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Motivating Technical Employees November 20, 2007

Posted by Darth Sidious in Managing Employees.

Technical staff are an odd bunch; their mentality, view on life, and history are uniquely different than most other career people. One of the major differences is that technical people are into technology because they love it, and many have been doing it all their life – being able to get paid to do is just a huge bonus (though getting them to link that desire to focus on projects related to the goals of the business can be a challenge).

Similarly with the Sith, from a very young age sithlings discover the nature of the force and take an interest in it throughout their whole life.

Versus other careers like accountants, and storm troopers. No one at 10 years old is doing accounting or storm trooping. You can pretend maybe, but technical staff and the Sith are doing it FOR REAL at early ages.

Although the Empire is hailed for its ability wield great powers with the dark side of the force, we’re mostly successful as a result of our technical staff who create and support our EMS (Empire Management System) using technologies like Adobe Flex (currently version 982), and Coldfusion (version 1021).

So what motivates programmers, network engineers, and the like? Here’s a few that we’ve found that work, but would like to hear your thoughts as well.

  • Free Sith Cola, Mountain Sith, Empire Bull, Empire Star, and other caffeinated drinks.
  • Free Coffee.
  • Free snacks. The unhealthier the better apparently (donuts, cupcakes, cookies, chocolate, trail mix, space mix, etc…).
  • Free food (e.g. Pizza Fridays).
  • Support for their personal initiatives (efforts with user groups, blogs, etc…).
  • Gift cards for Sithbucks.
  • Public recognition (awards, certificates, trophies, etc…).
  • Sending them to conferences.
  • Exclusivity of technical stuff. E.g. rewarding best performing tech staff with bigger monitors, more monitors, latest versions of software, etc… Visible stuff that makes them feel superior to others.
  • Financial rewards (stock options, bonuses). However long term things like 401K matching are viewed as good, they have little impact on motivation.

Darth Sidious



1. Big Mad Kev - November 21, 2007

This is so true, some employers just don’t get the value that with Developers it can sometimes be the small / cheap things that makes a difference.

A Second monitor for $200 is worth more to a true developer then a $1000 pay rise. I would always make a trip down the local store and buy dounuts that seemed to always bring a smile of joy to their face 🙂 Especially if I went all the way to Krispies

2. Kailash - February 17, 2008

Good list. Clearly, what works on the Sith side of the universe works here too!

I’d add one more point – one that is near the top of my list: the opportunity to learn new technologies.

BTW, I read your blog often, both for the chuckles and the content. Keep it going.



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