have a lot of room to choose your adventure. 

I love to write, so part of my role definition includes external-facing influence through writing blog posts and helping with other content for the product. Someone else may want to carve out time for regularly preparing and delivering talks or play a meaningful role in defining and iterating on team processes. 

When I’ve taken the time to clarify my role in this way, it helps to contextualize the day-to-day tasks and feel less scattered and reactive. It’s analogous to taking the time to define and communicate a team’s North Star and top priorities. Even if individuals are working on varied tasks, it’s essential to know how it ratchets up to the team’s focus — and that also helps individuals be mindful of when their work doesn’t contribute clearly to the team’s priorities. Similarly, taking the time to define my ideal role gives me clear intention and direction — so rather than feeling scattered or overwhelmed, I can see how the disparate parts of my job add up towards a role I aspire to fill.

Joining a new team as an engineering leader can be exhilarating, daunting, joyful, and overwhelming — sometimes all in the same day! You may be pulled in all directions before you even settle in. While you’re getting up-to-speed, remember to keep just a few priorities top-of-mind and communicate them clearly (even if they change every few weeks). I hope these principles and practices help you navigate this transition. 

About Jean:
Jean
 Hsu is the Vice President of Engineering at Range. Prior to Range, she built product and engineering teams at Google, Pulse, and Medium, and co-founded Co Leadership, a leadership development company for engineers and other tech leaders. She’s also a co-actively trained coach and has coached many engineers, tech leads, managers, PMs, VPs of Engineering, and CTOs. She loves to play ultimate frisbee (though not during pandemics), and lives in Berkeley with her partner and two kids.

About Range:
Crafting new ways for organizations, teams, and individuals to unlock their full potential

The team at Range believes that healthy companies aren’t simply better places to work, but do better work and will ultimately be more successful. But that’s easier said than done — it often seems the more humans an organization adds, the less human it becomes.

We think this can (must!) be fixed, and that by putting (awesome) team success software into people’s hands, they can build wellbeing, awareness, and performance into the fabric of work.

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By Oct 26, 2020
People who are a part of a remote team in a co-working space
For Employers

Best Tools for Managing a Remote Team

When deciding which tools to use with remote workers, think about the projects that you’ll need your remote team to complete, as well as how you want them to interact with your local team. You’ll want to choose tools that allow your teams to work efficiently and effectively. Since your organization will have a unique… View Article

When deciding which tools to use with remote workers, think about the projects that you’ll need your remote team to complete, as well as how you want them to interact with your local team. You’ll want to choose tools that allow your teams to work efficiently and effectively. Since your organization will have a unique set of needs, you’ll have to carefully consider each option against your objectives to make sure that you’re on the right path.

Having said that, here are a few tools that we think your organization could benefit from if you work in remote setups:

1. When it comes to project management….

We, at Turing, use Trello for project management. It’s a great (free) way to plan your projects, distribute tasks and collaborate together. Asana is another project management tool that is both easy-to-use and a very effective way to plot and track projects. Even industry giants like Uber, AirBnB and Pinterest use Asana.

While these tools aren’t the most versatile, their pros well outweigh the cons and they are a great way to keep your remote workers on track and on schedule.

2. When it comes to communication…

At Turing, we use Slack for most of our internal communication. Slack is an online chatroom that works as a great platform for brainstorming, sharing files, comparing notes and much more. Slack organizes your conversations by channels, keeping things neat and clean.

3. Video is critical…

As for video interactions, we principally use Zoom for our all hands meetings, and Whereby for quicker small team conversations or sales call. There are pros and cons for each of these, but choosing the best tool for your team depends on your company’s specific communication needs. 

4. Especially for creatives…

While Turing is focused on engineering driven tasks, that doesn’t mean there aren’t creative components to our work. Members of the marketing and commucations team here have recently been exploring Milanote.

Key Features of Milanote:
– Write notes & to-do lists, upload images & files and save things you find on the web
– Organize visually using the flexible drag and drop interface
– Boards by default are a private place to think, but with a single click you can create a shared workspace for collaboration with your team
– Milanote is filled with hundreds of built-in templates to help you get started with a variety of different projects, from creating a mood board to writing that perfect creative brief

Pricing:
– Free version available with no time limit.
– PRO version $9.99 per month (monthly and annual plans)

Below, you can have a quick look at the Milanote interface. It’s pretty.

Milanote Interface
 
Remote team management is essential to today’s modern workplace and an integral piece of the puzzle. The tools mentioned in this article should give you a good starting point when it comes to filling out your software stack and ensuring that you have all your communication bases covered.

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By Apr 30, 2020