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What else do companies have to do to keep Software Engineers?

30. March 2008 22:09 by Scott in   //  Tags: , , , ,   //   Comments (14)

A few days ago, I read a great article about creating a Great Place to work for software engineers.

It covers the newly tried and successful 4-day work week, Working from home on Flexible time, profit sharing, and overtime.  I do have a few thoughts on this though.  The 4-day work week is an amzing feature, I love the idea of this and would hope that all companies would either implement the 4-day work week or the 20% Google Time. I would love either one to be implemented. The work from home and Flex time is an amazing feature and I have personally written to my companies Vice President for a request on this one along with the 20% time.  She only said that she forwarded to HR.  This makes me sad.  Profit sharing and overtime, I agree that there should be no profit sharing, because this income only allows the company to grow and push out into more fields of their prospective market.

I would like to add two more requirements to the list.

1. Two monitors that measure at 19" or bigger.
2. A very comfortable High Back chair.  The current chair I would in is high back, but it doesn't support my back the way it needs to. I honestly think very little research went into these kinds of chairs.

Before I would ever get hired by another company, these two things would be requirements on my part.

Scott Pio

Comments (14) -

Rob Whelan
Rob Whelan
4/1/2008 9:19:26 AM #

I think the simple answer is "make smart, honest & flexible HR decisions".  Whoever's making these decisions in the company needs to have enough information to discuss the pros & cons of all of these various options (and should be actively learning about them!), to evaluate the cost & benefits to productivity, developer and customer satisfaction, etc., and to experiment as needed.

Not every company has the margins to risk many changes.  Those that *do* have comfortable profit margins and can really spoil their engineers may end up with some very loyal engineers -- which is great if they are just naturally very productive, but it may also lead to complacency, laziness, and things not getting done, simply because the pressure is gone... which in turn means that the profit margin will vanish, the company's reputation go down the tubes, and you and your happy engineers may all be circling the drain.  Someone must have their finger on the pulse, actively making changes.

Honesty and transparency are very important -- even if your company isn't rolling in dough, there are still perks you can give engineers... and one major one is simply keeping them informed honestly.  If they are being told that the company is struggling and everyone's taking pay cuts... but your upper management is still rolling into work late two days a week in very expensive automobiles, they will be updating their CVs.

Senseless rigidity is a big lose -- if employees want more flexible time and options to work from home, it's quite possible that the company will get *more* value out of them as well as make them happy by accommodating that.  If it's not clear, do a trial run.  Too many companies will simply say "that's against the policy" without even considering it.  Well, who wrote the policy?  If it's all fixed in stone and nobody cares what we want, we're updating our CVs.

Scott
Scott
4/1/2008 9:43:54 AM #

Thanks Rob, that was a really "full of thought" reply.

Ambuj Agrawal
Ambuj Agrawal
4/1/2008 10:42:29 PM #

Nice. And I thought it was happening only in India or similar '3rd world' countries where the IT industry, its culture is in a very nascent stage.

Scott
Scott
4/2/2008 8:53:39 AM #

What do you mean, you thought it was only happening in India?  Do you mean, that people are asking for more when a company is looking to hire?

Ambuj Agrawal
Ambuj Agrawal
4/2/2008 10:33:37 PM #

@Scott
Why I said so was because the *same* set of problems/issues are irking lot of techies/geeks in India. What they simply are asking for is a conducive environment (== *everything above* PLUS *empathetic HR policies*) for a geek to let its creative juices work at best!

But rather then that, we sit for 12 hrs in an ergonomically bad chair, slow computers which takes ages to compile a big server module, unpredictable networks, and with all that, we are expected to meet the *impossible* deadlines. There is a Dilbert in every IT dept. [Smile]

Scott
Scott
4/3/2008 5:53:00 AM #

@Ambuj
You know, I feel somewhat bad for you. I can understand your frustration and problems with the companies over there. I too slouch a bit in my unergonomic chair which of course, I had to ask for to get. The two monitors came with getting hired. Hopefully over there, they value experience so when you do go looking for a new job they can honor requests you make. How is the job market over there, is it flooded or are they always looking?
I also wanted to say congrats, you now have the most comments posted on my blog. heh. Too bad you don't have a website.

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12/10/2008 6:06:45 AM #

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12/10/2008 10:46:20 PM #

I thought it was happening only in India or similar '3rd world' countries where the IT industry, its culture is in a very nascent stage.
thanks..

Scott
Scott
1/16/2009 8:11:34 AM #

Would you like to give me a list of those places.  Would love to know.

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