How Bench Resources Hurt Software Developer Retention

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  • January 25, 2016

If you’re looking for an offshore vendor, be aware that most just assign their clients a set of bench resources. This might not seem like a problem, in fact it might seem completely reasonable. But think about it this way: offshore vendors are notorious for their high attrition rates of their employees—attrition ends up hurting the U.S. client’s work progress because they have to onboard new developers and regain domain expertise—but one of the reasons turnover rates are so high with offshore vendors comes down to the fact that people don’t like being bench resources. Developers generally want to work on real projects.  They want to be doing something, learning, be part of a team and so on.  When they aren’t and they get approached by recruiters or colleagues from other organizations, they often leave and go to companies that can offer them work on commercial projects. Furthermore, project managers have minimal visibility into actual performance metrics of their resources outside a handful of colleagues they have had firsthand experience in the field with. They misunderstand what’s happening within their own talent pool, making it impossible for them to estimate or forecast the types of hires they’ll need to make to suit potential demand. .NET. SQL. Java. Ruby. Python. You won’t often find a job candidate who is fluent in so many languages. If estimations are off, there will be no talent to fit the potential client’s true needs.

Most vendors operate using bench resources because it’s more convenient for themselves. They don’t have to hire for their clients’ needs. Clients like it at first because there’s a quick onboarding time. But is quick startup time worth the money and velocity that will be lost when this developer drops the project at the blink of an eye for another job that’s a better fit for them? Why not get the fit right the first time by finding a vendor who will recruit specifically for your team?  To ensure the best long-term chance of success in engaging with this vendor and to build your team, the best way is to ensure that your vendor is going off the criteria that you set—both technically and team-dynamic fit for your team. Onboarding might take a little longer, but you’ll only have to do it once. Teams that are built like this last a long time together.

Transcript: How often have you posted a job posting and waited for days, weeks, months even for the applicants to come in. Then, once you have the applicants, you have to sort through all of them to find the best fit for your team technically, personally, and cultural fit. It’s really hard to find good people, it’s really hard to find a good team, but it’s even harder to hire for the wrong hire, and to make up for lost time when you lose people because you didn’t make the right hire. If you’re looking for a vendor to build the team for you, often the easiest for the vendor is to just pull people that they have that are not working on projects or people that are on their bench. They’re not often hiring specifically for your needs. To ensure the best long-term chance of success in engaging with this vendor and to build your team, the best way is really to ensure that your vendor is going off the criteria that you set–both technically and team-dynamic fit for your team. So it’s really ideal that your vendor that’s building a team that’s for you, that’s convenient for you, and best for you. Not the most convenient for them that just fits with what they have available. So next time you’re talking to a vendor, make sure that you’re asking the questions of how this team is actually going to get built.

Maria VanDyken (39 Posts)

As the Creative Director at EC Group, Maria generates and oversees our multimedia—from print, to web, to video. She also enjoys doodling on her iPad, and taking care of her desk plant.


Maria VanDyken

Maria VanDyken

As the Creative Director at EC Group, Maria generates and oversees our multimedia—from print, to web, to video. She also enjoys doodling on her iPad, and taking care of her desk plant.
Maria VanDyken

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