Good software developers are difficult to find, with so much competition for professionals who have the latest skills. Businesses often pay top dollar to lure in the best talent, only to find they leave soon after. In fact, IT professions in general have some of the highest turnover rates of all trades, often because employees have the luxury of easily moving to a new employer for more pay or better workinng conditions.
"We're finding that a lot of in-demand tech talent are often choosing to freelance in order to take advantage of a variety of improved quality of life options," says Rishon Blumberg, Founder of 10x Management, which bills itself as the first tech talent agency. "The companies that are having the best luck attracting and retaining tech talent are increasingly offering many of these same quality of life options to their W2 employees. In addition to adapting your company to work with agile talent, the best way to keep and attract talent is to offer the flexibility that the market is demanding."
Whether your business hires salaried programmers or relies on freelancers, you likely feel challenged to attract and retain skilled programmers. In actuality, it could be that they see some of your processes as outdated. Here are a few things your business may be doing to scare innovative developers away.
1. Requiring On-site Work
Telecommuting is on the rise, with more people working from home each year. However, there are still organizations that prefer to have employees on site, where they can be available for meetings and monitored by supervisors. Software development requires hours of focus, with distractions serving as a productivity drain. Employers who take a strict stance against telecommuting risk losing developers to the many businesses that now allow remote work. From the time you post your job ad, you may find that some of the top programmers skip it once they see that you won't allow telecommuting, giving your competitors the edge in hiring the best developers.
Even if you prefer to have employees on site at least some of the time, consider giving employees who can work from home, such as application developers, the freedom to at least telecommute two to three days per week.
2. Too Many Meetings
When surveyed, professionals across all industries make no secret of the fact that they hate meetings. With so many collaboration tools now available, that weekly meeting to check in does nothing more than waste everyone's time. Social media-style collaboration tools can make project updates more fun, letting everyone check in with an update on a daily, weekly, or bi-monthly basis. Your employees won't be forced to sit around a table, listening to what Frank from accounting is working on this week, and you'll have a written record of everyone's responses that you can refer to when needed. You'll also avoid excluding freelancers, who often aren't included in regular meetings.
3. Stagnant Salaries
When a professional has an in-demand skillset, even one year without a pay increase can be enough incentive to start a job search. Organizations that have set-in-stone pay standards may scare salaried and contract programmers away, especially if they only offer small increases every year or two. Developers may actually be contacted by recruiters with offers of higher pay. For salaried workers, it's important that supervisors conduct regular evaluations and note any certifications or advanced skills a developer has picked up over the course of the year. If your pay is lower than market average and you can't afford higher salaries, consider bringing in freelancers whom you can work with on designated projects.
4. Paper-based Processes
Developers design applications that automate processes. When your organization relies on outdated processes like paper timesheets or faxed documents, developers may question your business's technological integrity. Invest in processes that eliminate paper and improve productivity, such as automated HR tools and document-signing software.
Not only will these solutions improve productivity, they'll demonstrate to your employees, contractors, and clients that your business is forward thinking enough to embrace the latest technology in everything you do. If one of your developers mentions an easier way to accomplish something, listen to the suggestion and consider putting it to use. Often, your IT team members will be able to save your business time and money by recommending ways you can automate.
A business's development team is one of its most valuable assets, helping create Web sites and applications that connect with customers and make employees' lives easier. It's important to invest in up-to-date processes to attract innovative employees and keep them, showing them an innovative culture that will help them grow and thrive.