IT departments are the lifeblood of the companies and organization that employ them. In today’s environment, when a business’s technology isn’t managed and maintained correctly, it has a significant impact on their ability to operate.

If you manage an IT department, you understand the importance of showing your employees that you appreciate their work. It gives them the motivation to maintain high-performance levels. Unfortunately, it’s not always within your power to give your staff members an increase in salary. Sometimes because the budget doesn’t allow it, and others because IT departments are relatively small and tend to fly under upper management’s radar.

Alternative Motivation Methods

As a manager, it’s your job to improvise under such circumstances. As the head of a group of IT workers, who play such an important role in your company, it’s up to you to make sure that they feel good about what they’re doing. The following are ten forms of motivation you can use to keep your performing employees motivated when raises aren’t an option:

  1. Flexible Hours

More than ever, people are concerned with their family and personal lives. Give your personnel the option to choose which hours they work. The flexibility will give them the ability to juggle the other aspects of their daily routine that are meaningful to them.

  1. Work from Home

You can allow staff to spend at least some of their week working from home. It doesn’t even have to be full days. In many cases, allowing them to work at home and come to work late or to leave early, will help them avoid traffic, which could be a big deal for them depending on where they live.

  1. Recognition

Money isn’t everything. Your employees are human and have feelings. Showing appreciation through recognition means a lot to them. While there are many ways of recognizing exemplary performance publicly, the following are some of the more popular methods that companies use:

  • Create an employee of the month program. The winner can get a placard for their car, a plaque on the wall, or a dedicated spot in the parking lot.
  • Even without a system in place, you can give an honorable mention to all employees who perform above a point that you consider average.
  • Host a lunch for your department only and thank them for their hard work. You can do it at the company cafeteria, or if there’s room in your budget, you can take them out to eat.

These are methods you can use to take care of an individual, a group, or your department as a whole.

  1. Promotions

Even without an increase in pay, giving someone a new title makes them feel important and appreciated. You can create several titles within the same pay scale, or you can add the word “senior” or other words that indicate advancement to their current title.

  1. Additional Paid Time Off

It’s relatively common for companies to reward hard work with extra off days. It encourages workers to continue to do a good job for you. It also allow them to relax and take care of themselves. Employees can get caught up in their work to the point where they stress themselves out, which hurts their performance. Giving them some “me time” will help them function better when they get back to their work.

  1. Visibility With Executives

Bring staff members who you feel can use a boost in morale to executive meetings. Introduce them to the heads of your company and say a few words about them and what a great job they’re doing so the others in the room could applaud. You can do this with an individual employee, or you can bring in several at a time.

  1. Employee Road Map

Create a metric system that rewards personnel based on their performance. Show it to your employees so they understand where their hard work will get them. The reward could be as simple as an honorable mention, which will create competition among your staff, or you could reward them financially. Either way, they’ll know that their performance and hard work will pay off.

  1. Perks

You can offer your workers free membership to airline clubs, the local gym, or to any other associations that they would appreciate. Find out what piques their interest and invest some time into researching organizations that they might enjoy. The cost is minimal compared to the appreciation they will feel. It also gives them bragging rights and a sense of pride for the company. People like to show off their company perks to their friends and family.

  1. Stipends and Allowances

There are several reasons why companies don’t give their employees a raise:

  • They can’t afford to
  • Have some funds to allocate towards raises, but not a significant amount, and they feel like their staff won’t appreciate if they offer so little.
  • Have the money, but they don’t know if they’ll be able to sustain the salary increases in the future.

Instead of a raise, you can offer a yearly bonus. Be clear that there’s no guarantee that there will be future bonuses. Alternatively, you could offer allowances or stipend. Telling an employee that their getting a $600 raise might make you look cheap. Offering them a $50 a month transportation stipend or cell phone allowance makes you look generous.

  1. Simple Acknowledgement

Always remember that you don’t have to do anything creative to reward your employees for their work. Smile at them when you see them and tell them how much you appreciate what they’re doing for you. Talk is cheap, but it’s also very effective.

Find More Ways to Reward Your IT Employees

As a department head or a manager, part of your job is to get creative when there’s a deficiency. If there isn’t enough money in your budget to give your employees a raise, remember that there are other ways to reward them. However you do it, they will see that you appreciate them and they’ll be happier to produce for you.

For more ideas on saving time and money in your IT department, read more here.

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