Though I don’t run a big WordPress agency or a large WordPress shop or anything like that, I often wonder what would a WordPress employee benefits package look like for those who do run those types of shop.

I’m not talking about the standard run-of-the-mill benefits like insurance, retirement, paternity, vacation, maternity leave, paternity leave, etc. I mean, those are all great – don’t get me wrong – but I’m talking about the kinds of things that businesses could offer to their employees that would help them invest in themselves and their career.

Not only would this benefit the employees, but it could help the company, as well.

WordPress Employee Benefits

I don’t have an exhaustive list, nor do I think that the things I’m doing to list out are the things that every company should provide. But when I think of a company who builds sites, software, and solutions exclusively with WordPress, I think of a company that offers the following things to their employees.

Post Status: A WordPress Employee Benefit

In no particular order:

  • A subscription to Post Status. It’s important to stay on top of the news as to what’s going on in our industry. Scanning the web, filtering out the signal from the noise is a pain. Brian, Katie, and David do a great job of taking care of that for us.
  • Tickets to two WordCamps. One WordCamp should be local (or as close to local as possible) so they people can meet others in the same area doing similar work. Another camp should be one that’s far away so that they can get some face time with those who aren’t so close but who they’ve likely talked with on Twitter. It expands your experience
  • Books on PHP, MySQL, JavaScript, and WordPress. There are some great books about all of the above. I don’t think that just any book on either of the above topics should be purchased for a WordPress developer, but I think there’s a subset of each that would serve an employee well. It will help sharpen their skills and help expose them to all of the various aspects as to what it’s in WordPress and how they can work with it at a full-stack level.
  • Recommended Blogs and Podcasts. There’s a lot of free content published on the web that WordPress developers should be reading. I think having a curated list of material they’d like (though maybe not expected to review) would be helpful.
  • Time To Experiment. One of the things that come with working with WordPress core is that sometimes you just have to explore the core code, you have to look through Stack Exchange, you have to browse the Codex, and so on. Giving the employees the ability to sharpen their skill set on their own time by cutting their teeth on something that interests them is important for developer maturity.
  • A Book Covering Design Patterns (Intro, Advanced). I know that the debate between procedural programming and object-oriented programming is one that’s not likely to die anytime soon (and I’m not sure if it should), but being partial to object-oriented programming, I think being familiar with the standard set of design patterns is crucial.

Sure, there are a few other things that I didn’t expand on in the list above.

The WP-CLI: A WordPress Employee Benefit

For example:

  • A list of the modern IDEs and the pros and cons of each,
  • A tutorial on how to use Subversion and Git,
  • Why the WordPress Coding Standards matter should be utilized,
  • Why code reviews should be non-negotiables,
  • Why automated testing and user testing are important,
  • A primer on the WP-CLI and the WP REST API,
  • Understanding Local, Staging, and Production environments.

I recognize that not all of the above apply to every situation, but I do think that the first set of things that I’ve listed are things from which developers could benefit.

The Rest API: A WordPress Employee Benefit

I know that many employers are also looking at offering things like 5% time to give back to WordPress core. I think that’s great, but I also recognize that not all developers want to contribute to the core (talk to various people at WordCamps and you’ll see). That’s fine, too. Most people have good reasons as to why they don’t want to do that.

Regardless, I think that there should be a level of pre-requisites before hiring someone as a WordPress developer and then there should be responsibilities for helping them grow as a developer if you care about investing in your employee’s career.

And finally, these are all things that I wish I could do. Right now, I have one subcontractor, and I do what I can to try to match the stuff I’ve listed above. Some of the things I’ve done, some of those I’m still building into my budget.

I Know: I’ve Not Mentioned Designers

I’m aware that I’m talking specifically about WordPress developers. It’s not that I don’t think designers need the same type of benefits, but I’m not a designer so I’m not going to pretend to know what would work best for them.

What About You?

But what that said, what are things you think should be incorporated into a list like this? And I’m not looking for things that the upper-echelon of programmers would want. I’m looking for things that would eventually help an employee become part of the upper echelon of WordPress developers.

I mean, I want to be there so I’m doing all I can each year to try to work towards that. So what other things would you suggest?

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Join the conversation! 7 Comments

  1. Great read. Definitely some inspiration here.

    Being distributed over here at Beaver Builder, we provide an equipment budget for our full-time employees. It’s discretionary so long as it’s used on equipment that helps get work done: chairs, computers, monitors, keyboards, speakers, headphones, software. Things of that nature. A craftsman is only as good as his tools, right?

    • Such a good idea – I dig hearing that WordPress organizations offer this kind of stuff.

      A craftsman is only as good as his tools, right?

      I like to think so :).

  2. Nice article, well I myself am a freelance wordpress developer but my story is different as I am running my own agency. As a benefit to employees, I think one thing that a company can offer its employees is the assistance in building their employees their own freelance website so that they can get some extra work. this can be an incentive for the employees to manage to earn some more bucks and if the company supports this culture, the employees will be happy too because a lot of companies prohibit their employees to do any freelance work while working for a company.

    • I think one thing that a company can offer its employees is the assistance in building their employees their own freelance website so that they can get some extra work.

      I like this idea! I think some employers may see it as a way to helping their employees to find a way to eventually leave, but the idea that it can generate side income is nice.

      Plus, I’d venture to say that if someone was going to leave then they would do it regardless of if you were helping them with their portfolio or not.

      • For me, this strategy (not actually assisting them in creating their websites but allowing them to do freelance work as long as our work is not hampered) has actually worked in retaining my employees. I do not pay them a hefty salary but they are still motivated to work for me as I do not stop them from doing their freelance jobs as long as my clients’ projects are not impacted. Often times, I also get small tasks that are not profitable enough so I simply pass them to my employees as freelance work.

        This is beneficial as it’s a known fact that any web designer will sooner or later do some freelance work for some added income.

        • For me, this strategy (not actually assisting them in creating their websites but allowing them to do freelance work as long as our work is not hampered) has actually worked in retaining my employees.

          I love hearing that. I think this is something I’d love to hear more people talk more about be it online, in talks, or whatever.

          do not pay them a hefty salary but they are still motivated to work for me as I do not stop them from doing their freelance jobs as long as my clients’ projects are not impacted.

          I think that’s fair. I like that.

          This is beneficial as it’s a known fact that any web designer will sooner or later do some freelance work for some added income.

          Exactly! I think it’s hard to hamper creative people because they can’t lock it in between 9-to-5. They’ve gotta express it in other ways so why not help enable them to do it in other means?

  3. Cross training in other languages. A lot can be learned from a bit of training in other languages and frameworks simply get an idea of how other languages and frameworks approach similar problems.

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