- a retainment strategy
- …that’s backed up by research into why developers leave
What is a data-led retainment strategy?
To retain new developers, you need an active approach and a strategy that is continually reviewed and updated. A good strategy incorporates the latest trends and insights, as well as feedback from your current employees. But if you don’t have a fully-developed retainment strategy – or any strategy at all – where should you start?Feeling around in the dark, using a combination of guesswork and intuitive gut-led decisions to retain new employees might work for a while. But the best strategies start and end with data. We know they’re strange, night-time creatures with a preference for computers over people, but their feedback and insights are kinda essential. (Just kidding – we’re all techies here at Nederlia).
Why do developers leave?We understand that research can be time-consuming, so we’ve done it for you! We asked developers why they left their previous jobs – and what you should do to keep them. The top 10 reasons developers left their previous jobs:
- Felt unchallenged
- No opportunity for promotion
- Wanted to learn new skills
- Benefits weren’t competitive
- Pay wasn’t competitive
- Wanted more autonomy and independence
- Weren’t listened to
- Wrong cultural fit
- Felt their work wasn’t valued
- Didn’t get on with senior management
So, what insights can we take from this research?
1. Keep developers engagedWith new technologies being released all the time, successful developers need to keep up-to-date with the latest coding languages and software updates. Providing regular training programmes and new opportunities to learn is in the company’s interest, as it keeps employees engaged, skilled and – most importantly – in the job! As well as scheduling regular performance reviews and opportunities for feedback, make sure you build in opportunities for growth and offer a robust development program.
A key motivation for junior developers is staying at the cutting-edge of software development. They want access to the latest and greatest hardware and software technologies, and the opportunity to practice new skills in a collaborative and supportive environment. Your retainment strategy for junior employees should include opportunities to attend:
Developers want to learn new skills
- in-house training days
- external conferences
- product launches
For more senior employees, such as Team Leads, Product Owners and Scrum Masters, motivation comes in the form of deepening existing skills and being able to share these skills with others. Not all developers want to lead a team or formally manage junior employees, so think about offering technical leadership instead. Your retainment strategy for senior developers should include opportunities to:
Developers want to be challenged
- become tech leads
- train new hires
- spearhead internal change
- learn new programming languages
2. Recognise and reward developers’ hard work
Traditionally, promotion meant a small nudge up the career ladder and a sizeable pay rise. But we’re no longer in 1980 – even if Nokia is making a comeback and Star Wars is back in cinemas. Nowadays, “promotion” looks a little different, particularly for developers who aren’t motivated by the opportunity to manage a team. Developers did rank competitive pay as the fourth most important factor in their decision to leave a company, but this came after a competitive benefits package and the opportunity for growth.
Developers want the opportunity for promotion
Employers in flat structures have to work a little harder to “promote” developers, as there will be very few (if any) senior management positions available. Plus, it’s not always easy to match competitors on pay. …But there’s good news! Even in a very flat tech startup, employees can reward developers by offering:
Developers want competitive benefits and pay
- broader responsibilities
- long-term incentives like stock options
- bonuses for projects finished on time and within budget
- technical leadership
- a larger holiday allowance
Five steps to help you retain new developersCongratulations for making it this far – it’s been a pretty long post. We’ve said a lot of stuff about a lot of different things, and we’re not even sure we can remember them all. So, we’ve summed up our research and insights into an easy-to-remember five point list for you to build (or improve) your company’s retainment strategy. What does it take to retain new developers?
1. Engage and motivate new hires
2. Provide technical challenges
3. Create opportunities to learn
4. Recognise hard work…
5. …and reward it!Header image by Snopek Nadia / Shutterstock.com