Stop Treating Your Developers Like Crap (Do This Instead)

  • Stop Treating Your Developers Like Crap (Do This Instead)

    Stop Treating Your Developers Like Crap (Do This Instead)

    Did you know that up to 25 percent of employees are considered “high risk” for leaving their current jobs, many of whom have advanced skills or knowledge and perform well for their companies?

    Obviously, this level of turnover is untenable for most companies, even when the employees are unskilled. When it involves highly-skilled workers like developers, real problems start to pop up.

    It’s no surprise that 87 percent of HR leaders consider employee retention a primary concern for their organizations. But companies that want to hang on to their employees need to examine how they treat them—starting with developers.

    Developers are valuable—so why aren’t they treated that way?

    As misguided as it is, developers are often viewed as interchangeable in the business world. Executives who aren’t technically-minded don’t really understand what developers do to begin with, and when problems pop up during the development process, it’s easy to blame the ones building the program. Thus, developers tend to get the short end of the stick.

    In reality, a good developer is worth 10x a poor or even mediocre developer; there’s a huge gap in skill between the good and bad. As such, we’d like to see a cultural shift towards viewing developers as creators. Because, well, that’s what they are.

    Writing code is a creative field that requires practice, concentration, and problem-solving. If companies want to keep these professionals on board, they’ll need to start rethinking how these workers are treated in their organizations.

    Let Them Problem Solve

    Developers are creative people, and in our experience, creatives prefer to problem solve on their own rather than get handed all the answers.

    And we’re not alone in this assessment. Many industry leaders feel the same way, such as the CEO of Twilio, Jeff Lawson: “Great developers, I think, want to be handed the problem instead,” he said in an interview with the Register.

    Give Them Ownership Over Project Goals

    You spent hours working on a project. You fine-tuned the details, and you submitted it on schedule after days of painstaking tweaks. Then, you come into the office to find that one of your team members has opened your work and adjusted all of your crucial details. They had good intentions—but due to inconsistencies in project management, they meddled where they shouldn’t have.

    This scenario is far too common in the development world. Multiple developers will be assigned a project with little regard to which developer is working on which part of the code base. And when milestones get reached, these developers aren’t allowed to keep ownership over the code they wrote. If you’ve worked in the dev world, you’ll get how catastrophic this can be to project efficiency.

    Collaboration is important, but be careful about going too far with it. Let your developers keep ownership over their assigned projects until all the issues are hammered out.

    Encourage Experimentation

    This goes along with our first suggestion—if you want to keep your developers happy, give them the freedom to work!

    A common problem in the developer workflow is project managers who won’t let go of the reins. It’s well-established that creative professionals do their best work when they’re given the freedom and agency to progress on their own terms, whether that means completing a deliverable or coming up with innovative new ways to solve problems. Encourage experimentation among your developers and start building that flexibility into your company’s culture.

    These steps will help you build a company that respects workers as they deserve. There are no guarantees when it comes to turnover, but by working towards the above elements, you’ll go a long way toward keeping your developers happy. And as always, if you need further guidance in these employee management areas, feel free to contact Urgenci for a business assessment.

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