The short answer is, “You don’t.” The misconception is that money is the primary driver for employee satisfaction and it truly is not. If it were, you would see much more turnover than occurs in the technology world today.
Every study you will find lists money well down the priority list of issues that are important for employees to remain with their company, , , or why they leave a company. This doesn’t mean that compensation is not important. Certainly, your compensation packages need to be competitive in the local and regional market you are in. But competitive doesn’t mean “over paid” or “highest paid”.
Motivating an IT staff is somewhat an art in that “how you go about” your actions can be just as important as “what you do”. Employees pick up on sincerity (or insincere actions) very quickly. Try to introduce a motivational action and not be sincere about it and it can make things worse.
There are some key things employees want from their manager and their company that motivates them to work hard and stay with you:
- Training and education – Technical employees have a big need to keep learning and to stay current.
- Challenge – Motivated employees are busy and need to be challenged.
- Success – Everyone needs to have successes. The more you can show the results of the work and how important it means to the company the more your staff will be charged up to do more.
- Confidence in their manager and company – People want to work with winners, both managers and companies.
- Trust – Empower your employees to do their job and give them flexibility, tools, and support to get it done, , , then watch the results, , , it might amaze you.
- Being appreciated – This is a big one. Many IT employees do not feel they are appreciated for their hard work. It’s up to the manager to insure they are appreciated, , , and it starts with you.
Motivation doesn’t happen automatically. It’s up to the manager to do things that motivates your staff, , , you must lead them by doing some of the things listed above.
You want to pay your IT employees well, especially your best people, , , but there is a whole lot more than salary that motivates people to stay with you. Don’t overlook the intangibles such as challenge, respect, professional development, and appreciation, , , they are powerful components in building loyalty and in retaining your best people..