I saw a tweet the other day about the eight things that keep talented employees:
Talented employees stay when they're: 1 paid well 2 mentored 3 challenged 4 inspired 5 empowered 6 appreciated 7 on a mission 8 having fun
— Vala Afshar (@ValaAfshar) August 17, 2014
I’m normally not a fan of reducing human behavior to a list like this, but it seems pretty complete, and the words resonated.
As a technical leader I am a fan of metrics and dashboards: tests passing, code coverage, static analysis and metrics, velocity, bugs, takt time, and other indicators that you wouldn’t focus on individually, but are very useful collectively.
I wonder if, as a manager, assuming trust is in place, is it worthwhile to go over these things explicitly? To make a “private dashboard” to cover in 1-on-1s, and see where the problems are?
- If everyone is not feeling challenged, why is that? Is it because the work is boring? If so, why? Is it temporary grunt work that can be augmented with some side projects? Or is the product becoming less exciting to work on?
- Who doesn’t feel like they’re on a mission? Is it because they are disillusioned, or is the mission bullshit. Are more people disillusioned each month?
- Which individuals are trending up and down? Is the organization as a whole trending up or down? Which attributes are trending up and down? For all these questions, you must answer “why“!
I’m not sure this is something I will start using immediately, since I am just getting to know my team and I don’t want overly formal process to get in the way of a human connection. But it’s certainly something I would have done at CCP. It’s very convenient for bad managers to rationalize poor ratings, but perhaps some tracking on these eight points can be a start towards providing quantitative evidence of employee satisfaction.