“At a software services firm, a 50% increase in team familiarity was followed by a 19% decrease in defects and a 30% decrease in deviations from budget. On audit and consulting teams, high familiarity yielded a 10% improvement in performance, as judged by clients”

“[…] realizing that because familiar teams perform better over the long term, it’s in the organization’s interest to cultivate familiarity […]”
— An Harward Business Review article

Basically in every team, every managers knows basic concepts of management like this. Understanding that a team of 5 senior developers that are basically strangers among them is performing worse than a team of 5 mid level that have worked in the past months together is something easy. Still managers must manage, and this concept, although easy to understand, is never considered in an appropriate way: turn over is just considered natural, at the point in which any employee is often considered just a number.

“most workplaces suffer from what I call a “recognition deficit.” This deficit is especially bad for those whose jobs are viewed as more mundane than a highly trained cancer specialist — for people who never gain direct appreciation from customers, clients, or others who can recognize a job well done even if an employer doesn’t.”
— An Harward Business Review article

This article is really interesting because it shows examples of what to do to improve the recognition of employees. That’s something that affects teams and people: if you listen to your manager saying that, despite you spent everyday lot of time teaching technologies to peers, trying to boost morale of frustrated people, trying to fix internal problems (often caused by him), you are not mentoring and coaching other people, and so you are not really respecting your duties of senior developer, it is obvious that you feel frustrated as well, you feel that you could do much less with no difference and so who cares about doing more?

“the top predictor of workplace satisfaction is not pay: It is the culture and values of the organization, followed closely by the quality of senior leadership and the career opportunities at the company”

“While pay can help get new talent in the door, our research shows it’s not likely to keep them there without real investments in workplace culture: making a commitment to positive culture and values, improving the quality of senior management, and creating career pathways that elevate workers through a career arc in the organization.”
— An Harward Business Review article

And here we are in the centre of the problem. We all want to have good salary, and companies sometimes makes unfair things on this sector (extremely paid mid level with low paid senior level). Of course an unfair treatment will end up in frustration and sadness, when discovered. And eventually in a person leaving the company.

But we live lives of day to day activities, and we accumulate frustration everyday, and bad management can easily make this negativity explode. If your managers make favouritism or unfair behaviours or whatever, if they put too much stress on people, if they micromanage people or just demotivated them, this will make your life like Hell.

As one friend said, once, “when you start bringing your stress and frustration at home, to your partner and your life, it is time to change company”. That’s absolutely true. There could be a difficult period, but your managers should be able to help you, you should feel that the situation is under control. If every day, week, month, you spend your energies coping with all the shit of your work and with everything that your manager is doing, culture and senior management are not ok in the company.

“Without regular, frequent updates on the state of morale, most managers become aware of issues only when they show up in employee performance – e.g., a missed deadline or botched effort – or when the employee quits. At that point it is often too late or too difficult to address the motivation problem because then there are actually two problems that must be solved: the performance issue and the motivation issue”
— An Harward Business Review article

This article is quite good for covering the gap between performance (velocity) and morale. Managers often underestimate the morale of their employees. They prefer the play with the team that not to make the team work. They prefer to be dictators than facilitators. It is more funny to force people doing things that not helping people. The problem is that the more you do whatever you want the more people get negativity and discomfort.

There are much more articles and posts about related topics. I would suggest this Google search for having more insight on the topic, or this book. Basically employee engagement makes an employee more involved into the business and create more value. This is studied with the Return On Assets and profitability and ends up being an added value that cannot be ignored.

But again, everything starts from management.

Stay tuned!