A study from Bain & Company and featured at the Harvard Business Review found that inspired employees performed significantly better than their coworkers. The same study placed candidates in four categories: dissatisfied, satisfied, engaged and inspired.
While engaged workers still performed impressively at 144% the rate of satisfied workers, inspired employees were 250% more productive than their satisfied counterparts. But why are inspired employees more productive? And why is it so important for business?
In the modern world, inspirational posters and free tea and coffee in the break room are not enough to inspire an entire workforce. According to the aforementioned Harvard Business Review study, there is a hierarchy of needs that employers must meet to keep their employees not only satisfied, but engaged and inspired.
Source: Havard Business Review
This pyramid of employee needs covers everything from teamwork and effective leadership to safe working conditions and fair compensation showing that employee inspiration, engagement and satisfaction are more complicated to obtain than ever. But, that’s not to say that every business is not 100% capable of achieving a whole team of inspired employees.
It may seem fairly obvious, that if employees are inspired by their work, they get more done – but inspiration in the workplace is harder to obtain than standard reward and recognition or even employee engagement. These are things that can all be monetised or incentivised. Inspiration, on the other hand, needs to be genuine. Inspiration comes from within the employee themselves and makes them feel determined to do their best work.
Why are inspired employees so important to business?
We’ll let the stats from Customer Think answer this one:
- Engaged employees contribute 20% more revenue than less engaged employees
- Satisfied employees are 40% more productive than non-satisfied
- Engaged employees are 44% more productive than their satisfied peers
- Inspired employees are 125% more productive than their satisfied peers
Although engaged employees are great for business – the drastic increase in productivity for inspired employees is what’s revolutionary.
It goes without saying that more productive employees are the driving force in any working environment. Employees that come in every day with a sense of ambition and desire to do their best.
How do you inspire your employees?
Although a good salary, bonus structure and/or work perks may keep employees engaged with your business – there are a few things you can do as an employer that’ll help your employees feel truly inspired at work.
1. Make your company vision clear
Whether you are a company founder, CEO, top executive, or senior manager, your job is to paint an inspiring vision of where your business is heading.
You want to make sure that all employees know exactly why your company exists, how they are contributing to that and how the companies fundamental business values. This can be done through BHAGs (big, hairy, audacious goals) which was first coined by Collins and Porras in their best seller Built to Last.
BHAGs are the huge, inspiring kinds of goals that get people excited about coming to work every morning. To get employees excited it’s important to paint a vivid picture of what the world will be like when your companies BHAGs are achieved and why they should want to achieve them.
For example, at Employment Hero are mission is to make employment easier and more rewarding for everyone. It’s at the heart of all we do, and the reason why all our employees here work so hard everyday when they come into work. Clear goals set up to help us achieve our mission statement help to inspire our employees to work hard and try their best, regardless of their job role.
2. Connect every employee to that company vision
Once you communicate the vision, explain to everyone exactly what their roles are in making it a reality. Everyone in your company needs to know exactly how they help to bring that about, from administrative assistants to product designers to salespeople to accounting and HR staff, right up to your board members. If everyone knows exactly how they are contributing towards your company mission and the values of BHAGs, then they can come into work with an inspired perspective on their daily tasks. Setting up OKRs within your business is also a great strategy to help you achieve this and make sure all employees are connected to your company visions.
When your people understand what role they play in achieving your vision, they will feel a sense of personal pride and engagement that will help drive your business forward. It’s your job to draw the dots and then help your people connect them.
3. Build an awesome culture
When your people are afraid to make mistakes or don’t feel comfortable in their working environment for whatever reason, they will avoid taking any chances at all.
By creating a great company culture that employees love, the energy in the office will feel electric. Employees will feel uplifted, secure and comfortable in challenging the status quo. The more relaxed and comfortable your employees are the more they will be aspirational – which will lead to overall inspiration across the board!
As you can see in this table below taken a Forbes study on company culture and business financial performance – you can see exactly how important company culture is not only for inspiring your employees but for the business as a whole! Again, it’s clear to see exactly why inspired and engaged employees are great for business.
4. Employee rewards and recognition 🎁🏆🏅
Once you establish a company culture to showcase to the world, put your money where your mouth is by rewarding employees who are fully engaged and always trying their best for the business.
Even failures can be a positive thing for your business. If your employees had the inspiration and courage to try something out, it’s great to reward them for that. Even if it didn’t quite pan out. When your employees learn lessons from these failures that help them ultimately achieve the business goals – this shouldn’t be discouraged.
Richard Zimmerman, the former chairman and CEO of Hershey Foods, famously established what he called “The Exalted Order of the Extended Neck,” a highly sought-after award for all Hershey employees. This award was given to employees who were inspired and willing to take risks in pursuit of ideas they were really passionate about. Determine the best and most effective ways that you can reward smart risk-taking in your business. Then do it – regularly, and in a way that is highly visible.
As your employees embrace your company vision and step up to the plate with courage to take risks, don’t forget to express your gratitude. Inspired, engaged employees are worth their weight in gold. You should and must do everything possible to keep them happy and on your payroll for as long as you possibly can.
The innovation machine of inspired employees (a visual metaphor)
In order to inspire your employees, you need to know exactly what they are looking for from their employees. Luckily for you, we have done all the research for you. 👇