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Goldman Sachs’ CIO reveals the secret to motivating engineers: “They need to feel like they’re on the front line of the business.” 

As Goldman Sachs restructures, its chief information officer has rolled out new processes – including a technique popularized by Amazon – so that its 12,000+ developers are more engaged. 

To feel content at work, developers need to understand the business purpose behind their work, according to Goldman Sachs’ chief information officer Marco Argenti. Instead of asking tactical “how” questions before beginning a new project, Goldman engineers are now prompted to understand the impact their work will have on the firm’s bigger-picture goals.  

“Now, we want them to answer the ‘why’ questions,” Argenti said at a Wall Street Journal event on Wednesday. “That is a big change.” 

Argenti, who is less than a month into his new role as sole CIO, has also instituted the “working-back” memo exercise made famous by his former employer, Amazon. Engineers now work together with bizdev employees on mock press releases for the products they’re going to build, before development starts. This helps with employee empowerment and retention, Argenti said.   

Argenti’s interview comes as Goldman is shaking up divisions and management to elevate its tech offerings. His former co-CIO, George Lee, now leads Goldman’s new Office of Applied Innovation alongside former Alphabet executive Jared Cohen.  

Argenti’s not the only one waxing on about keeping engineers happy lately: A Capital One exec recently explained how the bank has motivated talent and mitigated burnout through automation. The emphasis makes sense: Despite layoffs across Wall Street more broadly, competition for engineers in the financial world is still fierce.