The best workers are highly motivated. However, to understand what drives employees, and specifically software developers in Nearshore environments, it’s crucial to know what sets them apart.
“In today’s environment, it’s important to ensure that a developer knows how to work from home, and that they’re okay with that,” says Emilio Baez, president of Developers.Net, a staffing and recruiting company, headquartered on Austin, Texas, that sources talent from Mexico. “For some people, the social isolation in the pandemic is an issue – and for others it has minimal effect.”
Ideally, early on in the hiring process a company will figure out what motivates a Nearshore developer, and how that person will adapt to the requirements of specific clients and projects.
“It’s important to find and hire people who are passionate about what they do,” says Douglas Loyo, CEO of Developers.Net. “For us, it’s really about getting the right people and placing them in the right place, at the right time.”
Developers.Net has a business model that utilizes Assisted Expansion, an approach that combines the cost benefits of classic staff augmentation with the experience, accountability, and benefits of managed services. With this model, it’s necessary to be in tune with the experience, and the needs, of various developers.
“You need to touch base with them three times a day. First in the morning, then in the afternoon, and before they sign off for the day” — Emilio Baez
“At our company, we have a monthly lunch and learn,” says Baez. “It’s a tech lab where we get the entire company together to talk about technology. This is the sort of thing that really interests and motivates developers.”
Staying in close contact with a Nearshore developer ensures that projects stay on track, and that the individual employee doesn’t feel isolated. With a high level of social interaction, a developer feels supported. As a result, by engaging in this way and helping out with problem-solving, specific tasks can become more manageable.
“You need to touch base with them three times a day,” says Baez. “First in the morning, then in the afternoon, and before they sign off for the day. It’s important to ask them how they’re doing, if they’re stuck on anything, and if they need help.”
Providing specific professional support is crucial. Work reviews, in which developers present their work to the client, can result in positive feedback and a motivational boost. A proactive approach is critical, given that many developers are introverted, and are working from home without the benefit of casual social interaction.
As well, developers need to know that they are safe to communicate with HR.
Informal gatherings can act as bonding exercises and increase the level of trust and support among teams
“We have an HR coordinator, and a pretty good process in place,” says Loyo. “Developers appreciate the opportunity to communicate one-one-one, in private. It’s been a success. They can convey issues, either job-related or on the personal side. Now, as we grow, our HR team will get bigger.”
It can also help to have Friday happy hours – either in person, or remotely. These kinds of informal gatherings can act as bonding exercises, and increase the level of trust and support among teams.
“For Mexican developers, it feels right for them to hang out in this way,” says Baez. “By facilitating open and casual communication, developers feel comfortable with the leadership, and will be more inclined to raise flags with their managers early in the game.”
Competitive Benefits and Remuneration
An awareness of cultural values is central to this approach. In Mexico, enlightened businesses often have a familial relationship with their employees.
“We have built our company as a big family, and we base our actions on Latin family values – as if our kids or our siblings were working with us,” says Baez. “We want them to have health insurance and benefits. It’s the right thing to do.”
Specifically, health insurance is a big issue, and speaks directly to motivation.
“We were providing a monthly stipend, but we knew all along that it wasn’t enough,” says Baez. “So, last month we found an excellent group policy, at a reduced rate. It partially covers the developers’ families, too. The developers don’t have to pay for it. Meanwhile, they can still keep the previous stipend.”
Part of what Baez is describing is the importance of getting out in front of issues, and addressing them early in order to let developers know that the company has their back. This also applies to one of the most important areas related to worker motivation, remuneration. If an employer is unaware of competitive pay scales, and unwilling to act, then an employee will feel undervalued, and be less motivated.
“We look at the market closely to evaluate salary levels,” says Baez. “We try to stay ahead of it, and to pay our developers 20% – 30% above market. We don’t wait for them to come to us for a raise – they automatically get one at the end of the year, without asking. That certainly helps with motivation.”
To conclude, motivating a Nearshore developer requires the right mix of social support, cultural awareness, and a proactive approach to remuneration and benefits. Figuring out that formula, and putting it in place, will ensure that Nearshore developers are highly motivated – and that the best work gets done.