You're ready to step into your first software development job, or perhaps part ways with your old company- either way, you'll want to work with a firm that can provide you incentives that go beyond salary and paid holidays. You'll want a firm that can help you grow in your field and polish your skills. There are four unique characteristics of such firms:
What to look for in your dream employer?
- The firm takes on unique challenges that help challenge its employees and stimulates growth
- The firm values its employees’ input and welcomes any suggestions pitched in by them
- The firm encourages its employees to be thought leaders
- The firm has an open team culture with a flat hierarchy that gives employees a greater sense of control over their work
As an employee looking for a good company to work for, you may be having a difficult time in narrowing down your list to a few good ones. Very commonly, factors like salary and other fringe benefits are a part of the equation. The best employees not only want monetary benefits, but they are increasingly inclining towards wanting something more- a higher quality of work and life in general.
This guide will help you dig beyond the surface of monetary incentives and opportunities for growth, to find out what more to look for in the qualities of a good employer. What are some of the key characteristics employees look for in an employer?
Characteristic 1: this firm prefers to take on unique projects that are innovative in their respective tech spaces and ones that their engineers would enjoy working on as a challenge.
This is beneficial for the work motivation of their employees as it offers them the chance to work on projects and developing software they will find interesting. This helps ensure that team members invest in their projects with full dedication, as working on pioneering projects in their respective fields helps team members grow professionally. This also leads to better retention which means that more knowledge regarding the product stays in the team, so as you learn and grow, the chances of you needing to seek new avenues in a different firm are reduced significantly.
This also benefits the employer, as motivated employees lead to optimum project delivery because software development is thorough, architecturally sound and scalable. There is less need for the client to be involved in micromanaging whether the engineers are being productive with their time or not. This leads to less friction and fewer distractions for the engineers and will allow them to focus on their work.
Characteristic 2: Ideal development teams are open to valuable suggestions and input made by their employees, as well as exploring avenues that may benefit the employee’s growth and their respective projects.
Having team members from all areas, feeling involved in the project, often leads to suggestions around use cases and user experience. The best kind of employers will encourage a motivated team of employees who are active participants in the work process by offering their suggestions regarding any improvements that can be made to the project. A good employer will set up teams that have members with a diverse skill set so that not only is the product well-made, but in addition, the employees have a chance to acquire skills from each other that they previously did not have. Teams will often do design iterations and compile documents on suggested enhancements and improvements, and share these with the client to provide additional perspectives that will add value to the product.
A recent industry example of how good employers empower their employees is of a project team developing an interior design application. The team suggested and organized a company-wide room designing competition which gave them a host of useful data and possible areas of improvement; the idea for the competition arose from within the team because of the confidence and motivation injected into the employees by the employer. This had a twofold benefit of boosting the employee morale as well as pleasing the client, who in this case was very excited to see the results, all due to employee empowerment and adequate delegation by the employer.
Characteristic 3: The best kind of employer is the one that encourages and develops its employees to be thought leaders in their domains.
This is beneficial to both the employees as well as the clients, as it means that teams and their managers are constantly striving to improve project processes and adapting these to the client's requirements as and where needed. Such employers build organizations that often follow a set of guidelines, such as the Agile methodology but also simultaneously encourage innovation in project practices to allow each team’s employees to find the best method for their situation. This allows employees to be flexible and adapt, not only to the nature of different projects but also to different stages within the same project.
It is beneficial to look for software development companies that have ‘organizational memory’ through a shared pool of knowledge around processes which ensures that experienced resources can be leaned on for advice and guidance- this will not only benefit the clients but will give the employees a chance to learn and grow significantly
Characteristic 4: An employer who encourages an open team culture and a flat hierarchy allows its employees to grow in their positions and better manage their product life cycle
Project teams can often rely on cross-functional and cross-domain collaboration within the company to help out where needed. They will often develop reusable components that save time and effort in the development phase and give them a technological edge. Employees that display these desirable characteristics are always committed to delivering projects on time and within budget. They will keep a constant track of the budget consumed and notify all the relevant stakeholders where needed. Such an approach to projects and investment in the project’s success bestows the employees with valuable skills that will benefit them greatly in the future.
Inculcating product leadership is an essential trait of a good employer. When doing your due diligence at the job hunting stage, it is also worth investing time to ask questions about the culture and process that the company encourages, as well as looking for proof of product leadership through previous projects and the company’s underlying values. These intangibles will be more likely to lead to a successful career at the company.