More on motivating IT

Last week we got into the topic of motivating IT workers with help from Steve Norman, an Oracle senior manager who also teaches business and management at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs.

The first four must-haves: make sure your IT staffers have meaningful work; good communication from management, plans for their development and the opportunity to work with best-in-class peers. This week Norman is back with two additional suggestions:

* Give your workers the resources to do the job. Cost-cutting is not an easy job, especially when you face round after round of cuts. However, Norman cautions cutting too deep in the wrong areas and urges managers not to handcuff people's ability to do their jobs.

* Pay and benefits. "I don't know of any companies that have not cut salary increases and bonuses this year," Norman says.

"But I think that's a very precarious position because if you don't reward your top performers even in downturns they're going to start looking." In this economy, try to maintain as best you can salary and benefits. "In order to reinforce the desired behavior, bonuses and salary increases are still very key," he says. "If we're not rewarding those people in some ways, I think we're going to reach a point when the economy turns around where we are risking losing those people, and while they're with us we risk losing the increased performance they have shown in the past."

While some of this may seem hard to accomplish given your economic standpoint today, Norman notes that employees are aware of the bind we're in and many "are a little more giving in terms of what they expect in motivation. Since Sept. 11 there's a very strong need to motivate people, especially given the limitations we have and the budget constraints - how were all trying to do more with less."

He suggests you start the effort by taking an assessment of your staffers: "Be in touch with your people. Know what motivates them, what they're striving for, where they hope to go." With that knowledge at hand you can move forward with meaningful efforts.

And remember, motivation can also have one especially pleasant side effect - easing people's minds so they worry less about job security and more about the task at hand.

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