How to Motivate Software Developers?Asmaa Nasr
Many software organizations have accelerated their transition to remote work as a result of the pandemic, and the way developers work has radically changed. Talented developers were once forced to relocate as a condition of permanent employment, resulting in the companies’ loss of talent. The tech industry, on the other hand, discovered a solution in remote work and is now a leader in progressive work-from-home (WFH) policy.
However, because remote working has drawbacks, remaining motivated as a developer might be difficult. Software development, for example, is a creative career with a lot of pressure to create high-quality results. This constant strain can lead to burnout, which can suffocate motivation, which is crucial for remote work.
When your development staff loses motivation, productivity drops significantly, which can have a negative impact on your organization. As a result, you could be asking how to stay motivated at work in order to be more productive.
How to Keep Software Developers Motivated?
You undoubtedly want to ensure that, despite their hard jobs, your staff will give it their all and achieve exceptional outcomes when working on projects. The good news is that you may use a variety of tactics to keep your software developers motivated.
1. Set Clear Project Objectives
Nothing kills motivation like not knowing where you want to go as a group. Your development team will not get the greatest outcomes if they are working on a project with no clear goals or principles.
It is your responsibility to clearly define the project’s goals; otherwise, disputes and misunderstandings among team members may arise. The last thing you want is for someone to work on a piece of software only to have it rejected later because it didn’t fulfil the requirements.
Furthermore, you do not want team members to compete with one another. It’ll be a complete waste of time and money. That’s why, especially with remote teams, it’s critical to have everyone on the same page.
To avoid misunderstanding and low productivity, make sure that everyone on your team has the same vision of the final goal. They will be focused and driven to accomplish the jobs efficiently and on schedule once they know which path to go in.
2. Foster Psychological Safety
The importance of psychological safety in the workplace is something that most managers overlook. This is the assumption that giving opinions, comments, ideas, or asking for aid will not cause embarrassment, humiliation, or punishment.
A development team relies largely on collaboration, and when there is a high level of psychological safety, they will know that their efforts, no matter how insignificant, are recognized. This builds team members’ confidence and trust, two attributes that might help them perform better as a whole.
Leadership, on the other hand, is critical in creating such an environment. Leaders must instill the proper mindset and behaviors in their employees. They will have a big impact on their teams if they set the correct tone.
Leaders who are helpful and collaborative also contribute to the creation of a positive environment, which promotes psychological safety. The leader can then challenge his or her team to exceed expectations and achieve their goals.
Furthermore, as a leader, you must exhibit the following leadership behaviors:
- Supportive – showing sincere and authentic interest in those around you and being friendly and approachable;
- Participative – consulting with your team before making decisions;
- Directive – giving your workers a clear direction to follow (for example, how to perform a task);
- Inspiring – creating an inspiring environment that propels your team to see beyond their perceived limitations and step up to new challenges.
According to a McKinsey poll, leadership practices have a direct impact on the team’s psychological safety. A positive team climate is enhanced by a corporation that supports positive leadership relationships. As a result, the company benefits from increased innovation and creativity.
Introduce leadership development programs that will help promote positive leadership behaviors at all levels of your organization to ensure psychological safety reigns supreme. Team leaders will be more positioned to promote psychological safety within the team after they learn these skills.
3. Involve Everyone in Decision Making
It’s critical to include your development team in all decision-making processes. Make sure everyone is present when you call a meeting to discuss the next project’s designs and architecture. The team will feel more valued as a result, and will be more inclined to make better design judgments or ideas.
Don’t just allow the senior software engineer discuss their thoughts and solutions during meetings. Instead, invite everyone on the team to participate so you can hear everyone’s diverse perspectives.
Keep in mind that introverts are less likely to contribute unless they are asked. So don’t be hesitant to ask them about their opinions and ideas in advance.
More importantly, value your developers’ suggestions. Being receptive to fresh ideas encourages team members to speak up and share their thoughts. This will not only aid in the development of better working relationships, but it will also keep projects on track.
4. Listen to Your Dev Team
In both their personal and professional life, everyone faces distinct obstacles and perspectives. What inspires one person may be incomprehensible to another. As a result, learn to pay attention to the individual demands of each member of your team.
Make one-on-ones a regular occurrence by scheduling them at a convenient time. Take use of this opportunity to address any issues that are plaguing your team and to resolve individual difficulties.
Don’t stop there, though. Be actionable and follow up to ensure that all issues have been rectified. You must learn to listen more than you speak at such discussions. It is, after all, your employee’s right to air their grievances, not yours.
