5 Methods to Motivate Technical Employees

Motivating employees is an important part of creating and keeping a fun and efficient workplace culture. Many people confuse company perks as individual motivation; while it can factor in they are not a replacement. Many technology companies are widely known for their interesting perks, such as free meals, pool and foosball tables, and even dry-cleaning services. These perks certainly add to the workplace culture and environment; but they will not necessarily motivate an individual to perform to the peak of their abilities.
Motivating individuals is much more of an art than a science, especially with technically inclined people. Here are some tips and techniques to help ensure your teammates are focused on goals rather than the five o’clock alarm.

1. The ‘Why’

Perhaps the most important motivator is ensuring your team is connected to ‘The Why’. Why the company is tackling this problem and specifically how their efforts contribute to this. Technical work is blanketed in minutia; constant focus on this can give some people tunnel vision. Helping ensure they can see the overall picture and how they fit into the picture can go a long way to ensuring that person is motivated and fulfilled. Each person on the company team should be familiar with how their efforts contribute and interact with the company as a whole.

2. Public Recognition

An excellent method to motivate someone is to publicly recognize their efforts and success in the past. This ensures that their peers know of the effort and gives the individual the knowledge that their efforts did not go unnoticed. Public recognition is very important if you pushed someone to take action; missing the acknowledgement of the action can lead to the teammate avoiding or not performing later. A wonderful side effect of recognizing the individual publically is that the rest of the team will know their actions will be recognized and acknowledged as well. This can actually motivate the entire team to greater levels based on just one team member’s actions!

3. New Technology and Challenging Projects

Keeping technically inclined personnel stimulated is a key aspect in ensuring they are both motivated and engaged. This can be easily accomplished by providing interesting projects and new technology to work with. This is a key area, as for many IT professionals, the urge to learn and use new technology and systems is innate. This is a wonderful attribute for anyone to possess and should be embraced. As the individual adds to their technological toolbox, they will want to incorporate the new skills into projects. If that is difficult or frowned upon in the company culture there is a risk the individual will look for a new place to use those skills. Providing projects dealing with new technology focuses that energy and provides wonderful benefits for both the company and the individual.

4. Personalized Rewards

Providing a personalized reward for a person’s contributions is a great way to motivate and show appreciation. The reward can be anything from a box of their favorite candy, a new office toy you think they will enjoy, to a higher spot on the system upgrade list. The key aspect of this is that the reward is personalized to the individual’s interests and, while not expensive, will be thoughtful and/or fun. An added benefit is the fact that each time the individual uses or sees the reward it will remind them of the success they achieved and the recognition of that success.

5. Individual’s Motivation

Last, but not least, is to bring to the forefront the individual’s motivation for working there. The employees could most likely be employed elsewhere, but they have chosen to work with you and the organization. Talk with them and discover why they have chosen this and what is motivating them to stay. This is a great way to establish and maintain a good relationship with the individual as well. Keeping the individual’s motivation in mind will help ensure they are getting progress towards their goal, be that working with new technology, learning leadership skills, or even working with close friends.

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