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What do you really want from your employer?

Nina Elisabeth Berge on December 04, 2019

I am working with companies that are in need of software developers and the market is so tight at the moment, yet we do see candidates change from ... [Read Full]
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  • Remote work. I think it's valuable to be co-located with the people you work with, but I want to be able to work from home at least one or two days during the week.
  • An exciting product. I'd rather work with a product that I believe makes the world a better place and that I'm proud to talk about with my friends than yet another e-commerce tool that's just making somebody else richer than they need to be.
  • Sustainable. I want to work for a company that's aware of environmental, social and economic issues and tries to minimise its impact in those matters. Also, a company that takes decisions thinking long term and not in quarterly benefits.
  • Autonomy. I want to work in an autonomous team where me and my colleagues can decide how we want to work, how we want to solve the technical challenges we face and which tools to use.
  • Semi-flat hierarchy/few office politics. I despise having to appeal to egos, changes getting stuck because people have hidden agendas and chains of commandment so long I can't see the end, which usually means that when I need a decision taken, nobody I know has the mandate to take it and whoever has the mandate, doesn't take it because they are too far detached from my context and don't understand it.
 

First of all, would you mind describing better what you meant by "[...] and the market is so tight at the moment,"? I'm a software developer myself so I'm curious on another perspective about our industry.

Now, to answer your question about the most important things an employer can offer:

  1. Competitive, expected salary. If developer asked for X, employer pays X / 2, then I think they'll be hired already unmotivated and inclined to leave as soon as an opportunity that pays more shows up.

  2. Organization. Chaos leads to fatigue, which leads to non-motivated people. That said, having clarity on the requirements of a developer's task, concise step-by-step on how to achieve it leads to successful deliveries and developer's happiness.

  3. Recognition. The developer nailed the last sprint? Oh well, yes they're being paid to do so, but paying a beer and sending them a "GREAT JOB!" on Slack in the #general channel doesn't hurt.

  4. Listen. I already worked on two types of companies: those that listen and those that don't. At those that listen, most of the times, for me, were win-win situations. Of course, sometimes we fail on our ideas etc, but "History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people.".

  5. Make something different. No matter how great the environment is or how much you make ($), there's always that moment when people hit a wall and there's no more pleasure on the day-to-day work. I remember once, I reported to a leader I had that I wasn't motivated and quite exhausted of my routine tasks and he assigned me to a completely new, challenging, different task. A really unusual one, with different technologies and all. I felt in love again and that meant one more year in that company.

Yeah, I think these are the top five. And between us, nothing a company can't achieve, right? Hope you find something useful.

Cheers,

 

Thank you for you answer :)

What I ment by "tight market" is that there is a high demand for software developers in Norway at the moment. We know that there is a lot of excellent software developers outside Norway, like you guys here, and some of you would even love to move to Norway, but many companies are looking for those who are fluent in the Norwegian language (mostly due to building their own company culture and because of internal communication, and also the consultant companies needs Norwegian speaking consultants because their clients demand it).

So all the answers I get here, will be useful for us in recruitment, as we work as advisors for companies, and we can help them create an environment and build awareness on what is important, besides competitive salary, to attract software candidates with passion. Nina :)

 

I've been at my company now 7 years, and have been contemplating a slightly similar question: what keeps me here?

For me it boils down to a few things that the other folks here have said:

  • salary - I'm making more than I know what to do with so that's a good problem to have. Salary alone isn't enough to make me switch.
  • being able to work remotely - most of the many teams I've been on have fully remote folks so because of that, I run the team with a remote-first mindset. That means that everyone on my team can work remotely without skipping a beat. It's nice being able to go snowboarding in the middle of the day, and then finish up my work later on after the sun goes down.
  • a product/mission worth spending time on. I work in edtech for elementary/middle school. There's thousands of students and teachers who directly benefit from my work. I don't care for working on the next social media app that's disrupts disruption; to each their own.
  • a great team - I've been on teams where my manager sucks, or I have to work with people who can't pull their weight, or people whose worldviews are in conflict with mine. Working with people I enjoy and who enjoy working with me far outweighs a change of scenery. The grass is always greener on the other side, but this grass is looking pretty green anyway (for now, anyway).
  • being able to change teams/work on different problems - I've worked on backend, front end, and even led a devops team for a few years. If they wouldn't have given me the option to switch, I'd be forced to go elsewhere. Next time I get bored, I just need to ask around what people are working on and choose the coolest problem.
 

Money. Low pressure/low stress work culture. Other excellent devs working there already. Career path available above the position in question. Good commute.

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