Open post Hiring in the New Normal

Hiring 2021: Time to Switch Gears

What can I expect out of a remote position

Do you remember when you were a kid and got your first bicycle that had gears on it? No more single speed silliness, but a real speed machine that could take you anywhere with relative ease.

You adjusted to using the gears quickly, and you did not give it a second thought when you downshifted as you were coming up to a hill to make it easier for you to climb. Perhaps you upshifted when going down a hill to give you even more speed without the pedals spinning around so fast that you couldn't keep up with them. You adapted to your environment to increase your efficiency with the available tools at the time, and you never gave it a second thought; you were switching gears.

In sailing, it is common to reduce the boat's sail area in a strong breeze by either reefing the sail or switching to a smaller sail altogether to reduce the sail's surface area. Too much sail is not necessarily a good thing. It only serves to heel the boat over (which, yes, is sort of fun) to a level that is not efficient. You don't go any faster through the water. You just heel over more and lose control of the boat.

Conversely, if the wind is too light, you want to add sail area by the opposite means. Boat racers refer to this as "switching gears." Just like on the bicycle, you are adapting to your environment to increase your efficiency. The sailboat example tends to take a little more work and forethought, but the objective is the same.

Fast forward to your professional life, and ask yourself how you are switching gears to increase your efficiency with the tools available to you?
We are in an unprecedented time of a global pandemic, and business as we know it is changing worldwide, whether we like it or not, and whether we are prepared for it or not. People are working remotely often, and you tend to rarely, if ever, go into an actual office or have a business meeting face to face anymore, and entire segments of the industry are disappearing overnight. It is easy to throw up your hands in despair and feel like you do not have control over this. Still, you also might want to ask yourself: How can I switch gears to adjust to this environment, and how can I push my business into the forefront of adapting to this new environment?

Companies that are adapting to and even embracing these changes are on the leading edge of establishing what our new workspace is going to look like. The "new normal" is flexible, remote, and adaptable while still providing your customers with the highest level of service.
When it became apparent to us here at Quardev that we needed to adjust our processes to serve our client's needs better, we wasted no time implementing a few of the following:

  • Enhancing our online coding challenges helps vet candidates' technical abilities, rather than a typical white-boarding session with our technical leads.
  • Participating in video conference calls as the norm, rather than the exception.
  • Assisting delivery staff and consultants to set up remote work environments.
  • Increasing the contact timing frequency with clients and consultants to more rapidly adjust to their changing needs.
  • Expanding our resource pool to include non-local candidates that may not have been practical when there was a requirement that all resources were on-site.

Yes, it is different. Yes, it takes a little planning and adjustment. It is time to switch gears to get in front of these changes and increase our efficiency with the tools we have.

Come and speak with us at Quardev about how we have been leading the transition into the new normal, and we might even be able to give you a few tips about how you can make it easier to switch gears too.

If you are considering hiring remote employees, check out our tips for virtual onboarding of new hires.

 

 

Open post Remote Position

What can I expect out of a remote position?

What can I expect out of a remote position

Remote work gained in popularity for some time now. COVID-19 impacts thrust it to the forefront as a necessity with some predicting that it will continue to be the norm, where possible, even after the dust settles. As this shift crystalizes into a long-term reality, workers are quick to embrace this new way of life as they look for answers to questions about how to successfully. To help get ready for the work of the future as well as improve on your current remote working routines, here are a few things that you can expect when working remotely:

1. New Relationship with Time

Apart from the physical setting, one of the biggest changes to face when working remotely is your relationship with time. You are now working by your own clock and depending on the job and the company you are with, you may even be able to set your own work hours. With greater flexibility comes an even greater responsibility. Especially in terms of time management. Your ability to time-block and stay focused may not be as easy as it sounds. Do yourself a favor and put strategies in place to stay productive and work smarter, not harder. Keys include: removing distractions from your environment; setting daily, weekly, or monthly goals; scheduling – and taking – appropriate breaks; and perhaps most important, setting expectations with your managers as to how you are meant to allocate your time and maintain communication.

2. Remedy Loneliness

If you have been living the remote lifestyle over the past few months, you may have experienced periods of loneliness. Working onsite allowed morning coffee with your team, water cooler talk, and the general comfort of knowing you are surrounded by coworkers you can lean on. A sense of nostalgia and feelings of social isolation can creep in when working remotely. But hey, you are not alone! This is one of the most common drawbacks of remote work, both during and outside of a pandemic. A sure remedy is to take a moment to reach out to your team, managers, and extended friend circle. Stay connected and stay in touch. Email, messaging, video chats, phone calls – during this technically savvy time there is no excuse to let your physical location hinder your access to the connection. Your colleagues, friends, people in your industry, and even your network will thank you as they are most likely experiencing similar feelings as well.

