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How to retain talented developers within your company

If you have hired, or are about to hire tech professionals, this article is for you. Today, recruiting tech talent has become a real challenge for HR professionals. Developers, in fact, have one of the lowest unemployment rates in the world and a high turnover rate. So, hiring a strong profile is no longer sufficient.One of your biggest challenges is retaining them.

Let’s see what strategies you can implement to develop the tech culture in your company and retain the best talents.

Before trying to meet a developer's expectations, it's best to start by putting yourself in their shoes to better understand what truly matters to them.

So, what are developers looking for?

In the field of human resources, we can identify several types of workplace motivations. These motivations change depending on individuals' profiles and can be detected as early as the job interview stage. There are four types:

  1. Attraction: Work attraction refers to everything related to the pleasure and interest in what the developer does. Attraction is the primary motivator for “experts”, including developers. A developer placed in a repetitive task is likely to get bored and may be easily tempted by a company offering more interesting challenges.

  1. Trust: Trust is a motivator linked to a person's emotional profile. This motivation is relevant to different professions and can be found for example in both salespeople and developers. It concerns the search for recognition, interactions, and relationships at work. Some developers attach great importance to their team and the work environment.

  2. Belonging: This is the motivation of finding meaning, a sense of utility, and integration within the company. People who place great importance on belonging need to understand their spot in the organization, to whom they are connected. They look for meaningful projects and companies with values. To attract these developers, you'll need to make them fall in love with your company and your product.

  1. Purpose: This relates to the fulfillment associated with achieving goals and ambitions. It's rare for purpose to be the main driving force for a developer. Technical profiles with this type of goal often need to move towards management roles (technical lead, project management) to fully realize themselves. So, you'll need to guide them in this direction.

So, to effectively engage developers, you will have to consider these various motivations. In the remainder of this article, we are going to help tailor your approach accordingly. 

Help your developers grow

As the tech industry keeps growing and changing, it's important to help your software developers grow too. Many developers were initially drawn to this profession because they like to keep learning and getting better over time.

One important challenge developers face is to remain up-to-date with the technology. Indeed, the tech environment evolves so quickly that it requires some effort to remain informed about the new trends and tools. Therefore, developers need some time to do some research or work on side projects. If you can offer them new projects to work on, new technical challenges or include them in the research work you do, they will love it. If your business does not allow that, think about offering them some free time (like half-a-day per week) where they can work on anything else they want, write articles for the community or participate in open source projects.

Also, make sure your developers are surrounded by people they can learn from. Most developers love to have an expert CTO or Tech Lead. If you hire junior developers, make sure you put in place mentorship practices with more senior team members. 

Consider the idea of regular check-ins (at least every six months) to assess their job satisfaction, covering mission alignment and salary. Encourage them to speak about their career aspirations and what they want to learn in order to grow. Offer opportunities for personal projects that align with company goals, keeping your team at the forefront of technology. Support knowledge-sharing through community involvement and open-source contributions. In conclusion, nurturing your developers' growth means creating an environment where they can flourish both professionally and personally, which promotes a culture of innovation and continuous learning.


Add variety to their daily routine 

Another way to retain developers is to help them find meaning in what they do. Why not occasionally suggest they accompany the sales team on customer meetings to explain their solution themselves? 

Send them to pitch at schools where you're looking for new interns. Beforehand, train them in the art of pitching. Encourage them to broaden their horizons. Help them gain expertise in areas they're not familiar with to push them out of their comfort zone and promote their growth.

Another way to disrupt their routine is by inviting them to participate in more strategic meetings concerning product architecture or design. Not only can they contribute valuable insights, but this will also make them feel heard and genuinely involved in the project.

Developer Compensation

When offering a fair salary to a developer, it's important to know that you are also competing with foreign companies. Working in the United States or Switzerland can be a dream for many. If, on top of that, you give your developers a reason to leave by offering a salary below the market rate, you'll have very little chance of retaining them.

Usually, a developer's main motivation isn't just about the salary. However, let's not be naive: none of us work solely for glory, and it's unrealistic to try to hire and retain talented developers by offering them an average salary. Be competitive, be more generous than your competitors. Keep in mind that a failed recruitment or high employee turnover costs much more than effective retention through an attractive compensation package.

If your budget doesn't allow you to be highly competitive in terms of salary, you must make sure you offer remote work options (either full remote or hybrid work) and great learning opportunities. These are the two main relevant criteria that make the difference for developers. Of course, you can add to this other benefits: health insurance, meal vouchers, flexible working hours, etc.


Find out why do people quit 

When someone leaves your team, it's a chance to understand what went wrong and prevent the same issues in the future. If you don't know about a problem, you can't fix it. Keep in mind that it is not just about filling a vacancy, it is about learning from their experience to prevent similar issues in the future. 

Doing an exit interview is a powerful tool for this purpose because it can help you discover why people leave your company and what they think about their job environment. This info helps you make your talent management process better. You get honest feedback about how things really are in the organization and the daily problems employees face. 

Conducting exit interviews is not just about good practice, it's a strategic move towards creating a more attractive and supportive work environment, which will positively and directly impact employee retention and the overall success of your company.

Keeping talented developers in your company is tough because they have many job options. To succeed, you must understand what motivates them, like having a purpose in their work or finding it interesting. To recapitulate, help them grow by giving them learning opportunities. Keep their jobs exciting by changing tasks regularly and involving them with customers. Pay them well because they can find better offers elsewhere. And when people leave, learn why through exit interviews to make your company better and keep more employees positive and productive.

JobBee connects tech companies with vetted remote software developers.

JobBee connects tech companies with vetted remote software developers.