The lifeblood of many startups and scaleups all over the world, developers play a critical role in businesses. So when they move on to seemingly greener pastures, it can leave a big gap.
Although each developer has their own story to tell, there are overriding themes as to why they choose to leave businesses. Understanding not only the headline reason but also what brings it about can help you hold on to your best people.
Top of the list because it’s such an obvious choice – money. With the job market as it is right now for developers, salaries are going through the roof. This is great if you want to move somewhere else, but it can disenfranchise your existing devs. As wages for new starters spike, your seasoned employee’s wages stagnate and once they recognize this they’ll look for a better paying role unless you come to the table and lift them to the new industry rate.
No Clear Path
This can start right at the beginning of a developer’s time with your business – perhaps even as early as the interview stage. Any new starter needs to be given a clear path to success and progression in your business and the longer this takes the easier it will be for them to think about what it might be like working somewhere else. Not every developer wants to be locked into a single path, they might find a new technology that they love, but there needs to be something that they can begin to follow early in a role.
Lack of Tech Alignment
Devs are a group that needs to be stimulated by ideas, technology, and their work. Not every project that a developer works on is going to use the tech stack they’re most interested in, but business leaders often forget to lobby clients to work in a stack that their developers love. If developers aren’t given opportunities to work on the platforms they love, they’ll seek a place where they can make more tech choices.
Working in IT is tough – there’s no doubt about that. Typically, developers work longer hours than many other professions. This is partly because of passion for their work, but also because it’s such a competitive industry they need to stay ahead of – or at least at pace with – their peers. If left unchecked, this can lead to fatigue in development teams, and often developers will put blame on the businesses they’re employed by for this. Businesses should keep an eye on staff welfare and step in when they think someone is doing too much.
No Real Vision
If your business doesn’t know where it’s going your devs certainly won’t. Just like clear career paths, developers want to know they are a part of trying to achieve something greater than themselves. They want to see that what they do matters and has a positive impact on the mission of the company they’re a part of. If a developer doesn’t believe what they are doing makes a difference, they’ll find a place where they are valued.