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Inspiration doesn’t always come naturally. But that certainly doesn’t mean that you can’t help stoke the flames, or so to speak. Inspiring your employees goes beyond offering them a solid paycheck and benefits package (although let’s be honest. That certainly helps).

What is an inspired employee? To put it simply, an employee who is inspired is an employee who gets stuff done.

They have new ideas and inspiration to bring into every meeting. The properly motivated employee isn’t content to just sit and knock out their required work each and every day. They seek new challenges and genuinely want to do what they can to help service customers and improve the company in a variety of ways.

But how do you get your current stable of employees to that point, especially if your employees exemplify the stereotypical, phone-in office drone persona? And how do you continue to ensure your employees actually stay motivated and inspired even without your influence? Here’s how you can do just that, all without blood or tears.

Practice What You Preach

You can’t necessarily do much to motivate your office if you’re not exactly serving as a bright and shining example for your crew. While self-introspection can be uncomfortable, it’s necessary if you have any hope of projecting the right image to your staff and actually practicing what you preach.

How enthusiastic are you about the company? What do you hope to do accomplish with your company’s mission? What values do you offer? The better you can understand this about yourself, the easier it will be to genuinely get your employees excited and involved about your products and services.

Open Your Environment To Inspiration

Every boss, no matter whether you’re a CEO or a vice president, hopes that their corporate environment is enough to inspire their employees. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. Luckily, implementing a more positive environment is a good part of what goes into actually providing the inspiration your employees need to feel empowered and motivated.

The physical environment is part of it. Many companies nowadays have eschewed the stereotypical cubical in favor of more open, less restrictive spaces.

Google, Buzzfeed, and even Apple are among the many companies doing just that. Even something as simple as hanging up some art and adding personalised elements to the office can help make the office environment less dreary and, by extension, offer a more favourable environment to new ideas.
But where your employees work isn’t nearly as important as is the other factors that go into creating a more positive environment.

Do you reward your employees for success or do you focus more on disciplining and pointing out mistakes? Focussing more on one versus the other can have a tendency to upend a positive work environment. By not addressing errors, you might end up enabling bad or flawed behavior or procedures.

By only addressing flaws and errors instead of acknowledging success and positive changes, you create an environment where no one feels empowered to share their successes and ideas. Provide recognition when it is well deserved. It may also be helpful to provide gifts too. Things like buying personalized cakes help show your employees you care without breaking the bank.

Provide Plenty Of Resources

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Providing the right resources will do much for encouraging employee innovation and success. And the sort of resources you provide can vary. Internet access is, of course, a plus. Make sure your employees have plenty of access to research resources.

Even tactile tools, such as whiteboards and markers, can help your employees plot out ideas or write things out.

In a way, you are even a resource yourself. Always be sure you’re presenting yourself as available and accessible to your employees and never be afraid to share your knowledge or insight. You own your company (or hold whatever position you do) for a reason.

Impart Your Vision

Inspiring your employees goes beyond offering a positive, sufficiently challenging environment. You want your employees to believe in your company and your vision too. Share your mission statement. It may also be helpful for you to focus less on sales figures and more so on the tangible benefit your products are providing.

The more your employees believe they’re part of something wonderful, the more they’ll feel like their involvement with your company matters.

Autonomy And Transparency

No one wants to feel like they’re under constant scrutiny. This definitely applies, first and foremost, to your employees. If your employees feel like you don’t trust them enough to have basic autonomy at work, it’s going to be difficult for your employees to be able to trust you and, by extension, put their best foot forward.

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Trust your employees. Don’t micromanage your employees. Instead, allow for an honesty policy and for personal accountability to step in.

This goes into how you conduct business. Be transparent. Make sure your employees have access to the information they need and be open with your employees. Transparency builds relationships and bridges, the key to encouraging growth and empowerment among your employees.

Your employees need to feel like they’re in an environment where their concerns will be taken seriously and they will be able to offer feedback without worrying how that feedback will be used. Instil an open door policy in order to encourage employees to share their ideas and concerns.

Offer Opportunities For Growth

The idea that you might be stuck in your current situation for years on end is anxiety-inducing. In fact, it’s possibly the idea behind millions of books, movies, and television shows. What you want instead is to offer your employees plenty of opportunities for realisation and growth.

This can be as simple as organising seminars and classes in order to help your employees learn new skills. Offer new training. Don’t let your employees feel stuck or stagnant. And when possible, offer new responsibilities and promotions to employees who put in their best.

[This post by Jon Westenberg first appeared on Medium and has been reproduced with permission.]

Note: The views and opinions expressed are solely those of the author and does not necessarily reflect the views held by Inc42, its creators or employees. Inc42 is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by guest bloggers.