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A recent study from CultureAmp found that the no.1 reason for staying with a technology business was the opportunity to grow. But when you’re short on levels of ‘management’ and don’t have the funds to invest heavily in this area, how do you carve out the kind of opportunities a technologist might stay for? And compete with the likes of Google/ Facebook/ ANother Startup-Down-The-Road to get employees’ development on track?

Here are our top tips for growing tech talent:


Yes, I appreciate that this word ranks up there with ‘low hanging fruit’ and ‘reach out’ in terms of business terminology that’s had it’s day – and is therefore tempting to ignore – but the literal meaning of working together to achieve results is something we should all be doing. And collaboration is something that is truly valued by most developers I’ve ever worked with. The chance to get stuck into something, to share the problems and even to out-do each other with solutions, is motivating in itself.

Pair Up

Pair Programming has proved popular in many tech businesses, mainly because of it’s ability to increase the quality of code as the output of such exercise. In this type of work, two developers are set to work side by side on a project, playing different roles (writing or observing) and switching them frequently. Although increasing the (wo)man-hours needed to deliver on a project using this style of work, the benefits of increased motivation & quality may be worth it.

Perform (and help others do the same)

I’ve been told in the past (by managers mainly) that developers don’t ‘do’ performance reviews: that they don’t believe in these kind of structured process; that they have no value. Hmmm, that’s interesting. As whatever collective behaviours may be exhibited from one employee group to another, I’ve yet to meet an individual or group which didn’t want feedback….. So if someone’s saying that to you, maybe it’s because they don’t ‘doyour performance review. So shake it up a bit. Try to to do them little and often and for gods’ sake, include some sort of peer review.

The speed of technological change makes it very difficult for tech companies to keep employees’ skills up to date – but a recent Upwork survey found that 89% of IT professionals would consider leaving their job for better training somewhere else, so it’s worth making the investment. Their development needn’t cost an arm and a leg – so for more ideas on how to inject some growth to the team, check out Fleur Winter’s great article ‘L&D On A Shoestring’ for some other cost-effective ideas.

For more great tips on how to grow your own skills as an SME leader, in our FREE eBook : Leadership 101: Your Ultimate Step by Step Guide To Being An Inspirational Leader

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Photo credit: Scott, Jell-O-Brains