The quality of software developers you hire can make or break your organization. There is a constant battle amongst software companies to hire the cream of the crop. Bringing a talented, smart, hardworking software developer on board is just half the battle won. The other crucial aspect is retaining the person and keeping them engaged and happy so that they are not swayed away by other companies wanting to swoop in with better salaries or perks or project opportunities. Surviving in a severely competitive industry means that you need to carefully strategize employee recruitment and retention and start thinking beyond just offering an attractive package and out of the box. Organizations that ensure low attrition levels get to build long term stable relationships with their employees which ensures knowledge retention and IP protection.
Given that employees in software companies who have access to the latest information and communication technologies (ICT) are increasingly favoring perks over pay, check out below a few perks and flexibilities you can offer your team, to give them creative freedom as well as the opportunity to excel in their respective work areas.
- Light up their career path: Just like you are looking to hire smart, talented and productive software developers, there are several other organizations looking to do the same. It is important for the candidate to know that you are going to provide avenues for career growth by providing innovative work opportunities that test and challenge their critical thinking skills. Because software developers themselves operate in a competitive environment and everyone is vying for a stimulating job offer from a successful software company, it is important for them to constantly update their skills and be on top of market trends. As a part of the career path you are setting out for your employees and future recruits, ensure that this is an aspect you are highlighting. Show them not just what they will be while they are at your organization, but also more importantly, what they can be in the future.
- Give honest and sincere appreciation: If you have ever read Dale Carnegie’s “How to win friends and influence people" you will know that one of the most important elements of influencing people is by appreciating them. One of the most underused effective strategies to encourage your team to perform their best is by simply recognizing them when they do a good job. Show them how they are contributing to your organization and they would love to continue to do so.
- Hire people who “get” your business values: What constitutes a great employee for one organization may or may not be a good fit for the next organization. During the hiring process, ensure that you are making your business values and priorities loud and clear for the person you are interviewing. Maybe the person you are interviewing is coming from a startup background where they sat around on bean bags to make crucial business decisions, whereas your organizations adopts a more formal tone. These aspects of company culture and expected attitude should be made clear early on. A new employee can easily acquire skills through training, but it takes time to acquire a person with the right attitude, so don’t trivialize this aspect.
- Give them flexibility: It can be allowing your employees the opportunity to work remotely as and when required or giving them flexibility in determining work timings, these factors could add up very quickly in solidifying your status as a great organization to work. In today’s highly networked world, it doesn’t make sense to push employees to come into a cubicle to work. Despite Marissa Meyer’s ban on work from home a couple of years ago, it is not an industry narrative. On the whole, employees are not only more productive when working alone, but allowing them flexibility and the privilege of trust, you can drive them towards better work and higher accountability. More and more software companies are now adopting flexible IT policies such as BYOD, remote workplace concept, and collaboration technologies. Remote workplace policies are also a great option for software organizations that deal with skill shortage in their own country.
- Make your company a place they would love to boast working for: On my drive to work every day, I see an organization’s billboard that claims loudly, “Thank God it’s Monday!” - a great attitude to strive for. Do your employees feel that way about your organization? The type of work done in most software companies tends to be monotonous and causes employees to lose motivation quickly. In order to retain passionate software developers, create a work environment which promotes positivity and integrity, communicates positive feelings, cultivates a familial feeling and is conducive to producing groundbreaking software products.
- Reward them: If you want to make it hard for your competitor to steal your skilled developers, use a combination of both monetary and non-monetary compensation strategies. The monetary strategy will include total employee compensation such as salary, benefits, bonuses, training, etc. whereas non-monetary strategies will include reward systems to stimulate employee involvement.
- Allow them to have a life: As much as you would like your employees to work 24/7, remember that, doing such a thing only diminishes productivity tremendously. High salaries can only do so much to make a person happy, but at the end of the day, he/she needs to have ample time to spend with family and friends and the time to do things that are completely non-work related. Create policies that offer your software developers compulsory paid leaves, fixed hours of work, weekends off etc. There are several prominent examples of Silicon Valley startups that are able to drive high productivity from their employees by offering 4 workday weeks. Contrary to what one may think, the fact that employees were working one less day per week actually drove them to meet their deadlines at a faster pace and bug free, because they wanted the weekend to be completely stress free.
- Make your employees a highly appreciated part of your company: Make your employees feel truly valued, letting them know that without them, your company, your department—and frankly, you—would be worse off. Reward your employees for a job well done. But, do remember that feedback from others can pack a little more punch — and show your team that they’re not only appreciated by you, but also by clients, co-workers, and even executives. Make sure you recognise them as individuals.
You could even approach software developers directly for suggestions on how you can make the workplace a better place for them. It’s simple, the old proverb, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” fits perfectly here. Employees have the responsibility to perform their best for your company and it is your responsibility to ensure that you are encouraging them and providing them the right environment to achieve their levels of greatness.
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