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You should reward rockstar developers

Fairness
Career Path
High Performers
Retention

6 December, 2017

Benjamin wants to reward a rock star developer who is progressively losing interest in his job.

Problem

I used to work in a company which didn't have a lot of funding. In terms of rewards, the rule was to raise wages with seniority. This system was problematic, as I had a rockstar developer on my team who was performing highly.

Actions taken

I was not going to change his role, but I wanted to reward him for his great work. However, abiding by the rules of the company, I could only give him a 3% raise in his salary, which didn't reflect the value he had contributed to the team.

Lessons learned

You need to incentivize your best-performing developers. If they are treated like other employees, rock stars get disenchanted and leave. In this case, the employee didn't look for another job but he brought less passion to the company in the following years. You have to challenge your rockstar developers and reward them. Be creative: if you can't reward them with an amount of money, find other ways. Now, in my new role, I look for rockstars and try to make more personal gestures to reward them.


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