3. Strengthen Communications

Expanding upon the previous point, communication is more than just a roadblock for loneliness, it is a necessity. With no physical interaction, instructions and expectations may not be as clear or easily understood. It is your responsibility to make sure you have all of the information to get the job done. You may have to speak up in ways that seem uncomfortable at first, make your opinion known on weekly conference calls, reach out to your boss when things are unclear, and put in that extra effort to over-communicate rather than under. Make communication intentional and frequent. Video calls are the simplest way to hold remote meetings while reminding colleagues that all parties are human and building virtual relationships. One helpful tip is to set your rules of engagement, providing boundaries and expectations of your schedule. During this time, help out by extending patience and consideration and understand that we are all doing the best we can.

4. Learn New Skills

In a sense, you are now your own teacher. Remote work requires you to take on certain roles that you may not have seen yourself in before. You are your own boss, your own IT person, organizer, perhaps even an interior designer. Being on your own means that you may need to learn some new skills. Self-directed learning is crucial for remote workers. You should be proactive when learning and honing new skills and not let this time of isolation prevent you from remaining professionally relevant and competitive. Use the tools and resources available to remain a dynamic employee and not allow for your lack of locational change to lead to a lack of professional improvement.

5. Take Care of Yourself

Last, but certainly not least you must take care of yourself! It can be deceiving to think that the right path is to be “always on,” working nonstop just because you can. However, this can quickly lead to burnout and a loss of passion. One of the greatest benefits of remote work is that it allows you to live a flexible lifestyle and focus on things that matter to you outside the office. Just as you must know when to take a break, you must also stay mindful of when it’s time to log-off. For the greatest results from your work and your life, give yourself a chance to reset for the next day. Engage in a non-work-related hobby, meditate, eat properly and exercise, spend time with family, do whatever allows you to clear your mind and wind down at the end of the day.

 

What does remote work look like for you? Do you have additional tips and ideas that you are willing to share? Do you have questions specific to your situation that we can help answer? Email our team, contact@quardev.com. Stay safe out there, we hope to hear from you soon!

 

Looking for remote positions? Check our most recent job openings.

 

Open post Virtual Onboarding of new hire

Tips for Virtual Onboarding of New Hires

Virtual Onboarding of new hire

At the moment, millions of people have found themselves working from home, forced to adjust to a whole new routine. For new hires, especially, this time can be quite confusing. Here are some tips to make the virtual onboarding process engaging, straightforward, and stress-free while keeping up with the times.

1. Clarity is Key

More than anything, new hires will require explicit instructions on how to complete the tasks of onboarding. Transparency and clear workflows ease a new employee’s anxieties surrounding the task at hand and make the whole process run more smoothly. To do so, create a clear onboarding path, set clear job expectations by laying out everything your hire needs to know to be successful in their role, and develop checklists, whether it’s weekly, monthly, or however you chose. Be clear in what you want and precise in how you communicate it with your new hire.

2. New Technology? Set-up, Share, and Train!

Make sure your new hire receives training in using whatever collaboration software you may have in place. Provide them with what they need before the first day and allow them to familiarize themselves with the technology so the first day can run smoothly when it comes time for the work to begin.

3. Ensure The Tools For Success

Give your new hire access to all the various resources that may help lead to their success. Connect new employees with colleagues they should know to build their networks while remote. Be flexible and understanding. Set up a buddy system. Allow them access to all team meetings, and more to provide everything they need to be successful.

4. Have Frequent Communication

During this time of isolation, frequent and useful communication is vital. Make sure to check-in before, during, and after the onboarding process. Give your new hire feedback to let them know how they are doing. Be open and available, and make sure they feel able to ask questions when they need it.

5. Foster A Thoughtful Culture And Build Connections

This may be the most important tip of all. You must build an engaging virtual culture and incorporate it into the workplace from day one.  Plan virtual social events with new hires such as trivia, happy hour, themed meetups, or whatever you like! Highlight positivity, be sure the new hires meet the team and make it a habit or part of a routine to establish connections through lunches or coffee, making each employee feel part of the whole.

6. Cover all your bases

A lot goes into the onboarding process. Make it easier for everyone by ensuring the new hire has everything they need. Consider using a checklist of onboarding tasks to make sure all requirements get completed. Use programs such as DocuSign to sign all the necessary documents quickly. Create a plan and execute it while building trust with your new hires. In turn, your mastery of this process will allow you to be more attractive to prospective employees and maintain business continuity.

