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Brad Callahan
Vice President, Business Solutions Group

Don’t Just Motivate Your Employees—Inspire Them

Businesses know that genuinely motivated employees are engaged employees—they are more productive and more loyal. So, time and resources are poured into programs that motivate employees, and with general success. Sounds great, doesn’t it? But I’d like to suggest that motivating your workforce isn’t enough. Not in today’s economy. To really break away from competitors, businesses must inspire their workforce.

An inspired workforce is the driver of business success. Here’s where I’ve seen the real business benefits of having an inspired workforce:

Inspired employees are creative.  We all have heard that now tired old saw “think outside the box,” but there’s a good reason it’s still around. Thinking outside the box is where great ideas are born—ideas that can resolve a seemingly complex problem with a simple solution or give rise to a breakthrough strategy that moves the business to the next level.

Inspired employees are ignited from within. Yes, they respond positively to rewards and recognition, but because they are inspired, they will consistently exceed their goals by a fair margin. Employees who are stimulated and find purpose in what they do push themselves to greater levels and bring their team and colleagues along for the ride as well.

Inspired employees are eager for new challenges. Inspired employees adapt positively to change as well, because they are actively seeking new challenges and new opportunities for achievement. Whenever your business is experiencing changes in the business environment or strategic direction, inspired employees will embrace the inherent volatility, uncertainty ambiguity and opportunities the winds of change bring.

There are actions you can take that will inspire your workforce:

Leadership talks about its vision for the organization. You know that visions are aspirational. For organizations, they help keep focus on that North Star. An organizational vision is also inspirational. When your CEO or business unit head talks clearly about the vision for the organization and acts authentically in striving to realize it, employees are inspired.

Creativity is rewarded. Rigid hierarchies and departmental rules stifle the creativity that can make an ordinary company great. Rewarding ideas that show “thinking outside the box” inspires others to take the risks that creative solutions to business issues require. Does your organization have an enterprise social platform? Use it to publicly acknowledge employees whose creatively and innovation has had a positive business impact.

Managers have permission to shake things up—in a positive way. There’s nothing like day-to-day routine to kill inspiration. Encourage managers to showcase success, hold team-building events, or deliver an unexpected reward for a team achievement. A positive break from daily routines and unexpected acknowledgement are just two ways employees can re-charge their batteries and become inspired to go the extra mile.

With employee disengagement reaching uncomfortably high levels and turnover growing as the economy grows, businesses are searching for ways to engage their workforce. Shifting focus from motivation to inspiration, connected to a genuine purpose, can spark new levels of employee engagement.

Would you like to see how your rewards and recognition program can inspire your employees? Contact a Marketing Innovations solutions expert to start a discussion today.