Evolving Factors Driving Employee Decisions | BlueOptima

5 min readDec 21, 2021


Potential employees are now more informed, educated and purposeful about which company they would like to join. As a result, organisations need to find ways to stand out from their competitors. In this article, we will explore the reasons influencing a candidate’s choice of company, and how you can cater to these evolving factors to attract (and retain) top talent.

What Influences a Software Developer’s Choice of Workplace?

The pressing need for industry-wide transformation and digital-first consumer habits have created the perfect storm for a candidate-led market in software development. Discover five factors driving a candidate’s choice of workplace below to stay competitive in this challenging hiring market.

1. Company Culture in Software Development

Company culture is the sum of employees’ and leaders’ behaviours and values that feed into the holistic working experience. If a company has a healthy culture, it can propel a person’s career. But, if it’s unhealthy, it can have a distinctly negative impact on the person’s growth and development as a software engineer.

An increasing number of software companies are committed to improving their culture. For instance, take the tech giant Google. They promote the idea of ‘uncomfortably exciting’, which empowers employees to innovate and solve the world’s biggest problems with the best possible use of technology.

Google also takes a temperature check every year to determine how employees feel about company culture, compensation, managers, work/life balance and more.

How to Improve Company Culture

We recognise that the majority of companies don’t have access to the resources that Google has, but it doesn’t cost much to enhance company culture.

Start by laying a solid foundation of shared values, goals and principles. Collaboration comes easy and business success is more achievable when people have the same priorities.

Asking for employee feedback is also simple, thanks to platforms such as SurveyMonkey or Trickle.

2. Flexible Working

The 9–5 office environment restricts workers to an outdated organisational structure that’s not always conducive to high productivity. Perhaps that’s why more and more companies are waving goodbye to the 9–5 in favour of flexible working.

Salesforce is just one company that has come out in full support of flexible working by declaring the 9–5 dead. While this is a somewhat extreme stance, it’s expected by many that the future of work is flexible.

In fact, hybrid working is the preferred mode of working for software developers, with 80% of engineers wanting options for working from both home and the office. With a hybrid, flexible approach, employees benefit from the freedom of working from home, as well as the ease of communication in an office setting.

How to Implement Flexible Working

Without trust, a flexible working environment will never work. Employers need to be confident that their employees are meeting tasks and working their allotted hours — without micromanaging them. By clearly communicating expectations and providing all the tools that workers need, employers can seamlessly integrate flexible working into their company culture.

On the flip side, employees must also be careful not to break this trust by staying productive and flagging any issues that may prevent them from meeting their goals.

3. Opportunities for Professional Development

Showing that you’re willing to invest in your employees can be worth far more than a pay rise to many people. It also keeps your company at the forefront of all tech developments and marks you out as innovators.

Companies like Squarespace offer a blend of in-person and virtual classroom experiences, self-paced learning resources and individual coaching to enable employees to perform at their best.

How to Promote Professional Development

Firstly, organise how you want to offer training. For example, online courses are everywhere these days, but they will require more budget than a class led by an internal expert. Then, allocate time every week, month, quarter or regular basis (within working hours) to incentivise employees to take full advantage of the professional development resources available.

Remember, it’s not just employees that stand to gain from these programmes. Businesses reap the rewards of a workforce that’s always on the cutting-edge of new technologies and in-demand skills.

4. Mental Health

In Stack Overflow’s 2020 Developer Survey, 15% of respondents admitted having some type of mental issue, with anxiety and depression being the most common. This worrying stat appears to indicate a prevalence of mental health issues in software developers.

Companies of all sizes are now beginning to prioritise wellness programmes to support their staff’s mental health. These initiatives are an attractive benefit for software developer talent too, as it proves that the company values employees’ health.

How to Improve Software Developers’ Mental Health

There are countless mental wellness apps available now, such as Headspace, that make better mental health convenient and accessible for workers. Why not invest in one for your workforce?

In addition, it’s critical to tackle burnout culture head-on by encouraging healthy ways of working. For example, employers can do little things like encourage regular breaks, give employees access to an Employee Assistance Programme and assign extra resources to teams that have a lot on their plate.

6. Candidate Experience

The candidate’s experience counts for a lot more than you would think. Ineffective coding tests, long delays between the interview and feedback and vague job descriptions can be an instant turn off for potential employees.

Taking the time to reassess the candidate experience may ultimately make it easier to hire, signalling to candidates that your company understands and cares about their needs.

How to Enhance the Candidate Experience

In a tech setting, it makes sense to incorporate the candidate experience into the hiring process. For example, you can use the Predictive Assessment tool to speed up the testing process and give you in-depth, immediate insights into how the candidate might perform in their role for a quick (and successful) hire.

In an increasingly remote world, it’s also smart to hold virtual interviews to make the process as convenient as possible for candidates.

The Employee’s Experience Is More Important than Ever

There’s no doubt that the hiring environment is challenging at the moment — between the high demand for talent and the growing expectations of employees. However, by understanding what’s driving these expectations, you can build an experience where workers feel empowered to perform at their best and contribute to the company’s success.

Transforming your employee experience can seem daunting at first, so start at the beginning: the recruitment process. Start your free trial of our Predictive Assessment solution today to compete in a candidate-led market.

Originally published at https://www.blueoptima.com on December 21, 2021.




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