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Culture: Why giving your development team more will get you more

We LOVE the C-word. We’ll be the first to admit it; we have no idea about the everyday life of a Software Development Team. What we do know is how to find the right candidates to build a team and what a candidate looks for when they come to consider a move. We speak to hundreds of candidates every week and one thing they all look for is CULTURE.

Yes, this C-Word – What were you thinking!?

Culture isn’t Friday beers or pool tables, culture is the microcosms of a business. It is how managers treat their staff, how decisions are made, what input the staff can have on the company’s direction, what input they can have into the choice of technologies utilised and the freedom to manage their everyday tasks. That is culture.

The above is not an exhaustive list, admittedly there is more to it, but they are the fundamentals that potential employees look for. Having the ability to work on the latest technology with the newest tools is what gets the person in the door, culture is what keeps them from leaving. Every employee is an asset, no we don’t mean something you can buy or sell; we mean they bring their own unique qualities and experience to make YOUR company better. They deliver on your projects which makes the money to pay everyone’s salary. Think about it, what would happen if your Lead Developer uprooted and left mid-project?

To minimise the risk of staff leaving we have put together a quick guide to get the most out of your development team by making a few tweaks to your office culture!

Hold your developers in high esteem:

As mentioned above we speak to A LOT of engineers, all from differing backgrounds, and one thing they have in common is their commitment to the industry. They go home and practice new skills in their own time to be able to offer more. This self-teaching nature is invaluable to businesses as it adds additional value to the company – it enables the business to take on more complex projects with different required skills which means more money and a more diverse client base.

They execute the vision of the CTO, CEO, PM, etc so make them aware of their importance, it may just improve their productivity. Regular pay reviews, regular appraisals, paid-for certifications, expensed meet ups etc etc. It’s simple, you give them more, they will give you more.

Allow freedom for priority:

With the increase of Agile practices over the last 10-15 years, developers have tickets coming out of their ears. Throw in the typical Project Manager quote – “can you just do this quickly” and the 3rd meeting of the day; it creates very limited time for developers to focus and get the job done.

Allowing developers to manage their own time will almost certainly increase their productivity and enable deadlines to be met on a more regular basis. It can also help alleviate some of the stress factors that can cause them to start looking at opportunities elsewhere.

Remove arbitrary meetings:

Meetings were initially deemed as the thing which would induce productivity, today not so much. Deadlines are getting shorter; demands are more complex and “regular check-ups” aren’t needed. Trust us here, we have sat in many meetings which could be done on the office floor – “all okay?”, “yes”, “great”, the only one question you need to ask yourself before scheduling a meeting is “is this a good use of my team’s time” – if the answer is ‘No’ then get rid.

Adding 30 mins on to the end of a meeting to get through all of the arbitrary nonsense is also not a good use of your teams’ time. More free time means more deliverables can be met.

Don’t limit their contributions:

Engineers are more than just coders; they are problem-solving creatives. As mentioned above, your development team are self-learners and go out of their way to educate themselves on issues that are business and non-business related so not allowing them to put their opinion in could be a downfall to many projects where issues arise. This means allowing them to make business-critical contributions – they may just come out with a game changer!

Get your team excited:

Stand-ups are great for this; you need to let your team know why you are doing things and let them contribute to the reasons behind them. Having your team understand why you are doing something gets them to buy into the direction and as a result, want to do more for you. Typically, when your development team has more ‘skin’ in the game they are more likely to care. Consider the last subscription you have upgraded from the free version to the paid one for, you are more likely to use it than you were before because you have money (skin) in it. This applies to your development team, if it is their idea they are going to want to make it work.

Avoid burnout:

Don’t make it difficult for them or make them feel guilty for taking time off from work. The short-term loss will eventually help to prevent a massive burnout and cause them to have longer time off. Let them take a 3-day weekend or have a week off here and there – that’s what holidays are for!

It is not just about holiday days; it is ensuring they are well on a day-to-day basis. Check up on your employees, make sure they are going home at a reasonable hour and that they have a positive work-life balance. You may think this is overstepping the mark of a boss/colleague/employee relationship, but it’s really not. Workers are people first and foremost, asking a simple question could be a big deal to someone, it’s only weird if you make it weird!

Remember, your staff are your business so you need to do everything in your power to ensure they are happy as this can not only make your team more productive but also save you a few quid along the way – you won’t have to pay someone to replace them.!

If you want to make sure your team is firing on all cylinders then don’t hesitate to get in touch as we would be happy to run through ways to improve your office dynamic!


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