Why do engineers keep leaving my company?

I am a single founder (non-tech). We have a great product, that clients are lining up to buy and everyone except engineers seem to understand and are passionate about it.

We are profitable already but for 4 years I’ve been fighting with the engineers over features, processes etc. We had engineers that lied to me, tried to blackmail me etc. etc. We finally thought we have found a great lead for the tech team, but now he is leaving because he’ll get paid a bit more elsewhere and dislikes the product and his own perspective.

I am really clueless why all this happens. I just cannot explain it myself and everyone around me cannot explain it either. We are a B2B product company, self-funded.

My best guess is that engineers are not interested in the product. We can only offer great salaries and a nice work environment. So we need to get investors to help us with recruiting as we have to hire damn expensive guys and lots of them as any of them may jump off at any moment. The guys also don’t do any extra hours.

Any advice on why this happens and how to fix it?

 


  • While it is true that some engineers might not be passionate about the product itself, I’ve seen many engineers stick to a very boring product because they are in for the technical challenges rather than for what the product stands for.

    Also, I just want to challenge you a little bit because some of your sentences rang bells in my head. For an engineer, money is important but what’s more important is to have some freedom and the perception that they have the capability to influence the product. Maybe you don’t listen to them enough? If you have to fight over features and processes, maybe you don’t take the time to properly understand what they are saying to you. For sure they will not grasp the product like you do but you should nonetheless listen to what they are saying. They will for sure bring a different perspective to your product that might bring it to another level.

    Also, you don’t want to always win every battle. Sometimes you have to let them win some. Let them win the ones that are inconsequential to your product. It will allow them to feel a bound with the product. If you always say no and make them feel that their ideas are worthless no wonder why they behave like this.

    And if you don’t pay them for the extra hours than you’re not entitled to ask for it. Engineers that are happy at work and with their environment will do extra hours to finish their stuff without even asking for it.

    You may be very unlucky and have only hired bad apples but that would be very doubtful. I would start by doing some introspection first. Maybe then you’ll find why your engineers do not like your product 🙂

    Good luck!

  • Figure out if your perception of proper pay is accurate.

    Then go find engineers that understand your product, and maybe even like it, as a prerequisite to hiring them.

  • I would not want to work for you either. You seem very authoritarian and your perception about engineers is terrible. You are treating them like tools with no opinions. Why would I work for you when I can work for other startups or tech companies with a better atmosphere ?

    You should self reflect on the toxic culture that you seem to have in your company

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