Staff today want more than just to be informed – they want to be inspired. They want to do great work that truly matters.
Communications have kept workplaces informed throughout the changes of the last few years. Now it’s time to flip the negative. It’s time to inspire success.
But how do we inspire staff? How can we tap into the things that matter to employees and build a workplace which encourages inspiration and innovation?
We think there are three best ways to motivate employees: we need to illuminate them, we need to motivate actions and we need to accelerate achievement. By tackling all of them, we can build businesses that are successful – and the envy of our competitors.
The first step is to Illuminate. This is about spotlighting something important. It's making something clear so that we can understand it better. It's how we strengthen the connection between employees and the organization such that inspiration can happen.
Inspiration begins at the top. Leadership communications play an essential role in providing direction and purpose to employees. It strengthens the connection employees have to company goals. When employees are inspired to perform, they’re more invested in their work.
Call upon your leaders to inspire staff with a compelling vision of the future and impel them to come along for the ride. Show your employees a positive picture of where the organization is headed through eye-catching digital display screen messages. Broadcast video updates showing how your CEO and other executives are modeling new values.
Storytelling is a great solution for how to motivate and inspire employees. Stories engage audiences on both an intellectual and emotional level. They’re up to 22 times more memorable than facts alone. By using storytelling in your communications, you make scenarios feel more real and tangible.
One way to do this is by making real people the focus of your messages. Instead of describing the results from a recent company initiative, show it through the eyes of someone involved. Their personal perspective is much more compelling and helps us form the connection which leads to engagement and inspiration.
Creative channel selection
When it comes to being inspirational, our communications have to set the standard. We can't talk about fostering an environment of innovation if we're still sending messages out in the same tired ways we did 10 years ago.
Staff aren't going to be inspired by long boring emails. They're likely to only skim the message – if they open it at all. Staff want to receive content the same way they do in their personal lives – succinct, personalized and enjoyable to read.
Use formats which engage staff so they’re more likely to read and keep the conversation going. If you look at the examples below, which would you prefer to receive?
The second part is to Motivate. To be inspired, you need to be engaged with your role and the company, plus committed to doing better. That's the sort of mindset we need to foster innovation and creativity.
It's hard to be inspired when you're feeling tired or overwhelmed. Inspiration comes from visualizing the destination, not the journey. Help employees feel the promise of the future. How will new initiatives improve working conditions, efficiencies or job satisfaction?
Consider how staff can be involved. Sell them on the endgame, and they'll be much more likely to contribute to how you get there.
Incorporate visual representations, particularly if your initiatives are less tangible. Doing this increases employee engagement and encourages positive perspectives.
Motivate your team with a dedicated creative space – somewhere away from desks and meeting rooms, where staff can think freely and ideas can flourish. Set up this inspirational work environment with scribble pads, different colored markers and other tactile things which inspire active thought.
Include an inspiration wall where staff can post their ideas. These could be on a different subject each week or month, or just on anything which staff feel would help the business.
Build sharing of ideas into everything you do. You want to become an idea factory – the more, the better.
Create a dedicated channel in Slack or other collaboration tool. Encourage managers to set aside part of their weekly meetings for every team member to contribute ideas. Invite staff to submit ideas through an online survey. You could even reward the best idea each month.
Use creative messaging in your employee comms to get staff thinking. For example, send a one question open-ended survey to all staff asking them to complete the sentence, “The thing people most want from us is…” Or "If I had a magic wand at work I would...".
The third step is Accelerate. Even when the finish line is in sight, inspiration is important to ensure we get there. We need to double-down on comms that encourage employees by reinforcing the end goal and maintaining momentum.
Continual reinforcement of what's been achieved is a powerful motivator. Celebrating wins is an effective way of fostering positive mental mindsets as we progress towards our goals.
Consider all the milestones you've hit so far – and those yet to come. Each of these is an opportunity to celebrate what you've accomplished, but also to keep everyone focused on accelerating towards the finish line.
Your digital display screens or computer screensavers are ideal channels for sharing uplifting visual examples.
Fundraising thermometers are common in charity ventures but equally applicable in comms as a visual way of accelerating progress.
Show your BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal) at the very top, and your achievements emphasized down the side. This reinforces your objective while getting people excited about what’s been achieved so far.
When success feel attainable, and when tangible accomplishments are shared, employees are much more inspired to drive towards it.
Building an inspirational workplace is important for organizations to retain staff and be competitive. By using some fresh thinking in our employee communications, we can illuminate, motivate and accelerate our collective success.