One of the marks of a leading software company is not only its ability to create great products but also to produce innovative solutions. To do this, an enterprise needs top-notch developers and a culture that allows those developers to innovate.

Think about it this way: There are more than 2 million people a year applying to work at Google, according to, in part because of their positive culture. And, according to the Stack Overflow 2016 Developer Survey, 43% of U.S. software developers rank company culture as a top job priority – behind salary and work-life balance.

I know that software developers are looking for the flexibility and freedom to innovate because I’ve seen it play out over my 30 years of experience in IT. I’ve watched as developers specifically seek jobs at firms with a distinctive company culture — where other smart people work and have the freedom to create.

But don’t just let developers wear flip flops to work or put some beer in the fridge and call it culture. Culture is more than perks. The Stack Overflow survey notes that other priorities related to culture include high-quality colleagues, flexible hours, the chance to build something significant, the possibility for advancement, remote working opportunities, and the ability to make or influence decisions.

Consider Your Culture

Every company has a culture whether it intends to or not. Does yours foster and celebrate innovation? Does it allow time for innovation and the failures that happen along the way? Are your developers encouraged by benefits that enhance their professional and personal lives?

Ask your software development team how they would describe your culture. Do they have the same definition as your CEO and CIO? If not, what needs to be changed?

I recommend conducting a survey of your team to discover how they perceive your culture, as well as what’s most important to them. When you define and share your company’s culture — what you believe in, how you reach goals, how you support and reward your team for accomplishing these goals — you not only do a better job at sourcing great developers, you find those who have a higher chance of being a perfect fit with your organization.