How to Attract, Develop, and Retain Rockstar Software Developers

Rockstar Software Developers

Did you know that the average amount of time an individual spends in a job is 4.1 years? This average changes based on occupation and age, with older individuals tending to stick around longer. 

However, for companies who are looking to hire rockstar software developers, this number likely feels low. As a company, when you invest time and money in your employees, your hope is that they will stick around longer. 

If you want to learn how to attract, develop, and retain rockstar developers for your company, keep reading. 

Attracting Rockstar Software Developers

Are you looking to hire software developers? The first thing you must do is attract software developers. We could spend time talking about the things you already know, such as building your brand’s reputation and search engine optimization, but you already know that. 

In order to attract the best software developers, you have to think outside of the box. Especially with the fact that in this digital age, there are many options for developers available when looking for employment.

Here are some ideas that can help you as you seek employees and future employees. 

Attend Career Fairs

You get a mixed bag of interested parties at career fairs; however, career fairs also give you the opportunity to network with other attendees. You may meet someone who knows a rockstar developer and shares your information. 

People looking for jobs are often told, it’s not always about what you know, but who you know. The same goes for companies looking for employees. It’s about who you know. 

Career fairs will give you the ability to get out there and network on a different level. In addition, if you attend career fairs at colleges, it can give you an inside track to up-and-coming developers who are preparing for graduation. 

Implement an Internship Program

An internship program will help you in several ways. Interns have the ability to bring new and fresh perspectives to your company. 

Developing an internship also gives you the opportunity to train tomorrow’s workforce before they enter the workforce. However, when it comes to attracting and retaining employees, an internship program has huge benefits. 

Your internship program gives you the opportunity to test the water with potential job candidates. Around 70 percent of companies that utilize internship employees go on to offer the intern a full job. 

80 percent of interns accept a job offer from the company they intern for. An internship program is a great way to catch the attention of future job candidates early. 

Consider Your Job Posting

When you think about your job posting, what do you want to see? You can include the basics such as pay, education requirements, benefits, job title, job scope, etc. 

However, how do you develop a job posting that really grabs attention? Put on your writing cap because this one is going to require creativity and a little bit of a sell. 

The ideal job posting is going to go beyond listing the basics. It will be comprehensive in that it includes the basics, but it will also sell your company to potential employees. 

You can do this by sharing who you are, what it’s like to work in your office, and more. Your posting should seek to engage the reader and show them that you truly are the best company to work for. 

Involve Your Employees

Your employees can also be involved in the recruitment process. It is likely that they know others in the industry, especially if they have also been doing their own networking.

Involving your employees can be as simple as giving your employees recruitment cards to give to their friends and connections who may be good fits to a more comprehensive program. 

You can implement a referral bonus program for your employees that will encourage them to reach out and recommend their friends. In this program, you could offer a monetary bonus to your employees when an applicant they recommended is hired and stays a certain number of days or months. 

Not only does this mean that your employees will be invested in recommending new employees, but they will also be invested in the retention process. 

Hold an Open House

Do you have potential employees you are looking at? If you have identified individuals you would like to consider for a developer position, hold an open house. 

Any individual that is on your radar should be sent an invitation. This will clue them into the fact that your company is actively looking to hire new employees with their specialty. 

If you also open the open house to candidates outside your purview, it will give you the opportunity to meet others who may be interested. At the open house, take the time to introduce potential candidates to your company and the culture. 

You can even invite current employees who can mingle and be on hand to ask any questions. One of the most important aspects of your open house will be gathering information on the attendees. 

After the open house, make sure to follow up with individuals you believe may be a good fit. You can offer them the opportunity for a one-on-one meeting, or even the opportunity to ask more questions they thought of after the open house. 

Use Your LinkedIn

Your LinkedIn can be utilized to network and get your company name out into the digital community. However, one thing you may not have thought about sharing is career transformation stories. 

Talk to your current employees. Ask them to be profiled on your LinkedIn and share their story about what they love about your company and how they have grown as people and in their field because of their employment. 

If they have moved through the company and had the opportunity to take on leadership roles, have them share more about that as well. While some employees are happy to stay in non-leadership roles, many potential candidates want to know they will have opportunities for growth and advancement. 

Real stories from current employees can help you connect with potential employees in a unique way that other methods may not offer. 

Highlight Educational and Development Opportunities

Many employees want to know that they will have the ability to continue growing and learning in the company they work for. If your employees believe they are unable to reach their career goals with your company, they are 12 times more likely to leave. 

