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Katherine Spencer LeeMotivating Your IT Staff
by Katherine Spencer Lee
Contributed by RHIConsulting

Read more articles by Katherine Spencer Lee

The accelerated pace of business today requires technology professionals to work with unprecedented speed and efficiency. This environment has heightened the need for managers to focus on retention efforts, including looking for ways to best keep technical staff motivated. Competitive compensation is certainly a key in building loyalty, but there are other factors that are equally important. Research has shown that applicants being interviewed for positions today inquire as frequently about a firm's corporate culture as they do about its other benefits. Clearly, the more positive and rewarding a workplace is, the more likely companies are to have a satisfied and productive workforce.

The following are some practical steps that can help you enhance department culture and build both morale and productivity:

Develop Your Listening Skills
Offer Praise and Recognition
Provide Technical Training

Develop Your Listening Skills
While communicating verbally with your technology staff members is critical, the best managers spend more time listening. Employees who know their concerns and opinions will be acknowledged and appreciated are more likely to contribute new ideas and solutions on a regular basis.

The first step to becoming a better listener begins with maintaining an open-door policy. By creating an environment in which employees are comfortable communicating with management, you can help generate a stronger sense of loyalty among staff.

Holding regular team meetings can also enhance communication. By allowing individuals to share information about current IT initiatives and organizational goals, all staff members gain a view of the department's overall objectives.

Offer Praise and Recognition
Recognition of achievements can be a strong motivator for your technical staff, whether it's in the form of a face-to-face compliment, a promotion or a cash bonus. A recent survey of human resources and other executives commissioned by our company found that rewarding accomplishments can also play an important role in retaining personnel. Executives polled cited limited advancement opportunities and lack of recognition as the top reasons good employees quit their jobs.

Programs to acknowledge staff contributions do not have to be elaborate or expensive. There are a variety of ways in which managers can help boost morale, from offering occasional office parties and casual dress days to simply providing regular feedback to individual staff members about their exceptional job performance.

Provide Technical Training
Perhaps the best way to build loyalty within your IT department, however, is to provide greater intellectual challenge through ongoing technical training. Technology professionals, more than those in any other profession, demand continuous learning, including exposure to new hardware and software applications. In surveys of IT consultants with RHI Consulting, the chance to work with leading technologies consistently ranks as one of the primary factors in job satisfaction. By providing this orientation, your benefits as a manager are two-fold: employees value the learning opportunities and you are rewarded with a staff whose technical skills are continually updated.

Communication, recognition and training will allow you to enhance your department's productivity and retain your valued employees. By working to incorporate each of these factors into your management philosophy, you will have made substantial progress in building a more motivated IT staff.

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Katherine Spencer Lee is the executive director of RHI Consulting, a division of Robert Half International and the industry’s leading provider of project and full-time technical talent for the Internet economy.


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