When things are overwhelmingly busy — or too routine — it can be easy for tech teams to struggle to keep their energy levels high, or maintain top-performance work. As an IT leader, you need to find ways to keep your team focused and on target — while at the same time making sure to avoid accidentally stressing out or demoralizing your staff members.
But people are motivated by different things. Some prefer to be working on interesting mental problems, while others want recognition or simply the chance to play with the latest technologies before they become mainstream. Knowing what to offer — or what to do in the background — can make all the difference to getting your team over humps and past challenges, no matter what they are working on.
So what should you try? Below, 10 members of Forbes Technology Council offer their best tips on how to keep your tech team motivated and happy. Here’s what they suggest:
1. Embrace New Tech Opportunities
One way we motivate our tech team is to make sure that we always embrace new opportunities to explore technology that’s relevant to the business and the services we offer. Once every few months, we review with the team new software or hardware we can use to make our job easier, as well as provide the best experience to the end users. – Edwin Huertas, SHOCKOE
2. Have Their Back
Two things can keep almost any team motivated: happy hour and knowing that their leader has their back. Bringing a team together out of the office has well-documented benefits. I have learned personally that when I support my team on their decisions, when they are well thought through or at least a good attempt, the team will take risks and achieve more because they are not scared. – Andrew Blocksidge, MagnaFlow Exhaust System
3. Give Them Interesting Tasks
Make sure you’re giving them a steady stream of interesting problems to solve. If you’re just asking them to complete tasks, it’s harder for them to stay engaged. If they’re not fully utilized because the team is focused on getting a release out the door and they aren’t involved, engagement also suffers. Find ways to show how what they’re doing is solving a problem that matters. – Karthik Ramasamy, Streamlio
4. Publicly Recognize Accomplishments
Conduct regular town hall meetings via video with all team members. During these meetings, acknowledge key accomplishments and recognize the contributors that made these wins possible. – Ali Siddiqui, CA Technologies
5. Connect Them With End Users
Connect your engineers and data scientists directly with their customers and end users. Working on the latest deep learning and distributed computing frameworks is great fun, but seeing your product in real use to make things better, and brings it to a new level. Give people independence to take initiative and decide how to best help their customers, which is what true engineering is all about. – David Talby, Pacific AI Inc.
6. Set Clear Deadlines And Goals
For an engineering team building a product, it is critical to give clear deadlines for a specific defined set of capabilities, making sure that achieved deadline is acknowledged, and, whenever possible, showing the team that capability, feature or solution being used by a client. That reinforces the notion of completion and the value of the contribution itself in the market for customers. – Devin Redmond, Theta Lake, Inc.
7. Give Innovation Leaders Freedom To Explore
The most valuable part of the tech team lies with those who crave the constant influx of new technologies and methods around delivering value with less overhead. Giving the innovation leaders on a tech team the ability to explore and lead the design or architecture for new projects continually relieves their thirst for new ideas, and motivates them between projects. – Mike Lunt, Zenoss
8. Provide Them With Fair Pay And Good Tools
As a start, you have to pay them fairly. However, to have truly motivated and happy technical staff, it goes beyond that. You also have to provide avenues for them to release their stress during the day and make sure that you provide them good tools to help them be as efficient as possible. You have to create a culture where they are encouraged and supported to be the best that they can be. – Charles Lobert, Vision Computer Solutions
10. Create A Culture Of Respect And Innovation
By creating a culture of respect, innovation and collaboration, you can keep your team motivated and happy. Ultimately, it’s about understanding your employees — their individual goals, strengths and weak points — to help them reach their potential. In turn, they can be the driving force that allows your company to realize its potential. – Matthew Moynahan, Forcepoint