Issue 57

How to motivate software developers beyond the benefits

Laura Sima
Marketing specialist @ Qubiz


It is known that software developers enjoy certain benefits that are not present in companies in other industries. Comfortable working spaces, tea, coffee and sports subscription discounts are among the most popular.

Still, often, these are not enough. Even if good working conditions and benefits do matter, IT employers need to provide software developers with something more in order for them to be really motivated.

About motivation in creative fields

Even if software developers can be characterized as analytical and very realistic, software development is, in fact, a creative field. Software does need to pass a series of tests in order to be functional, but you need both solid programming knowledge and creativity in order to write code in an efficient manner. Problem solving abilities, the ability to make new connections and to overcome challenges matter a lot.

Most of the theories on motivation rely on the reward principle, often material. Performance and exceeding objectives are usually rewarded with financial bonuses, trips or, maybe, promotions.

Still, recent studies show that financial rewards work only up to a point. What's more, in situations that require creativity, financial rewards can even have a negative effect. A very popular experiment conducted in the USA proved that as financial rewards go up, performance in completing specific tasks goes down.

Daniel Pink, the author of the best-seller "Drive", introduces a new approach. He suggests that, in order to sustain and increase motivation beyond completing basic tasks, you need 3 ingredients:

Autonomy: people have an inborn wish to directthemselves

Mastery: people want to continuously improve theirabilities

Purpose:peoplewanttoworkonsomethingthathassignificanceandmeaning,they want to be part of something larger thanthemselves.

How to motivate software developers

Realistically speaking, an employer cannot offer all that directly.

Still, at Qubiz, we've built an environment where all these elements can develop in a natural way. Organizational culture plays a very important part in this process. Organizational culture is built in time, and the stronger and healthier it is, the stronger is its impact.

So, what is the organizational culture in Qubiz built on?

Everything starts with fairness and trust. No matter the role or the experience, we all treat each other with the same respect. We constantly show that we respect and appreciate both the person and the work. What's more, the members of a team share both the responsibilities and the praise for the projects they work on.

We also value autonomy, we encourage proactivity and initiative spirit a lot inside the company. We don't do micromanagement and we don't have dense hierarchies, titles or positions that need to be defended. The exception to this is our colleague Mishu, who insists on having "Senior code monkey" in his email signature.

Going forth, we also support the continuous professional development of each of our colleagues. We strive to find the right projects for everyone to work on and, if there is a colleague that has achieved a level of performance and they want to further develop their skills, we guide them to a second specialization. What's more, we constantly invest both in professional, and in soft-skills trainings as well.

And we've reached the third element: work satisfaction. As mentioned earlier, we like to find the right projects for everyone to work on. We assign roles based exclusively on personal and professional merits, but we also take into account our colleagues' preferences for one field or the other when building a team.

All this happens in a fun environment, with a positive atmosphere, even in moments of stress. When things don't go as planned, we don't hide our mistakes, we admit them and work to solve them as a team.

The results of our approach

The proof is in the numbers. The average turnover for IT companies is 25%. In Qubiz, turnover rate is 8%. This has a direct effect on business: in the past 4 years, our revenue has grown by 250%, and our team grew by 210%, from 40 to 130 people.

Our achievement hasn't gone unnoticed. In September 2016, we were nominated in the European Business Awards, the biggest business competition in Europe. 34000 companies have participated in the 2016/2017 edition of the contest. Of these, 648 - among which Qubiz - were selected for the second stage.

In this stage, we want to win the National Public Champion title. For this, we created a video entry, which you can see and vote.




  • Accenture
  • BT Code Crafters
  • Accesa
  • Bosch
  • Betfair
  • MHP
  • BoatyardX
  • .msg systems
  • Yardi
  • P3 group
  • Ing Hubs
  • Colors in projects