Rewarding Your Team

Encouraging participation and contribution to the community

I’m one of those managers who believe your team being involved in ‘the community’ is of excellent benefit not just to their own personal growth but also the quality of software they produce; I also believe lack of recognition of this only leads to demotivate or worse – high staff turnover.

We have several schemes in-house to reward or compensate for personal time spent including reimbursement of expenses to ‘events’ and in the case of all-day attendance a day-in-lieu. I now don’t think this is enough to /encourage/ participation and contribution back to the community.

With this in mind I’ve been playing with the idea of introducing some kind of credits scheme for my team and the comment made on twitter seemed to spark some interest:

@Cranialstrain: Wonder if some kind of team credits scheme for community participation and contribution might fly at work (e.g. blogging/StackOverflow) :=/

I thought it might be good to crowd-source this idea into a more concrete proposal, perhaps one you could take to your company too?


  • It has an associated business cost, this has to be justified.
  • Credit reward should be limited to some qualifying criteria as how otherwise can abuse of the scheme be avoided?

    For example;

    • Writing a game in NodeJs practices programming styles and concepts.
    • Writing a blog post about how to delete a row in SQL doesn’t push anyone.

    Usage of credits might also have to be simple to facilitate administration;

    • Credits must cover entirely the cost of an item to be provided personally (no part payments), unless it’s contributing to upgrade to (e.g.) a company-owned MacBook Air opposed to Dell Latitude).
    • Credits must go toward funding something related to the community (e.g. s/w license).
    • Credits have a life-time of 3 years maximum.
    • Credits are non-transferrable and do not constitute any worth should you leave the company (whereas untaken annual leave would).


  • Original blog post: 5 points (nb: how do we qualify original?)
  • StackOverflow answer: 5 points %2B 1 point for each vote
  • Usergroup presentation: 50 points %2B 10 points per repeat session
  • Conference presentation: 100 points (nb: if self-funded?)
  • .. ideas welcome!

I will acknowledge that not all of us have personal time to spare at certain periods of our lives, this is unfortunate but we must all find the time to do what we love, as Uncle Bob illudes to in Clean Coders, you must earn your career progression and associated rewards, no hand outs.


If you are senior/middle management your first point should be that you would be excluded from this scheme, it demonstrates your belief!