Let’s talk about winning the war for technical talent. It is incredibly tough. Here’s what the Boston Globe reported in 2016:
Software developers right out of college can command starting salaries of up to $90,000. Once in their jobs, they can get as many as 20 recruiting calls a day trying to convince them to leave for another company. And when they do, a 20 percent to 25 percent bump in salary is not unusual.
If you want to avoid keeping technology recruiters on speed dial, you need to think of ways to improve retention and keep your technical talent engaged.
What do you need to attract and retain the best engineers and developers?
Excellent salaries and benefits are table stakes in the industry. That is not enough to win. What else matters? How about interesting work and minimizing annoying administrative activities? After all, tech professionals did not spend hours learning how to build their skills to do dull coding tasks over and over again. As a manager, what can you do to improve tech employee morale?
What Are Your Options To Boost Tech Employee Morale?
As a manager, what options do you have in your toolbox to keep your developers and engineers happy and engaged? There are at least three possibilities on the table.
1) Offer Google-style employee amenities
Google is legendary for offering free food and other benefits to its employees at its head office in California. If you have the resources, by all means, go ahead and try it. Aside from the incredibly high fixed costs, there is another problem with boosting morale by offering lavish amenities. Free food and other perks do not help your employees to grow: well fed but bored engineers will not stay around forever.
Verdict: To do this well requires tremendous resources. It is not the best approach for most companies. If you are determined to beat Google in this arena? A 2008 estimate found that Google spends $72 million a year on this benefit.
2) Offer career growth opportunities to your technical talent
In the technology industry, short-term thinking is a problem. That suggests one way you can stand out in encouraging your talent. Providing growth opportunities may take the form of funding your staff to attend conferences. Alternatively, your developers might be interested in greater exposure to customers and the business impact of their code. Overall, this is an excellent strategy to boost morale, but it does take time and dedication to see the results.
Verdict: An excellent strategy to pursue! It does take time and attention from management to bring this strategy to life. It is not a quick fix by any means.
3) Use containers to automate routine tasks
What gets most developers out of bed in the morning? The answer will probably be some variation of “solve interesting technical problems.” There’s just one problem. Your technical staff likely have to spend quite a bit of time on boring, repetitive tasks — getting servers done, checking configuration files — before they can get done to the actual creative work of coding. Containers are a good way to get rid of those dull tasks.
Verdict: Finally, a quick win! Equipping your people with better technology tools lets them focus on interesting problems.
Four Ways Containers Improve Morale for Technology Workers
Containers and containerization are still a relatively new technology. Here’s a quick definition from Techopedia to get us on the same page: “In containerization, the operating system is shared by the different containers rather than cloned for each virtual machine.”
Now, let’s take a closer look at how adding this technology to your organization boosts retention.
1) Demonstrates company commitment to new technologies
It may be hard to prove with an ROI calculation, but tech professionals do care about the environment they work in. If developers are forced to work with outdated, slow computers, they will grumble. If a lack of tools and resources means they have to do all their work manually, don’t be surprised if they start to take those recruiting calls.
By adopting containerization at your company, your technologists can see the company’s commitment to new technologies. That leaves one question — how exactly are you going to get containers up and running? We will turn to that point next.
2) Implementing containers as a project: a development opportunity
Once you decide to adopt containerization or simply try a pilot project, you need someone to lead the effort. This is the perfect topic to raise at your next team meeting. Ask who is interested in acting as “technical lead” or “project manager” on the project to adopt containers. As the project is planned, include cybersecurity in the project scope. Avatier’s Identity-as-a-Container (IDaaC) Platform keeps your container data safe.
Resource: Need to build your business case with senior management on why they should support containers? Read our past article: 7 Productivity Benefits of Using Containers.