How to retain your Software Engineers

How to retain your Software Engineers in 2020!

According to Stack Overflow there is now one developer for every five positions, and for those of us in need of good staff that can be a hard statistic to hear, especially when its followed up with the fact that three out of four developers are open to hearing about (perceived) better opportunities.

So how do you as the employer ensure that the grass will be greenest on your side of the fence and your dev team won’t head off to pastures new.  Here are my tips for hanging on to your software developer.

Give them the RIGHT benefits package

We all know that money is not the only lure to a new job.  Free canteens, in house cafes, laundry rooms, and games rooms are old hat at this stage and certainly not be enough to retain quality staff for the long term. Instead ask your colleagues what perks they’d like to see, what their friends might have in their workplace, or what motivates them personally. Actively listening to employees and finding out what they see as a benefit and what motivates them personally can be the key to shaping an irresistible package that would be hard to leave behind.  Consider things that appeal to a good sense of mental well-being like more remote working arrangements, sabbatical leave, or options to undertake charity work on company time.

Reinvest in your staff

The best software developers know they must continually upgrade their skills. Investing in training on an ongoing basis is the clearest way to show your staff you support them in their career and trust them enough to invest in their future.  Having a transparent training budget with allowable discretionary “training days” can be an invaluable investment in your company.  Take a chance on a more junior hire, spend a bit of time and money training them up and give them the chance to become the best in their field.

Create an “engineering culture”

The best engineers are innovators and creative by nature. They need the right equipment and an environment where their opinions and ideas are valued. Give your software developers the freedom and responsibility to grow your company in new ways and, it will bring a level of job satisfaction and an unwillingness to abandon something that they built from scratch so easily.

As you can see these are not new ideas, but I believe somewhere along the way we lost sight of what is important to our employees. Foosball and free lunches are fun for a while but great talent deserves more.