If your company is like most, the workplace is growing more diverse. That’s an enormous advantage as diversity introduces unique points of view, cultures, and ideologies. Companies today look to use innovation, collaboration, and transparency to achieve strategic objectives. The diversity of perspectives yields greater resources applied to the problem or situation. The question is not should we encourage greater participation; it’s what is the best way to do so effectively?
A developer community might seem like something that could naturally form and grow. However, any community, if left to grow organically, could become a tangled and confusing space. It’s crucial to provide a clearly structured space for your community where you can address support issues, your members feel that they are heard, and that encourages collaboration across projects and groups.
What many people don’t consider is that a developer community can be a boon to your own company culture. Below are five crucial factors explaining how a developer community can benefit your company’s culture:
1. Promote and Increase Employee Input
If you’ve ever watched Dr. Phil, you know that communication is key. Facilitating clear communication throughout a company can be difficult, though. A dedicated developer community provides a safe space for your developer staff to provide feedback, share their ideas, and ask for help.
In 2016, Streetfight Magazine made the argument that “companies with culture data outperform those without it.” The most important asset at your company is the people who work there, and they all have unique views and opinions that can benefit the company. Creating a safe place for them to do so is a vital step on the way to building a healthy culture.
2. Build Accountability
Accountability is important in every team, from sports to business, and even your family. In a professional setting, being accountable to yourself and your team is paramount. The best teams in the world typically have the best leadership, and the best leaders give great feedback.
Leadership that believes in the benefits of a developer community will be proactive in answering questions, sharing best practices, and embracing learning opportunities. Buy-in from the top puts positive pressure on the rest of your organization to be accountable to themselves and each other. If the lines of communication and sharing are open at the top, that attitude will trickle down. We even have a piece on gaining executive buy-in.
3. Retain Top Talent
Your company strives to hire the best available talent at all opportunities, which means that your employees are smart enough not to sit in frustration and will find ways to alleviate it. One of the most frustrating things to an employee is being in a situation where a lack of information is a tangible hurdle to achieving their goals.
Companies thrive when performance is valued, and one of the keys to building value around performance is to make sure your employees are in a position to succeed at all times. Building a developer community means greater opportunities to recognize, reward, and retain your high performers.
4. Encourage Creativity
Creativity is a complex concept in the professional world. It’s a desired trait in almost every job description, but when it comes to defining what creativity means in a specific job role, few companies actually know what they want. Even fewer take the necessary steps to create the environment to encourage new and innovative solutions.
A developer community can provide an intellectual and physical space where your members can share ideas, ask questions, and get creative in solving problems. Providing a forum for seeking input or soliciting answers and feedback is a sign that creative thinking is a valued and important facet of your company’s culture.
5. Ease Growing Pains
Growth and change ALWAYS hurts and is unique to each company. Scaling operations, establishing new chains of command, and managing new personnel can be daunting tasks. How do you establish what new employees need to know? How do you deliver that information to them? Can you automate that process?
By building a space to share, you can ease transition issues and alleviate these growing pains while empowering your employees. Give your existing employees a space to teach and share their wisdom, help direct new hires, and embrace the ideas of your community. The best way to do these things is by creating a community just for them.
Want to learn more about the benefits of developer communities? Download our ebook, How to Build an Engaged Developer Community, and learn how to keep your developers engaged, focused, and excited to contribute to your product.