So, how does a company like yours, stay ahead of the curve with these code warriors? Here are 8 smart ways that can help you attract, retain this vital tech talent: Bring them together: Developers work remotely in islands in different time zones, teams, locations. If it’s outsourced and there are multiple parties, there’s a culture vacuum. To make it worse, besides email there are myriad apps and services that everyone uses. There can be a disconnect – each with their own ‘subculture’. Instead of getting lost in the noise of communication, introduce a single channel that ties in mobile, their coding tools, Slack, Skype, emails, WhatsApp and more. Meet Franz (https://meetfranz.com)2 can bring teams and services together. Use a message board like Trello, so everyone is on the same page. Ideas and information is visual and shared. A culture that brings everyone together wins. Digital detox: Longer working hours tend to affect developer productivity. Most work over 12-15 hours a day staring at screens. It’s no surprise sleep disorders, backaches, RSI is common. When the team’s unwell, it doesn’t help. Encourage breakout sessions; off days or teleworking day. Create a monthly yoga day. Invite a Taichi or Reiki master for a morning session Organize boot camps or retreats. Gift the whole team fitness trackers with a leaderboard and rewards. Healthy body and mind leads to good code. Create mentorships: Assign a developer with a Senior manager from other departments. It lets them get to know each other, understand their respective roles and creates empathy for what each one does. The old can learn from the young and vice versa. Such cross-functional interaction helps collaboration and for ideas to grow. Considering most developers are millennials, it’s great to have someone to learn from or look up to. Involve them: Developers are there not just for fixing bugs and taking specs. Involve them in strategy, sales meetings, and surveys. If their work affects everyone, clearly their inputs matter. Take them on ‘field trips’ to interact with real customers, partners or suppliers. Make them a part of ‘big picture’ discussions and ask them how technology can be applied. Upskill them: Developers love to learn, solve problems, and tinker. Give them access to online training academies like Lynda, Udemy, and others. It helps them sharpen skills and get certified. It also helps your talent to stand out and attract clients. Encourage them to sign up for free online courses from the world’s top universities; give them an invite to a workshop, event or conference. Invite consultants and motivational speakers to give them a different perspective. Pay a small part for extended education time. Treat it as a training or part of R&D budget. Borrow a page from Google’s playbook where where employees use 20% of their week to work on side projects or new ideas. Be flexible: Unlike the sales team that has targets, some roles are harder to quantify. Evaluate and incentivize them based on user satisfaction, least bugs, app ratings or downloads – not lines of code churned, or hours at their desk. Share goals, aspirations, plans, roadmaps, vision not KPIs. If they need to work from home occasionally; try new software, clock in late after a long night, do so. Adopt ‘Scrum’ – a method to develop software that’s less rigid and adapts to changing needs and deadlines. This helps avoid burnout and stress. ‘Communitize’: Encourage employees, including your dev team, to rally for an event with the local charity or sponsor a walk. Involve them in community service, such as in-office event to donate blood, recycling or volunteer to causes. This involves interaction with outsiders and a great way to socialize away from social media. Encourage them to give back ‘the developer way’ i.e. by contributing code to the open source community; participate in ‘bug bounties’, user forums or do probono work (website for a charity maybe). This gives them and your company recognition, respect amongst peers.