5. Create Learning Opportunities
One thing is certain: programming necessitates continuous learning. There’s always fresh code or frameworks to learn about. Software development is one of the fastest-growing occupations in the world, according to data, therefore each employee you have is an asset worth maintaining.
It is critical to provide compensated on-the-job time for acquiring new skills, not only for personal satisfaction but also for motivation. Find out if your developers have taken any extra classes and offer to pay for them.
They will be loyal to your firm since you are interested in their professional progress.
6. Help Teams Set Work-Life Boundaries
The ability to unplug after hours is one of the most common issues faced by remote workers. According to Buffer’s State of Remote Work 2021, unplugging from work is the main pain problem for 27% of respondents.
Working and resting in the same place can be distracting and even confusing for most people. That is why dividing the room is a smart idea.
One advantage of having a separate workspace is that as soon as you ‘enter’ the office, your mind turns to work mode. When you ‘shut’ the workplace, your mind goes to ‘relax’ mode.
As a manager, you can assist your development team in developing their own transition patterns that indicate to the brain when a workday is coming to a close. Here are a couple of ideas:
- Request your CEO or leaders to share publicly how they structure their day. This might motivate your remote teams to emulate their strategies to set work boundaries.
- Check your company holiday calendar and find if there are ways to offer extra all-staff off days outside of your general holiday calendar.
- Suggest they find an activity that can help the brain recognize the transition to non-work mode. This could be as simple as shutting the work computer and leaving the home office or turning on the radio or TV. Alternatively, one could go for a short walk or bike ride, to the gym, or for a swim – ideally anything that contrasts a workday.
Burnout will be reduced once your staff understands how to set work-life limits. As a result, they will always be energized when they arrive at work.
7. Encourage Better Work-Life Balance
According to research conducted by The Corporate Executive Board, workers who have a better work-life balance work 21% harder. Employees are also more likely to stay at the organization for 33% longer.
You don’t give your employees a cause to look for work elsewhere, and the key is to promote a healthy work-life balance. You can assist your teams by:
- Offering them more flexible work options;
- Encouraging them to set clear work boundaries, as pointed out above;
- Encouraging them to take regular breaks;
- Setting a positive example;
- Assessing team members’ workloads to avoid overload.
8. Prioritize Your Team’s Well-Being
Even before Covid, employers began to show concern for their employees’ health. Since the pandemic, however, there has been a greater emphasis on employees’ physical and mental well-being.
Why? During the epidemic, stress and burnout were at an all-time high. Many employees have found the years 2020 and 2021 to be the most difficult, and businesses are increasingly focused on safeguarding their well-being.
The dating startup Bumble, for example, took virtually its entire crew on a week off for ‘mental wellness.’ The holiday was intended to assist the employees recover from burnout, according to Whitney Wolfe Herd, the company’s CEO.
Showing your employees that you care about them may be a great incentive, since it increases their happiness by 3.2 times. You don’t have to go as far as Bumble Inc. and offer your employees a week off. Simple actions like checking in on them on a regular basis to see how they’re doing can help.
Another strategy that works well is to offer employees care packages with their favorite items. It might be a box of murder mystery games, sweets to share with family, or gift certificates. You might even get together as a group to commemorate anniversaries or birthdays.
9. Maintain a Positive Atmosphere
Every programmer approaches their work in a unique way, and not all programs will work as planned. Accept that there are some things you can’t control at work, and that your teams will be under a lot of pressure at times.
Keep in mind that emotion has a direct impact on how motivated your employees are. So, discover strategies to manage negative feedback and avoid dismissing a developer’s contributions. Be sure to offer constructive criticism in addition to complimentary praise for a job well done.
As the head of a software development team, you must learn to deal with differing ideas and opinions. Allowing disagreements to arise or team members clashing over the best course of action is not a good idea.
Disagreements will be there, and it’s your responsibility to encourage healthy discussions. Eventually, this will promote sustained motivation.
10. Give Autonomy to Your Development Team
Micromanagement is something that software developers despise. If a management exerts too much control, even the most engaged developer may lose motivation. You may think you’re reassuring them, but you’re actually doing the opposite.
Micromanagement, according to research, can result in low morale, decreased productivity, and increased worker turnover. It also contributes to the possibility of a company’s overall growth slowing down.
Furthermore, micromanaging your team gives the appearance that you don’t trust or believe in their ability to complete the task. As a result of his or her powerlessness, the worker may become disloyal or resentful. As a result, they may decide to pursue other opportunities.
Allow your development team to take a breath and make their own conclusions. This will not only raise their self-esteem, but it will also help them develop their creative abilities.
Implementing a work time tracker to manage all work processes is one method to prevent micromanaging your development team. You’ll be able to keep track of which tasks are being completed and by whom.
