StriveNine (S9) Free Agency – The Retention Practice Of The Future

After almost a decade of writing code and working in a professional setting, you will begin to see patterns. Not only in your code but in the behavior of the people around you. One of these patterns is the worst kept secret among developers. What am I talking about?

“The Two Year Jump”

For the non developers out there, let me give you some background. Very often developers find themselves working at a company for right around two years.  Following this period they will be off to greener pastures, working for a different company. This cycle repeats, over and over and over again. There are various reasons why this happens, but I personally believe that they all stem from the common closed off review processes and retention practices that were instituted decades ago. So….. what in the heck does that mean? Well, let’s go through a case study of a common scenario.

First and foremost, Maddox and Inotech are 100% fictional entities (or are they both people?) and in no way represent a real person or a real company (in life or in movies). Ok.. let’s begin.

Case Study

Maddox is a developer, a good one. He has been working at Inotech for almost two years now and it is time for the dreaded, yearly review process. Maddox get’s good marks across the board. But of course that comes with no pay rise, no promotion, and no opportunities to study new interests. Why he asks himself? Well, unfortunately for him (and Inotech), the review process and decision making is done behind closed doors and the decision is usually final. Now Inotech has put themselves in a precarious situation. While this one event (the review process) is usually not enough to send an employee looking for a new job, it most certainly plants the thought in his / her mind. Now, it often only takes one bad day for the employee to remember that there is another company, quite literally down the road, that is willing to pay more for their services, with a promotion (real or not), while offering new and interesting problems to solve with “cooler” technologies.

Maddox is no different. Soon the bad day comes, and as fate will usually have it, a head hunter will reach out to him on the same the day. Maddox gets an offer for a new job and Inotech has no idea this is even happening because of their closed door processes. When Maddox puts in his two weeks notice at Inotech, all of sudden the company finds themselves scrambling to come put with a counter offer on short notice without much likelihood of being able to convince Maddox to stay.

So there you go. Raise your hand, as a developer, if have seen this scenario play out before? Yeah…… that’s what I thought. Now let’s think about the irony of the situation from Inotech’s point of view. Inotech now has to rehire a developer. Someone that they very well may pay a higher salary for.  They have no idea if this developer will be as good as Maddox (probably because the hiring practices are just as out of date.) They will probably be paying a headhunter to help them find a new employee. Then, after all of those expenses, after they finally find someone to replace Maddox (probably in a month or two), now they must train him on their codebase(s) and processes. Often it is 2 to 6 months, depending on the complexity of the system, before the new employee is up to speed. Sooooooo…… WTF!?!?

This is the same old process at basically every company out there. It is one of those practices that is just outdated and quite frankly, completely backwards.

StriveNine Free Agency

One of the mission statements at StriveNine, is to change the conversation between developers, and the people they work with that happen to sign the checks. StriveNine Free Agency is one of the many practices that fight to destroy out of date processes! Here’s how it works:

  1. When a candidate receives an offer from S9, they will know their base salary for not only the first year, but the second as well. And yes, there is always an increase in year two. They will also know what their base quarterly bonus will be for year one and year two. Now Im not going to go into all of the benefits at S9 here, but I believe them to be amazing!

  2. Now here comes the interesting part. Towards the end of year two, everything resets! Candidates are encouraged to interview elsewhere to make sure S9 is still the best place for their career progression.

That last sentence is one of the most important parts of the StriveNine Mission Statement! I am personally, always dedicated to help employees find the best company and position for their careers. Even if that is not with us at S9. Of course we don’t want developers to leave but let’s be serious, they are probably interviewing elsewhere anyways (ahem.. Two Year Jump). A huge difference between StriveNine and other companies, is the closed off retention practices. Most companies have effectively removed themselves as possible landing spots because they don’t even know that their employee is looking for a new job. On the flip side, StriveNine encourages you to speak with other companies so we are always inherently in the running. Furthermore, our open conversations with employees engages a trusting relationship which often leads to employees being more bought in and having more autonomy. Win. Win.

As I said earlier, it is in StriveNine’s mission statement to fix the broken processes of the past. I would personally be honored if you would like to join our cause doing just this. Oh, and we write some pretty damn good code too!

Checkout our open Developer Positions.

Cory Bill Parrish
Developer, Owner, Fellow Geek

“Let’s change the conversation.”