There are many ways to increase employee engagement. You’d find loads of information and articles both online and offline about how organizations can motivate and inspire their employees, in order to increase engagement and happiness. However, although valuable in itself, a lot of these articles are quite generalistic and aimed at organizations in all kinds of industries.
If you truly want to work on employee engagement you do not only need to know what motivates employees in general but also (and mainly) what specifically motivates the highly skilled innovative employees in tech.
And as you can imagine, sometimes that might be very different than the things that motivate nurses in a hospital, or workers in a factory. For example, in tech traditional teambuilding is less important than being part of an innovation-driven organization.
As a founder or leader in tech, you want to maximize the return on investment when it comes to your efforts to motivate and inspire your employees. You need to know the two or three most important key points that will motivate your team AND will lead to moving your business forward. In this blog, I will describe the most important ways to inspire your employees in a tech company.
The three most important motivating factors.
When you work with highly skilled autonomous knowledge workers then your employee will mainly be motivated by three aspects. If you are looking for ways to increase motivation and employee engagement, or attract new talents, then you should mainly be focusing on approving these aspects in your organization. They will give you the quickest results and will increase your employee engagement.
1 A higher goal
Knowledge workers are not unlike volunteers when it comes to their motivation. They need to know the organizations’ transformative purpose (how do you ultimately make the world a better place) and to believe in it. You can motivate them and increase employee engagement by telling them what the organization stands for, and to get them involved in that higher goal.
Action: make sure all your employees are aware and totally involved in your organizations’ higher purpose.
2 Stimulate innovation
Employees in tech are motivated by innovative challenges.
Make sure employees know what the market wants and what new technologies are available. Get your team together on regular basis to brainstorm and work together on new ideas. Your employees need a lot of freedom and autonomy in order to be innovative. That also implies that you need to set clear overarching goals. For example: for what markets are we developing what kind of solutions, in what technical fields do we want to excel, what challenges do we want to beat our competitors on.
If you give freedom to innovate but you don’t channel the innovative ideas, they will go all over the place and will probably not be able to use all these ideas or monetize them. That will not only kill the innovative ability of your organization but could also drive your best employees away.
Action: Set crystal clear strategic direction. Then, give your employees carte blanche to work on them and come up with the most innovative solutions.
3 Challenge your employees to achieve certain results
Your knowledge workers need to work autonomously but not individualistic. In order to function as a team or as an organization, they need to be challenged and managed on results. Your employees want to see what their efforts contributed to and what the end result is. This should be the case in the day-to-day project teams, but if you really want to excel you could apply this principle to the organizations’ long-term results.
Action: Identify your long-term results and get your employees to take ownership in realizing these long-term goals
How to use these actions to move your business forward:
Let’s review the three actions that will be the most effective to increase your employees’ engagement:
- Make sure all your employees are aware of and totally involved in your organizations’ purpose and that they believe in it.
- Set a crystal clear strategic framework and then give your employees carte blanche to work on them and come up with the most innovative solutions.
- Identify your long-term objectives and make your employees take ownership in realizing the long-term goals.
In order for you to do so, it is important that you have identified the above three aspects. How you do that, depends on your organization: if you are leading a team that is part of a bigger organization, the mission, strategy and objectives might be a given and your role is to translate them to the team level. You can of course involve your team in that translation what will increase ownership and therefore engagement.
If you are part of the leadership team of a startup or a smaller company, you will be responsible to define all three aspects. You can do so within your leadership team and for example with your investors involved, or you can do so with your whole team involved, for example during a company retreat.
Do you want to know how to start this process? Contact us for a discovery call and we will help you to get clarity on your next steps.