You can even track each task’s progress and estimate how long it will take to accomplish it. All you have to do now is assign assignments, provide clear instructions, and let them get on with their work.
A time tracking tool can be used for more than just keeping track of your work progress. It keeps track of a worker’s performance and productivity, which can help you better manage their responsibilities. Furthermore, the reports can indicate weaknesses in work procedures, allowing you to analyze and make changes.
11. Offer Them Flexibility
According to EY, 54% of employees throughout the world would quit their employment if they were not allowed some type of flexibility. Nine out of ten employees, according to the report, want flexibility in where and when they work.
Flexibility in the workplace is critical for both the health of a company and the wellbeing of its people. In fact, according to a Forbes article, flexible workers are not only more productive, but they are also happier and take less sick days.
Flexibility in your development team’s work schedule can assist them manage their personal responsibilities when they need to, reducing stress and worry. Obviously, important job duties, meetings, and the overall schedule should always take precedence.
12. Encourage Your Team to Keep a Schedule
According to a LinkedIn research, top executives are focusing on modifying their workplace regulations to provide more flexibility. Encourage your employees to stick to a routine, even if their schedules are flexible.
Maintaining a healthy work-life balance can be difficult when working remotely. You’ll know when to wake up, when to start working, and when to unplug if you stick to a timetable.
Making this a habit will allow you to better manage your work time and enjoy your spare time without having to stress about work.
13. Rethink Your Recognition and Reward Strategies
To begin with, you’re making an expensive mistake if you don’t recognize and reward your software development team. The number one reason 36& of employees stated they’d consider quitting their employment was a lack of appreciation. As a leader, you don’t want a high turnover rate mixed with the expense of acquiring new personnel.
Companies that adopt recognition programs, on the other hand, have a 31% lower voluntary turnover rate, according to a Deloitte study.
It doesn’t have to be anything extravagant or large to be meaningful. It’s the little things that count. An employee may only want to hear a simple “thank you” from their boss. You could, on the other hand, set up a private or company-wide video conference to express your gratitude to a team member.
Here are other recognition ideas you can implement with your dev team:
- Gift cards;
- Movie tickets;
- Bonus pay;
- Celebrating an employee’s years of services in the company;
- Recognizing your best performer on social media;
- Rewarding your star employee with a rotating trophy;
- Offering a surprise time off.
The objective is to encourage continual and ongoing acknowledgement. Make it a point to thank everyone of your employees, regardless of their rank or position. They will work harder and be happy if they believe their efforts will be recognized and rewarded.
14. Ensure They Take Regular Breaks
The value of taking breaks during the working cannot be overstated. No one can work nonstop for long periods of time, and working when tired can lead to creative blockages and blunders. “Excessive focus exhausts the focus circuits in your brain,” according to science.
Developers’ work can be physically and mentally demanding. Don’t wait until your developers are exhausted to take action. Encourage them to take frequent breaks while working in order to allow their brains to recharge.
Teams can, for example, work for 45 minutes and then take a five-minute break, or work for 90 minutes and then have a 17-minute break.
Ask everyone to find a rhythm for work and breaks that works best for them and implement it in their work routines. Additionally, consider organizing vacations at least once a year to help teams recuperate and “heal.” They will come back more motivated and ready to code.
15. Set a Good Example
Everything you do is noticed by your coworkers. So, if you want to properly motivate people, you need lead by example as their boss. Keep in mind that as a leader, your level of motivation is more contagious. In everything you do, your team is more inclined to follow your lead.
They may lose motivation if they discover you aren’t fully invested in a project. Regarding respect, the same can be said. Respect your team first if you want them to respect you.
Keep that in mind whenever you’re working with your group.
Motivate Your Development Teams to Improve Engagement
According to the most current State of Remote Engineering Report, over 60% of developers already work remotely. Of course, there are other advantages, like flexible work schedules, enhanced work-life balance, and the elimination of the need to relocate.
It’s no surprise, then, that developers prefer to work from home. According to the 2020 State of Salaries survey, roughly a third of tech professionals would take a lower salary if they could work from home full-time. Employees that are happier are more productive, of course.
There isn’t a single way to encourage a group of software engineers, but if you hunt for one, you’ll find a plethora of resources online that describe how to stay motivated as a software developer. We’ve highlighted some of the best and most effective tactics and ideas for employee motivation in software development organizations in this article.
Find out what works best for you and your team, and figure out how to put it into practice. If you lead a team, make sure they know you’re personable, listen well, and are always willing to help. If you’re still not sure “how to,” you can always seek professional help to ensure that you and your team are on the same page.