That number increases to 30 times more likely to leave for new employees who may not feel as connected to the company as older employees. Beyond that, 63 percent of millennials believe that the ability to become a leader is important when they are considering job opportunities. 

If you want to attract software developers, you need to let them know they will have those opportunities with you. Highlighting the educational and development opportunities offered by your company is a great way to attract rockstar developers. 

Develop and Retain Rockstar Software Developers

Now that you know how to attract software developers let’s move into how to develop and retain software developers. The ability to attract software developers does not matter if you do not have the ability to develop and retain them. 

These two aspects really go hand in hand. Many of the methods you utilize to develop your developers will also help with retention. Some of these methods may also be a two-way street in that the fact that you utilize them helps attract developers. 

Develop an Internship Program

Developing an internship program can go beyond helping you attract rockstar software developers. It can also help with developing and retaining software developers. 

An internship program gives you the opportunity to start developing new developers early. In addition, 43.9 percent of employees with internal internship experience have a five-year retention rate, which is above the average retention rate. 

These numbers go down for employees who had outside internship experience or no internship experience. 

How to Create an Internship Program that Works

It is important to realize that though you do not have to pay interns, you can. Choosing to pay your interns can help you create a competitive internship program for your company. 

If you choose not to pay interns, make sure you are aware of the Fair Labor Standards Act and what they have to say about unpaid internships. 

Hollywood often portrays unpaid interns as the coffee fetchers of a company. If your company falls into this trap, your internship program will not be effective. Your interns should be given real experience and tasks. 

You need to develop your internship program so that it provides valuable and meaningful learning experiences. This will also help connect future developers to your company and have them come back when looking for employment opportunities. 

You can do this by pairing them with an experienced developer in your company for mentorship. This can help with giving young minds software development experience. As they work together with an experienced developer, it can also give them the opportunity to practice the skills they are learning. 

Provide Educational Opportunities

Education is important to future opportunities. Education for your developer team can go beyond just learning the latest and greatest about software development. 

Build educational programs that allow your employees to learn about a vast number of things within their field. This can include learning opportunities about: 

  • Industry trends
  • Different types of coding
  • Management and coding
  • Healthy lifestyle classes
  • Classes on preventing burnout

You do not have to put yourself in a box when it comes to providing educational opportunities for software developers. Opportunities for education can be provided through an in-person class, but you can also provide education on digital platforms. 

Another important reason to provide educational opportunities is to keep your developers from getting bored. Find ways to engage the minds of your employees and keep them interested and passionate about the work they are involved in. 

Promote Work-Life Balance

Another way you can develop and retain your employees is by promoting a good work-life balance. There may be days where you are in a crunch on your project, and you need to keep your team late into the night. However, this should never be the norm. 

You hear a lot about burnout in the human services field. However, developers that are stressed and overworked can also burn out. 

When your employees begin to burn out, it decreases job satisfaction and productivity. 

Signs of Burnout in Software Developers

Burnout looks different in different people. However, the overarching effect is that it will kill any passion for coding. The most common symptom of burnout in developers is no motivation or passion for coding. 

While they may have enjoyed coding in the past, the joy they used to take from their work is gone. This is a dangerous place to be; when you have a difficult time finding your motivation and passion, it can be difficult to take pride in your work which impacts your quality of work. 

Other signs of burnout in developers include: 

  • Mental and physical fatigue that extends beyond coding into your life
  • Feeling of emotions being dull or numb
  • Feelings of isolation
  • Cynicism
  • Sense of doubt
  • Indifference
  • Depression 
  • Anxiety
  • Mood swings
  • Insomnia
  • Hopelessness 
  • and more

Part of managing software developers is working to educate them on burnout and work-life balance. 

How Do You Prevent Burnout?

There are many ways you can prevent burnout in developers. Promoting work-life balance is one way. Encourage your employees to take vacations, help them learn to step away from the computer when they are not at work. 

Developers who love developing may have side projects that are passion projects, which can be good because it can help keep things fresh. However, if they spend too much time developing and not enough time outside the digital realm, they can easily experience burnout. 

Keep things fresh to stave off burnout. There is a reason it is called the nine to five grind. Employees who go into the office and do the same tasks day after day get bored. They also experience burnout. 

Switch things up, so your developers do not get bored and do not burn out. Encourage regular breaks. Some companies frown on regular breaks, but when you spend your days staring at a computer screen, you need them. 

