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So you’ve got your dream developer in the door, but what are you going to do to make sure they stick around? Employee retention is crucial in all industries but is especially vital for technical employees. And the best way to understand how to retain employees is to know what they are looking for in their job. Is salary super important to them staying? Do they need a clear growth path to commit to your job?

Our annual developer survey revealed some interesting findings of what experienced developers care about in their jobs – and, consequently, which aspects would help retain them for years to come. Developers with more years of experience said the following three elements were key to retaining them.

Open Up Your Technology Stack

Developers want to be continuously learning, and one way to allow them to do just that is to be flexible with your technology stack. If you’re limiting your development team to one or two technologies or programming languages, it’s likely your staff will get bored. If a developer can teach themselves the newest technology and get their job done successfully (or even faster), isn’t that the end goal?

While certain business constraints – like budget or resources-- can restrict technical teams from using whichever technology they prefer, generally these can be worked around. The current technical team should ultimately be the ones making these types of decisions, not someone in HR or Operations.

Allow Them to Make Decisions without Roadblocks

If a developer has to jump through hoops to get his or her job done, they likely won’t be staying there for long. When a business decision that involves the software your developers are working on is made by a non-technical employee, it can frustrate the technical team. If the experts on your new piece of software are the developers, then allow them to make these critical decisions without roadblocks or push back.

Technical decisions more often than not have large implications on the business as a whole. Some companies even stand by the statement, “technical decisions are business decisions” (or vice versa). If you haven’t reevaluated your decision-making process as a company, now is the time to do so.

Give Them the Option to Work Remotely

Most developers can get their job done just about anywhere, making remote work an increasingly common part of a company’s “perks.” Of those developers who work remotely full-time, 14% have 11+ years of experience (we referred to them as “experienced developers” earlier in this post). From these numbers, we could hypothesize that employers may be more likely to allow remote workers who have “been around the block” or “paid their dues”, and that those who have had more experience are generally older and may have additional needs for working remotely, such as a family.

While we encourage employers to allow remote work for developers of all ages and backgrounds, you may find that this strategy helps your retention for certain employees more than others.

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