 

Looking for more tips on hiring remote employees? Check our Hiring Remote Employees And Setting Them Up For Success – Top Three Tips

 

Open post Hiring remote employees during covid19

Case Study: Hiring Remote Employees during COVID-19

Hiring remote employees during covid19

Industry: 

  • Interactive Display
  • Lesson Delivery
  • Education Software

Key Technologies/Skills: 

  • Quality Assurance
  • Device Testing

Overview: 

Our client is an industry leader in interactive display systems for lesson delivery, online education, and classroom technology. They have several locations across the globe ranging from hardware manufacturing, software development, classroom technology implementation, and testing. Our client’s testing capacity was severely hindered due to the Covid-19 pandemic in China before our local pandemic efforts. The team in China was subject to a stringent quarantine scenario and was unable to continue its testing duties. They asked Quardev if we could help staff a local team to continue the efforts locally. Initially, a team of three was discussed for onsite device testing to continue the efforts of the team in China. This team was to pick up where they had left off and finish the testing of devices that were ready to ship. We quickly learned that culture fit and budget were the most critical factors for our clients—even more than the technical skills.

Solution at a glance

The short story of their solution was the ability to leverage our years of knowledge and expertise to assess the client’s needs quickly. It was also essential to determine the “wants” from the immediate “needs.” The client came to us with a problem and leaned on our knowledge of not only the Quality Assurance piece but our recruiting team’s understanding of locating talent, interviewing candidates, validating culture fit, and onboarding. Usually, a client will come to us with more specifics, such as a job description, budget, ideal candidate, etc. But in this particular case, the client needed to rely on our expertise from the beginning. We were able to quickly determine the needs and address them within hours of the initial conversation.

Challenge 

The process started with a phone call from the client. Quardev has earned a reputation in the Northwest as a company agile enough to be able to take on many different tasks for our clients. They reached out to us and explained the situation, which included not only the technical skills needed but also the ability to provide our services quickly and adapt to any immediate changes on the fly. Initially, the client discussed a need for 2-3 QA Tester Engineers to provide device testing on their proprietary platforms. The team needed to be able to pick up where the Chinese team had left off and take it to the finish line. The situation was very fluid at the time, with the pandemic in full swing offshore but with a lot of uncertainties here in Seattle as well. The client’s local in-house team was unaccustomed to the testing process as these tasks were handled offshore. The timing was also of the essence as the client had customers waiting for the products to ship ASAP. Not only was the team unfamiliar with the testing and hiring processes, but they also had questions about whether their internal facilities could handle this project with such a short turn around.

Solution 

The client was uncertain of where to begin. The news of the shutting down of their offshore team was quite a shock to everyone. There was no job description, budget, location, test plan, or even an idea of the level of knowledge the team would need. After some qualifying conversations with the client, we determined that the need was for a lower level of Test Analyst with some device testing experience in Android applications. There were some other tools such as Jira that we had decided was valuable as well. The technical skills were second to the culture fit in this case. We had discussed the possibility of creating a space for the team in our onsite lab but came up with a solution that would allow the team to stay at the client site during the project to keep down costs and provide more visibility for them.

Because culture was such an important piece of this project, we came up with a shortlist of “must-haves” and went to work sourcing talent. Hiring remotely is not much different than hiring in person. As recruiters for over 20 years, we have developed a system for gaining insight into individuals’ personalities. Candidates did not need to be particularly strong technically (e.g., Junior Test Analyst with Android experience, JIRA, and bug reporting), along with the time-sensitivity of the project. Because of this, we determined together that an added technical assessment with our onsite technical advisor was not necessary. The main objective was to find candidates who were technically proficient but then take a deeper dive into the personality to decide the culture fit of the candidate. It required extended phone conversations along with more in-depth behavioral questions to We relied on our expertise in gauging not only the answers provided but HOW they were provided. This is not something that can be processed through an online assessment. It requires individual conversations with the candidates. Due to the remote nature of the work, these behavioral assessment conversations were tailored towards the client’s valuation of what they felt their needs were. The onboarding process has been automated for quite some time now. That made streamlining that process extremely easy.

Results 

Currently, our team is still engaged in the project. The client has been pleased with the consultants that we provided and the ability to become a true partner. Even with the offshore teams coming back online, our local team continues to provide the client with added value.

Hiring Remote Employees during COVID-19

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