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How to inspire a team at work as a leader

Want to create a workforce of inspired employees? Here's how to inspire a team at work and put your organisation ahead of the game.
Published 3 Sep 2022
Updated 21 Oct 2022
7 min read
How to create an inspired workforce

Want to inspire your team and get engaged employees? Picture this… It’s 8.30 am, and your entire team has already logged on for the day. There’s a flurry of conversation in the Slack channel about ways to improve current processes.

Positive feedback is flooding in from customers and clients, and you’ve just had a major project signed off. Sounds good, right?

Oh, and the best part – it’s only 9 am. This is the reality of an inspired workforce. A team motivated to perform at the top of their game. A team performance that’s pushing the boundaries, challenging the status quo and making a real impact.

Sounds like a dream, right? So how do you actually achieve it? How do you create a workplace that inspires your team to do their best work, perform at peak productivity, and live and breathe your company values?

Hint: it’s not complimentary breakfast or rosΓ© on tap.

What is an inspired workforce?

According to Harvard Business Review, inspired employees can be defined as employees who get meaning and inspiration from their company’s mission and are inspired by the leaders in their company.

They have a deep sense of purpose when it comes to working towards their company’s mission which pushes them to innovate and make a difference for their customers and clients. We all know how important it is to be inspired in our everyday lives, and it’s no different in the workplace.

Not only can it improve the culture of the company, but it improves productivity and output. Research shows it would take more than two ‘satisfied’ employees to generate the same output as one inspired employee.

How do you make employees feel motivated?

To understand what truly motivates employees, let’s take a look at the pyramid of employee needs.

Employee pyramid of needs

Source: Harvard Business Review

To improve employee motivation and inspire performance, your leadership team must lead the way and set the standard. They need to be the driving force behind improving and inspiring employees through each stage of your employee’s needs and continually champion the company’s mission.

If you’re ready to create a workforce of inspired employees, read on as we share how to create a team that will put your organisation ahead of the game.

1. Encourage personal and professional growth

We all know that learning and development opportunities can do wonders for organisational growth. Encouraging personal growth through regular learning and development opportunities can contribute to increased employee motivation, lower turnover, and higher productivity rates.

Not only this, a recent study by Gallup found that organisations who have made a strategic investment in employee development report 11% greater profitability and are twice as likely to retain their employees.

It’s no surprise that investing in your team’s learning and development is proven to yield long-term benefits.

πŸ’‘ Not sure what type of learning is best for your team? According to Gallup, a blended approach to learning (online and instructor-led) is the most effective.

2. Create a culture of reward and recognition

Did you know that 52% of Australian employees feel more productive at work when they receive praise and recognition? If this isn’t enough to get you moving, maybe this one will.

According to TINYpulse, 21.5% of employees who don’t feel recognised for the great work they’re doing have interviewed for a new role in the past three months. Eek!

While leadership style plays a major role in recognition, the best way to foster collaboration and honest feedback between employees is to get all team members involved in giving recognition regularly.

If you’re ready to create a culture of reward and recognition, we’ve summed up three different ways you can start incorporating intrinsic motivation into your daily routine here.

Encourage employees to recognise team members

Peer-to-peer recognition is one of the most authentic ways you can show thanks to your team and create a culture of reward and recognition.

The reality is that recognising a team member for great work or simply thanking them for help on a project can be one of the best ways to keep your team feeling motivated and inspired.

What’s even better is that it’s 100% free!

Some ways you can implement peer-to-peer recognition include:

  • Employment Hero’s Peer to-Peer Shoutout feature
  • Thank you notes
  • Team notice board
  • A dedicated portion of your team meeting to acknowledge co-workers
  • Mentions on company communication channels. E.g. Slack

What exactly does peer-to-peer recognition look like?

“Jessica is amazing! She always goes out of her way to help the team with the difficult parts of excel. I’m sure I’m not alone in saying she supports and teaches us every single day. Thank you so much for your help!”

Recognise and reward your team members

Creating a culture of recognition requires creativity if you want to ensure its success. When an employee goes above and beyond in their role, giving a personalised reward can feel a lot more genuine, and trust us – they’ll appreciate it a lot more!

Whether it’s a gift card for their favourite shop, a voucher to spend at a new restaurant they want to try or a movie ticket to go see a film they’ve expressed interest in, these are all more personalised ways you can say thank you for your hard work.

