Motivating IT Pros — Without Using Money

Money is the easiest and least personal way to motivate people — that is, if you have money.

If you don’t have money, you need to get down to the real business of making people actually care about what they are working on.

Money is not a lasting motivator

The one thing that differentiates money from all the other motivators is that if you give people enough money you can treat them like crap.

I know many companies that take this route. If you have enough money to spread around, why bother investing personal time and effort in recognizing employees’ contributions?

The problem is thatif you run out of mone, people will go somewhere else for the same pay where they won’t get as abused or ignored. I’ve seen this happen over and over again when the economy or market turns, and the money for bonuses runs out. If the pay is equal, people choose not to be tortured.

Personal recognition works wonders

The organizations with the most loyal employees have a strong culture of personal recognition.

People don’t work for money, they want their work to mean something. ****? you could link to 5 ways to make your team unhappy article

Just say ‘thank you’

A big motivator for making people feel like their work has meaning is simply recognizing when someone does a good job and saying thank you -– personally. You don’t need to over complicate this with processes, nominations, reviews and spreadsheets. Just always say thanks, when someone does something great.

How do you know when good things happen?

The trouble that organizations face is not that they are stingy with thank yous, it’s just that they don’t have a way of knowing when good things happen. This is really easy to fix.

Make recognition a staff process

Just make it clear to your staff that you want to know when anyone in your organization does something remarkable.

Spend time in each executive staff meeting on recognition. When someone deserves to be recognized, have an executive outside their organization go say thank you personally. And make a phone call or send a hand-written note yourself.

In these days a hand-written note is a work of art. It definitely stands out.

The element of surprise

Sadly, people don’t expect to be recognized. So when you do it, it’s a remarkable experience for them.

Surprise: I know the times in my career when a big executive outside of my business thanked me personally for something I did, it was incredibly motivating.

Notes: When I have sent hand-written notes to sales people that exceeded 150 percent of quota, I got phone calls from them thanking me for the notes

It’s contagious: One time someone in my organization did something brilliant to simplify the product line. She got a huge personal thank you from the Manufacturing vice president, because it increased our margins. Not only was she on top of the world, but everyone in her group saw it happen and was motivated, too.

That one thank you made my whole organization feel like their work was noticed.

Never just give people the money

If you do have money, don’t waste the opportunity to motivate, and set high expectations for continued great work in the future. This is a prime opportunity to give someone both a financial and personal reward.

Make it a significant conversation with significant appreciation and significant expectations attached.

The financial reward is great, but if you treat it personally, you will also engender genuine motivation and loyalty.