These days, it seems that competition for good software engineers (SWEs) is very intense. For years, companies have been trying to one up each other to attract SWEs by offering more stock, free food, ping pong tables, and massage chairs.
With all of this competition, it’s easy to see why it’s hard to retain these sought-after pros. The average turnover cost for an employee is up to twice their annual salary. With all of the time, energy, and money that’s invested in recruitment, it’s just as important to invest in retention.
In Stack Overflow Talent’s “Recruiting Developers in 2017” survey, of 64,000 professional developers, 59% of respondents said they were open to new job opportunities. Being so high in demand and having no shortage of options, that turnover risk is something any company should take seriously.
Here are some effective ways for your company to help maximize engagement and retention of your SWEs.
Keep an eye on your peers to see what pay, benefits, and perks
they’re offering for SWEs. You want to make sure to stay in the
running for the best SWEs, as much as possible - especially in
relation to your competitors.
Like many employees, SWEs tend to highly value independence
and creative freedom, and strongly dislike micromanagement -
which can lead to feelings of restriction, frustration, and boredom.
SWEs love solving challenging problems in creative ways. Allow
them to operate at their best by giving them space and trust to make decisions for themselves.
3. Professional Development
According to Jim Barnett, CEO and cofounder of Glint, an online
platform for measuring employee engagement, “At
technology-driven companies in areas such as Silicon Valley,
a software engineer's growth opportunities are among the highest drivers of engagement for technical talent.”
SWEs thrive and feel the most engaged when they’re growing and being challenged, adding to and sharpening their skill sets. It’s important to give them opportunities for professional development. Internal opportunities and external ones (e.g., classes, conferences, certifications, tuition reimbursement), which will ensure plenty of growth opportunities.
Offering mentorship opportunities is another great way to help SWEs develop and stay engaged.
In Stack Overflow Talent’s “Recruiting Developers in 2017” survey, one of the top 10 things developers said they look for in jobs is the ability to work remotely. It’s definitely worth it to consider allowing some part-time and full-time remote work opportunities and schedule flexibility.
5. Inclusive and Family-friendly Policies and Resources
Flexible work arrangements can be part of inclusive and
family-friendly policies, which will help retain a more diverse team and SWEs in general. In addition to family-friendly
schedule and leave policies, your company should offer helpful
resources such as Employee Resource Groups, which can provide
professional and personal assistance for those who can benefit
greatly from additional support (e.g., single parents, LGBTQ+,
6. Opportunities for positive impact
Employees tend to feel more engaged in their work when they feel they’re serving the greater good - an increasingly important factor for millennials when choosing jobs. Make sure to highlight how your company is doing that directly or indirectly. You should consider helping your SWEs get involved in social impact projects they’re passionate about - perhaps by allowing them to spend a certain amount of time every month for a particular project.
7. Positive culture
A company’s culture is one of the top reasons an employee from any fuction chooses to stay or leave. I know a ton of people who’ve left jobs for lower-paying, less-prestigious opportunities because they didn’t think it was worth suffering through negative work environments. If you want to maximize your retention of good SWEs, it’s crucial that the company culture be thoughtfully built, to provide employees with a work environment that’s as healthy, supportive, inclusive, stable, and learning-and-growth-focused as possible.
8. Nice toys
What’s the fastest way to a SWE’s heart? Cool tech, of course. SWEs gravitate to the latest and greatest versions. If you want to keep SWEs around for as long as possible, it’s worth investing a pretty penny in hot and cutting-edge tech, such as hyperfast Internet connections, computers, premium monitors, and ergonomic/health-maximizing furniture.
Last but not least, It’s very important to get regular feedback from SWEs regarding their needs and wants, levels of satisfaction and growth, and suggestions. This is one of the best ways to accurately gauge their engagement and how to best retain them. Remember that all employees appreciate a company that values their satisfaction and overall happiness and success - and treats them like human beings, not just numbers.
Please share this post with your networks using hashtag #nextplaymentoring. You can email us at Charu@nextplay.ai if any of this resonated with you - and especially if you have a mentorship success story to share!