What Really Motivates Technologists?
Most modern companies understand the value in motivating the most expensive cost the have each year: The Work Force.
A Technologist engagement may include a “Carrot and a Stick” bonus clause within the offer letter. The intent of this clause is to create motivation within the Technologist to go above and beyond the normal activities of a successful engagement.
Unfortunately companies are sometimes rather myopic in their view of added value. Generally a “Bonus” is only presented as a monetary motivation.
The belief that only money can motivate a person to achieve greater heights has a major flaw. There are many kinds of “Bonuses” or “Rewards” for a job well done besides a monetary reward.
The Flaw of Only Monetary Rewards:
A Monetary Reward is a Short Lived Motivation and Provides Limited Value for the Company and for the Recipient
I am not saying that additional compensation does not bring great value to the participants. What I am suggesting is that Technologists are people and as such are primarily motivated by sources outside of money.
A List of Common Reward Sources:
Money – A monetary reward given as an incentive for future similar results
Recognition – Public acknowledgement of a job well done to peers and supervisors
Advancement – Promotion with greater responsibilities and prestige
Training – Company funded advancement of your career education
Time Off – Paid time off to spend with your friends and family
New Work Structure – A new work paradigm such as a four ten-hour day work week enabling you to spend more time with your friends and family
Working Remotely – A schedule that allows you to work from home a set number of days a week when possible to ease complicated family logistics
I have had companies hire me to evaluate their employees for various risks and issues affecting their company’s bottom line.
Some of the Risks and Issues Evaluated:
Flight Risk of Valuable Employees
Low Performance of Employees in Assigned Roles
Risk of Criminal Behavior such as Theft of Company Assets
Company Morale Issues
Improved Resource Outcomes based on Role Assignment Assessments
I would ask ten questions customized for the specific business that were non-threatening and simple to answer.
I would then engage them in a little “Exercise of Enlightenment”.
I would give them the seven common rewards listed above. I would ask them to list the items in the order of importance to them. I would encourage them to be as honest as possible and assure them that their honesty would be of great value to them.
Very Few Picked Money First …
… Money was Almost Always Second
Money is important to all of us. What I found in my career is that money comes with Knowledge and Wisdom. If money is your sole motivation you had better be in Sales!
The Salesperson role is the only role in my assessments that I looked for money to be number one. Money as your sole motivator in Technology is almost guaranteed to disappoint you.
Rewards are Earned by Successes …
… Success is the Catalyst for Reward
…… Seek a Reward that has a Lasting Benefit to You and Your Benefactor
A company that seriously addresses the Number One Motivator on the list above will have lasting results. The valued company member will have a daily reminder of the value they add to the Company’s bottom line.
Money is Fleeting …
… It is Gone Forever once it is Spent
All of the other items in the “Rewards List” have lasting results. Some of them actually cost the company nothing!
The Modern Developer knows that the primary imperative of the Technologist Professional is Mastering their Art.
A Career Monetary Compensation Change Occurs for the Modern Developer with the Successful Advancement of their Art and Technology Science Realized by a Paying Client
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I am a Principal Architect at Liquid Hub in the Philadelphia area specializing in Agile Practices as a Certified Scrum Master (CSM). I use Test Driven Development (TDD) and Acceptance Test Driven Development (ATDD) with Behavior Driven Development (BDD) as my bridge to Agile User Stories Acceptance Criteria in a Domain Driven Design (DDD) implementing true RESTful services