Many managers of tech personnel think the people who work for them are most motivated by raises. While this may be true a lot of the time--and even tech pros themselves will voice this--it isn't what most of them really need to be motivated.
No one wants to be poorly paid, but if an IT pro is making a really good salary and is still feeling unmotivated, throwing money at them isn't going to improve things (at least not for very long). The best way to motivate employees is by doing something that strikes more of an emotional nerve. Here are some ways to do this:
5 Ways To Motivate Your Tech Team
1. Show that Their Work Is Appreciated
This means making a point of telling individual employees that some work they've done hasn't gone unrecognized. This can range from a private "Great job!" to an announcement at a company meeting about the work that has had a positive effect on their efficiency or profit bottom line.
Just be sure not to do this for a reason you have to fish around for. Phony attempts at employee recognition are pretty obvious. For example, if all you can come up with is a compliment for an employee who has an exceptionally neat workspace, then you're probably barking up the wrong tree.
Also, I think everyone by now is onto the assignment of a gratuitous title change to offset a lack of money for a raise. Head of Java Awesomeness, for example (I made that one up, but it's indicative of some I've heard of.)
2. Tell Them How They Fit into the Big Picture
There's probably nothing worse than coming in day after day performing a subset of duties when you have no idea how they help out the business. Let's say you have a tech who is so responsive to issues with the company's retail site that you've noticed a marked decrease in downtime.
Determine how much money that downtime is equal to and mention that positive results at a team or company meeting. If you can't easily make a money correlation, make sure your team at least knows that what they do is integral to the company's success in some way.
And if you meet with managers of other departments on a regular basis, try to bring down the "silo" effect a little. That is, the Accounting department is only aware of what the Accounting department does, the Marketing department is only concerned with what Marketing does, etc. Try to break down the barriers a little so that those other departments use IT to achieve the ends they're looking for.
3. Keep the Work Interesting
IT pros don't become IT pros because their real dreams were to work on an assembly line. They are very creative people and like to think of creative ways to solve problems. There's also a satisfaction in seeing the results of an idea come to fruition, so give your team members lots of opportunities to show what they know.
4. Allow Them Opportunities to Grow
While most companies have hierarchical job routes, most of them top out in a management position of some sort. That's fine if the person you're promoting has a gift for management, but it's a recipe for failure if not. Many IT pros love their work and don't really want to give up the hands-on nature of what they do in order to manage a team.
This is where you offer your team members more responsibility in their current areas. Let the IT pros who've proven themselves manage some projects and allow them to work with other aspects of IT to learn more. Send them to conventions and let them take classes for continuous learning. There are lots of ways to grow beyond just being responsible for a group of people.
5. Exercise Flex Time
Many IT departments have naturally fallen into flex time setups. This is because, especially during an important upgrade or project, many IT pros work long hours. If they work until midnight one night, then it's a little demoralizing to expect them to punch in as usual at 8:30 the next morning.
If your people come in on Saturdays for a month in order to meet a tight deadline, let them have a few days after the rollout to decompress without making them take it as official personal or vacation time.
One last note on money
If you have the extra money in your budget, but not enough to make a significant impression if you doled it out evenly to every person on your team, consider using that money in more creative ways.
Splurge for a team lunch or schedule a fun catered event like a taco bar or ice cream sundae bar. If you oversee a good number of IT pros, consider having a competitive team event, like a hack-a-thon or a small app creation contest, and award the winning team a monetary prize to be split up or used however they want.
About the Author: Alissa Zucker is a copywriter working for Mcessay. She is interested in reading classic and psychological books which give her inspiration to write her own articles and short stories.