How CIOs motivate their teams and foster productivity

Global IT leaders from Clemson University, Bayer Crop Science, American Academy of Family Physicians, PayPal, Marist College, and TIAA share strategies for motivating teams and keeping employees energized.

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Third, wrap up each project up with a bow. Be generous with rewards relative to your organization’s culture. A reward can be as small as a gathering of the participants to thank them for their work and effort, or assuring them that they will get to participate in the resulting benefits achieved for the organization such as bonuses, promotions, or other tangible benefits.

Finally, coach them through the tough parts. You are not a professor who exists to teach lessons. You are a leader who is there to inspire and support your team through challenging projects so that they may reach their next best potential while mutually enjoying a job well done.

Rahul Merchant, CIO and Head of Client Services & Technology, TIAA

In any industry, experienced IT professionals can become comfortable doing things the same way every time. They might be too close to their work, too busy, or uninterested in alternatives.

To be successful, however, organizations must evolve. Sometimes, leaders must disrupt entrenched thinking. At TIAA, we refer to this as adopting “the beginner’s mind,” having a lack of preconceptions, a quality often seen in industry newcomers.

One way that TIAA cultivates the beginner’s mind and motivates IT talent is through the TIAA Technical Associate (TA) program. We’ve found that bringing recent university graduates into our organization energizes our IT teams — just one of many positive results.

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Since 2012, TIAA has recruited grads from more than 40 different universities. The program integrates them within varied teams in a year of rotational assignments. In each rotation, TAs have the opportunity to suggest new ideas and processes.

Two results stand out. First, the program creates a path to skilled IT candidates. Many TAs are offered full-time positions. To date, TIAA has hired more than 200 employees for IT development, analysis, engineering, and cybersecurity roles.

Perhaps more important is the adoption of new skills and processes by experienced personnel who see the beginner’s mind at work. One example: a TA overcame several roadblocks her team faced to deliver a clean, functional prototype in a short timespan. This accomplishment, which a program lead described as “truly impressive,” surprised her teammates.

Through our TA program, we encourage a flow of ideas in an ecosystem where knowledge moves organically throughout the organization. This is one of many ways our 100-year-old firm continues to evolve in adopting new technology and skills when technological change is taking place faster than ever.

Copyright © 2018 IDG Communications, Inc.

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