In addition, regular breaks also help your employees be more productive. One popular technique of late has been the Pomodoro technique

This technique encourages breaks to increase productivity and reduce procrastination. With this technique, you set a task and a 25-minute timer. After 25 minutes, you take a five-minute break. Every four cycles, you take a 15 to 30-minute break. 

What Are the Benefits?

Did you know that 60 percent of employees will take a job with lower pay but better benefits? And in addition, 16 percent of employees have left a job due to the benefits offered. 

There is a reason companies with excellent benefits get an overflow of job applicants and retain their employees. Part of retaining your employees comes down to the benefits you offer them.

If someone offers them more money, will your benefits outweigh the potential of a pay increase? Your employees will be looking for healthcare, retirement plans, educational opportunities, vacation time, sick time, and more when it comes to benefits. 

Ensure that your company keeps a competitive edge by providing benefits that meet the needs of your employees. 

Promote a Healthy Lifestyle

Employees who are healthy are of benefit to your company in several ways. They are more productive, happier, and a healthy lifestyle encourages lifestyle options that help prevent burnout. 

There are many ways you can promote a healthy lifestyle within your company. 

Encourage Exercise

Exercise is a great way to promote a healthy lifestyle for your employees. You can promote exercise for your employees using a few methods. 

Some companies choose to implement an exercise program that allows employees to take off from work early and still get paid if they are using that time to hit the gym. 

Other companies provide gyms that are available for employee use only. Another way you can promote exercise is through incentive programs and contests. If you exercise x amount of days in this time period, you will earn an extra day of paid time off. 

You can offer this type of incentive to all your employees, or turn it into a competition where they get put in a drawing for a reward. You can also start company leagues. 

If your employees are not into the typical type of leagues you see, such as softball or basketball, offer yoga or Zumba classes. The point is to get your employees active. 

Offer Standing Desks

You can offer employees who want them standing desks. Standing at your desk has benefits such as:

  • Weight loss 
  • Reduced risk of weight gain
  • Lower blood sugar levels
  • Reduce the risk of heart disease
  • Reduce back pain
  • Improve mood
  • Improve energy levels
  • Boost Productivity
  • Live Longer

You can also encourage employees to stand up and stretch and take breaks to walk around the office and drink water. 

Promote Healthy Eating

Do you provide snacks for your employees? Stock your fridge with water and healthy snacks. Don’t just offer a pot of coffee; put some tea out for your employees too. 

Tea has many health benefits that could help keep your employees healthy. 

Don’t Forget Mental Health

Health goes beyond nurturing the body. You also need to help your employees ensure that they are attending to their mental health. 

Taking care of your employee’s mental health can help them stay happy within your company and prevent burnout. A great way to do this is through implementing an Employee Assistance Program or EAP. 

These programs provide the ability for your employees to access mental health services. However, they also help with other things as well. While it may seem like the cost of an EAP is high, the benefits outweigh the cost. 

On average, companies who utilize an EAP see a three- to ten-dollar return on investment per dollar spent. You can also promote activities that assist with mental health, such as yoga or building meditation rooms within your office. 

Offer Childcare

Childcare is expensive. Employees with children have added stress of paying for childcare, and then worrying that their children are safe in the facility they choose. 

Providing a daycare can help improve absenteeism, turnover, and morale. When considering this option, it is important to weigh the cost. If you do decide to provide on-site daycare, you can also open it up to people outside the company.

If the cost outweighs the benefit for your company, another option is to partner with a local daycare that will offer a discount to your employees. 

Implement Flex Schedules

Allowing your employees to decide where they work from and when they work can increase morale and improve retention. A 2019 survey showed that 30 percent of employees left their job because of not being offered a flex schedule. 

In addition, 80 percent of employees choose to work for a company because they do offer flex schedules. Flex schedules allow your employees to work when they are at their best. 

For some companies, it may be necessary to set some boundaries around flex schedules. For example, they need to be at the office a certain number of days, or if their work is not getting done, they may be required to come into the office. 

However, not only can flex schedules boost productivity, but they can take the stress off employees by allowing them to create the schedule that works for them. 

Make the Workplace Fun

Your employees should want to come to work. Now, we’re not talking anything crazy here, but making your workplace fun can help boost morale and keep your employees happy. 

Hold Contests

Around the holidays are a great time to hold contests. For example, for Christmas, you can have a decoration contest. You can encourage employees to decorate their workspace. 

Have judges or other employees walk around and vote on their favorite decorations. The best space gets a reward, such as a gift card to their favorite restaurant. 