πŸ’‘ Want to give your entire team some thanks? Reward your team with Hero Dollars. Hero Dollars can be used in Discounts, Employment Hero’s online marketplace with access to savings on thousands of everyday items – a well-rounded way to give your team the power to choose how they spend their reward.

Want to learn more? Get in touch with one of our small business specialists.

Acknowledge achievements, birthdays and milestones in your team

Sometimes it’s the small gestures like celebrating birthdays and work milestones that can make all the difference. A cake in the office, a bunch of flowers or a shoutout to celebrate someone passing probation can make your team feel valued and ultimately improve loyalty. Employment Hero Shoutouts Feature

Employment Hero’s Shout Out feature

Remember, it’s the small things that contribute to creating a culture of reward and recognition!

3. Reinforce your company values by attaching them to employee recognition

Almost all businesses have a set of values, so you might be surprised to hear this. According to Forbes, only 52% of employees can recite their company values. This means that for many organisations, values are just a set of words painted on a wall near the kitchen and that’s it.

The team doesn’t live and breathe them, and by the sounds of it – many have no clue what they even are! By having the option for employees to reward and recognise co-workers who encompass your company values, you’ll create a values-driven culture that champions the ‘why’ of your business every single day.

4. Create company traditions

Whether you know it or not, all companies have their own traditions – ringing a bell in the office for hitting sales targets, a team lunch, a charity fun run or sharing some cake whilst singing happy birthday, it’s these traditions that give your team something to look forward to.

Whether it’s a volunteer day every year, quarterly celebrations or an annual team retreat, creating company traditions can keep your team feeling motivated and inspired throughout the year.

5. Allow for flexible working (and actually mean it!)

Nowadays, we’re busier than ever – juggling work, social events and parenting responsibilities, amongst many other things, can really take a toll on your team. This is why it’s never been more important to encourage flexible working and actually mean it.

If 2020 taught us one thing, it’s that remote working is the way forward and the benefits of flexible schedules are obvious. Flexible work can mean employees spend less time commuting and more time with family, friends or other personal interests.

Our Remote Working Survey last year uncovered the commute as being the most disliked aspect of office working. Using our working hours more efficiently results in more fulfilling rest hours. It all adds up and can help you give your team the power to choose where and when they choose to work.

At Employment Hero, we take a remote-first approach to work and encourage our team to work from home when possible and use the office for social and collaboration days. The last thing you want is for your team to feel like they’re spending their days chained to their desks.

Looking for more information on the remote-first approach to working and managing a distributed team? Download our guide here. πŸ‘‡

Download now.

The remote first workplace playbook

A complete guide to remote management.

6. Set clear goals and organise events in advance if they’re met

Let’s face it. If there are no goals and no rewards, the chances of your employees being willing to achieve their best and produce great results are slim.

However, if you throw in an incentive like a commission structure, end-of-month bonus, celebrations or events, the chances of your team is motivated to go above and beyond increase ten-fold.

No matter what the desired result is, setting clear goals with a specific reward will motivate your team and inspire them to reach them.

For this to be as effective as possible, you should clearly define the goal initially and make the reward as specific as possible.

For example, a 10% commission if you reach a sales target or a lengthy lunch at a specific restaurant.

7. Create an environment that inspires

Create a beautiful, plant-filled workspace, they all say! And we know what you’re thinking – but hear us out. Chances are your team is going to work better when they’re surrounded by a nice environment, as opposed to working in a dark and cramped space.

Lush plants, bean bags, large windows, optimal lighting and stand-up desks all have their benefits – and you can’t deny they help brighten a room and make it feel more comfortable.

Did you know that indoor plants can boost productivity by up to 15%? Not only this, a NASA study found that indoor plants were effective in filtering offices out of common chemicals and other nasties.

The result? Clean air, fewer irritants and more settled employees. It’s science. Working from home? You could offer a budget allowance for your employees to help decorate their home offices. A few plants, a diffuser and a candle can instantly improve any workspace!

If you’re looking for the perfect low-maintenance indoor plant, we suggest peace lilies or devil’s ivy.

Inspire your team

It’s no secret that creating an inspired workforce relies heavily on creating a great company culture and management supporting all initiatives.

Whether it’s reward and recognition for your team, creating a set of unique company traditions or encouraging learning and development throughout the year, even just implementing one of these ideas can help your team feel that little more inspired.

So go on, go pass that inspiration on to your team!

If you need a dose of motivation yourself, check out our blog on ways to stay motivated as a team leader here.

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