Six Secrets to Attracting and Retaining Quality Drupal Developers

Attracting and retaining quality Drupal developers can be challenging for a Drupal business. This is complicated by the disparity of supply and demand that exist. Drupal developers are among the most coveted and there doesn't seem to be a slowdown for their demand.

DrupalConnect first opened it's doors a little over two years ago. At the time we were called "Drupal Staffing", we were a recruiting agency that catered exclusively to the Drupal community. As we started growing we began evolving into a full service Drupal development firm. About a year ago we changed our name to Drupal Connect, the name we felt more closley aligned with our current business function. Today we now have over 40 Drupal developers working in the US, Canada, Germany, France, and soon added to this list, the U.K and Australia. Attracting and retaining quality talent is critical for our long term growth plans.

Here's what I've learned about this over the last two years:

  1. Seriously consider remote work situations. In the long term this benefits both the company and the developer. The fact is most developers prefer to work from home. In addition, the company benefits by expanding their pool of talent beyond their geography.
  2. Hire cool people. Strong talents do not always equate to good employees. Hiring someone based on talent solely is like recruiting a basketball player based only on height. The main criteria I look for are a) advanced Drupal skills b) the ability to think strategically c) developers that are client friendly d) and finally "The Beer Component": can you sit down and enjoy a beer with the developer you just hired? If the answer is no, then you may be at risk for long term chemistry issues. Hiring people that are "cool" and well socialized will insure fewer headaches in the long run.
  3. Lead but don't micro manage. Quality talent requires little supervision. CEO's should put more emphasis on leading rather then supervising. It's okay not to be involved in every single task and function. Micromanaging every aspect of a developer’s role crowds them and builds unnecessary tension and disharmony within your company.
  4. Create a positive work culture. The work environment should be one of collaboration and team focused. Work should be fun and interesting. It's the leadership’s responsibility to promote a positive atmosphere within the work place. Perhaps this entails bi-annual retreats to fun places like NYC or San Francisco (our two target places for this year).
  5. Have a winning plan. Know what your 2,5 and 10 year plans are. Grow your business, your team members like to know that they belong to a growing and substantial organization that’s going places. Company growth will also create more opportunities for your team leaders. Over time this can be a big factor in keeping your best and brightest engaged. Being able to create new and exciting roles will make sure your best stay right were they are.
  6. Equity and profit sharing. If you value growth and success reward your leadership. Perhaps the most effective way to retain your super stars.

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