Help Your Employees Get to Know Each Other

When you spend all day around your co-workers, you want to be able to enjoy them. Allow opportunities for your employees to get to know each other. 

You can do this through Taco Tuesday and Margarita nights at your local restaurant. Or even something as simple as spotlighting different employees in weekly emails. 

Acknowledge Anniversaries

When your employees stick around, acknowledge that every year. Not only does it show other employees that this is a company that people stay at, but it helps your employee feel valued. 

Acknowledge Birthdays

Take the time to celebrate the special moments in your employee’s lives, whether you do this with a cake or a card. Find fun ways to show your employees you notice them and value them. 

Build a Wall of Fame

This wall can be used for positive comments from customers. Or you can even have employees leave each other props on this wall. It will be fun for your employees to check this wall and see how they are appreciated. 

Build a Fun Office

Not every company has the ability to do this. However, if you can, make your office fun, do it. Offices that have unique designs can help your office be an environment that inspires creativity. 

Implement a Great Onboarding Program

Onboarding is essential to employee retention. A good onboarding program goes beyond day one paperwork. For your onboarding program to be effective, it will extend months into your employee joining the company. 

Part of your onboarding program will include introducing new employees to company culture, training, development, and evaluation. In an effective onboarding program, you will allow for the ability to give your new employees feedback as they get started and for that new employee to give you feedback as well. 

This will help you get to know them and help you learn what their needs are. This will also give them the opportunity to get to know you and be comfortable within their role. 

Create a Mentorship Program

Mentoring programs in the workplace benefit everyone involved. They also help to improve employee retention. Mentorship programs are a unique way to help develop and retain your employees. 

Other benefits include:

  • Job satisfaction
  • Succession planning
  • Developing leadership
  • Transferring knowledge
  • Professional development
  • Accountability
  • Stronger internal networks
  • Better teamwork

When you implement a mentorship program, be sure to take your time and choose good pairings when it comes to your mentors and mentees. Implement questionnaires that ask new employees about their goals and desires, and communication styles. 

This can help you make sure that you pair your employees in relationships that will work and be beneficial for both employees involved. 

Help Your Employees Goal Set

Have conversations with your employees about what their career goals are. Then take the time to help them plan actionable steps and find ways the company can help them. 

Through doing this, you can tailor additional learning opportunities to your developer as well. Helping your employees set career goals and follow through with them will let them know that you are willing to help them meet their goals. 

An employee that is able to meet goals will continue to grow and be happy within your company. These conversations can occur during supervision times. You can also make these conversations part of a mentorship program. 

Offer Collaboration Opportunities

Did you know that employees who feel they are part of a team are inspired to do their best? In addition, loyalty to a team encourages employees to stick around. 

With developers, you can provide the opportunity for collaboration through tools and software. You can also hold brainstorming sessions that allow different parts of the team to come together and solve problems or come up with ideas. 

Offer Employees the Opportunity to Give Back

When employees are given the opportunity to give back to their community, it promotes positive feelings. This can be done in a variety of ways. 

Partner With Local Organizations

Partner with a local charity and give employees time to volunteer. Or run food or clothing drives within your office. 

Have different teams adopt families in need during the Christmas season and put together holiday kits with gifts and food. Many organizations have programs for Christmas that need donors. 

Create a Disaster Fund for Employees

When employees find themselves in a tough place, give back to them. You can create a fund that employees are able to donate to throughout the year as they are able. Or you can have a pass-the-bucket scenario when something happens. 

Show your employees that you support them in the good and bad times. And allow your employees to give back to the community and to each other. 

Encourage Positivity

Everyone knows that one negative person that most people don’t want to be around. Negative attitudes spread and can impact your company. 

However, you’re in luck; positive attitudes can also spread and impact your company. Encouraging positivity will start at the top and trickle down. Find ways to encourage and appreciate people. 

Do not forget to smile and note the good things happening. Even in tough situations, find a way to not be a negative nancy. 

Pay Attention to Company Culture

A negative company culture leads to higher turnover rates. If you are going into an office with a bad culture day after day, your satisfaction with your job will decrease. 

As an employer, promoting a positive company culture is essential to your team’s success. So how do you do that? You take steps to implement the programs we discussed above. 

Start Early and Develop

Starting early and building into your rockstar software developers will help you attract, develop, and retain developers for your company. Make sure you do not just focus on the present, but the future as well. 

Golden Technology is here to help you build a family within the workplace that lasts. Reach out to us today for more information on our services and how we can help you. 

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