4 tips for motivating IT teams during tough times

As we head into an uncertain 2023, this expert advice can help keep your team members motivated and productive
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These are tumultuous times, and it can be challenging to keep teams engaged. According to Gallup, only 15 percent of the global workforce is engaged, and 70 percent of the variance in this engagement sits with the manager. This motivation gap is killing productivity and creativity in the technical workforce.

Here are four quantifiable recommendations to help you lead your team consciously and close the motivation gap:

1. Prioritize well-being and lead by example

Gallup shows that employees who strongly agree their company cares about their overall well-being are three times more likely to be engaged at work and 36 percent more likely to thrive in their overall lives.

Have conversations with your teams about authentic self-care, lobby for resources, enforce systems in place, and lead by example. When we are better leaders for ourselves, we are better leaders for others. Arianna Huffington, CEO of Thrive Global, says, “When we prioritize our own well-being, we’re much more effective in helping others do the same.”

2. Practice mindful coaching

The basis of mindfulness is creating space for awareness for ourselves, our teams, and our businesses. The basis of coaching is asking questions to understand each individual's unique challenges and opportunities.

[ Related read: 4 ways remote work has improved company culture. ]

According to McKinsey, demonstrating empathy, gratitude, and problem-solving greatly impact the relationship between employees and managers, which is the highest factor in job satisfaction. This approach of space and inquiry empowers you to address the specific needs of each team member.

3. Lead with your purpose

Ensure that your team members understand how their work is linked to the broader company purpose. According to BCG, purpose is a powerful tool in energizing the team and impacting business performance. Teams are more motivated when they understand how their efforts contribute to the larger picture.

4. Offer a flexible, remote-friendly environment

Remote-friendly companies are experiencing 33 percent less turnover than their competitors. Spotify recently reported that while companies were seeing increased turnover during the Great Resignation, they saw decreased turnover after announcing their ‘work from anywhere’ policy in November of 2021.

Shane Metcalf, chief culture officer at 15five, says, “Remote work is an incredible invitation to get good at building inclusive cultures where there’s a wide variety of types of people and to build a culture where everyone feels included, and everyone is experiencing ongoing growth and development on a regular basis.”

Gallup has found that engaged teams have up to 43 percent less turnover and are 23 percent more profitable. Through an authentic leadership style that includes mindfulness, coaching, purpose, and flexibility, leaders can close the gap between saying and doing – and ultimately, drive a meaningful shift in engagement.

[ Ready to level up your communication skills? Get advice from IT leaders. Download our Ebook: 10 resources to make you a better communicator. ]

H.L. Ray is an experienced entrepreneur, intrapreneur, and investor with a passion for equality and elevating humanity in business. Founder and CEO of the HL3 Collective, Ray’s work spans from venture-backed companies, Fortune 500 companies, to coaching leaders and innovators.