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Motivate and Engage Employees in Tech


April 4, 2020  |  John Wiese


The Tech industry is the most rapidly growing sector of the economy. It is also sometimes insulated from certain economic booms and busts because organizations in tech often provide innovative and flexible solutions to practical problems. For example, the global health crisis caused by COVID-19 has caused the global economy to take a nosedive, with the stock market dropping to rates comparable to 1987’s Black Monday. Despite the economic turmoil many tech companies are experiencing growth due to the rise in remote work and increased demand for SaaS solutions.

The dramatic, global shift to remote work has presented organizations with an opportunity to evolve the way they engage and motivate employees, especially as they double down to support business growth. Driving employee engagement remotely can be a daunting task, use these actionable insights to motivate your workforce and create a company culture that employees are happy to work for.

Motivating at the Individual Level

This is a time to rally your troops to the mission at hand, especially as your solutions are helping other organizations connect their workforce, handle supply chain, design much needed care solutions, and make businesses more efficient. It’s important that each employee see how the work they are doing is contributing to your organization’s bottom line, while at the same time progressing them forward in their career.

Acknowledge that certain employees may feel bogged down and stuck with the rote administrative tasks that are delegated down the chain of command. The employee may communicate these concerns with their manager or HR, but it is more likely that they will keep to themselves and let frustrations ruminate. Have an active conversation with this person about their contributions. Outline for them how the work that they are doing is the foundation for the larger project at hand. More importantly, have candid conversations about the employee’s career trajectory, and how they fit into the organization down the road, as they grow in their career.

Remote Team Building Practices

Team building exercises can be difficult with a team that is scattered across the country. When employees aren’t coming into the same brick and mortar office every day, they don’t get the natural bonding experiences that come along with having a desk side by side from a college. Those get-to-know-you conversations over coffee are few and far between and relationship building can be a challenge. That team building kickball game just isn’t as effective from opposite ends of a webcam. Companies need to get creative with their employee engagement campaigns. One great way to do so is to combine team building with charitable giving.

Some organizations employ lending platforms like Kiva, which connects online lenders to entrepreneurs across the globe. Companies will give every employee a certain amount of credit for the platform, and they can lend that money to the recipient they chose. Certain teams may decide to pool their funds together and give larger sums to one person, or employees can be encouraged to operate independently of one another. GoFundMe, Kiva and others have charitable giving for families in need because of COVID-19. If your team used to do team building activities at a local food bank, figure out how you can support them financially instead. Companies might consider a charitable fund to match donations made by their employees to further amplify the giving spirit. Regardless, create a space for your team to talk about their decision and the businesses they chose to fund. Give your employees a reason to feel like the work they are doing is contributing to a cause greater than their paycheck, especially as they are lucky to still have one.

Shift Company Priorities to Meet Market Demand

Might it be possible for your business to pivot to meet a demand for a certain product or service? When the call goes out for aid, if your company is in a position to answer that call, doing so will drive a positive company culture and send the message to employees that your organization is concerned about issues other than the bottom line.

There are dozens of great examples in just this past month as companies help address the global COVID-19 pandemic.

    • Ride sharing company Uber offered up “10 Million Free Rides to Move What Matters,”
    • Ford Motors and General Electric (GE) pledged to produce 50,000 ventilators in 100 days to supply hospitals with the life saving equipment they are in desperate need of. This act was 2-fold, because it employed people who would have been laid off due to the recession, and positioned the company as social justice oriented.
    • Bloom Energy in California did a temporary pivot to rebuild much needed ventilators, facilitated in large part by one engineer who taught himself and then others the needed skills.\
    • Gap, LL Bean, Ralph Lauren, HanesBrands are all shifting their factories to produce masks or gowns

Imagine the replenished pride employees have when their organization answers a call for much needed supplies and gives aid however possible. How can your organization help?

Streamline Processes for the Benefit of the Employee

While the last two options may not be feasible for all organizations, there is always the option to show employees that you are invested in their wellbeing by reinvesting in the business needs of the company. If business is slowing, use the time to work on projects that will modernize or streamline your business. Invest in the tools or upskill training that your employees need to succeed. If you can introduce methods to lighten someone’s workload, expedite a project, or develop their skill set, they will take that as a sign that you care about their well being and respect their time. When employees feel that they are making positive contributions and the company cares for their wellbeing, they will be motivated to put their best foot forward.


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