6 Ways to Inspire Employees
It’s important to have a work environment where employees feel inspired. Keeping them focused, driven, and uplifted can help your business have a happier and more productive team.
Here are 6 ways to inspire employees:
1. Hold a Good Company Meeting
Every month, my company gathers for a meeting at our main office in Draper, Utah. We have a second office in California, and every one of our Golden State employees is encouraged to attend. Their airfare is covered, of course. We think of it like a family dinner. It’s a time to eat good food, discuss how things are going, laugh, learn, and make plans for the future.
It’s hard to overestimate how important these gatherings are. There’s something about just getting together in a celebratory environment that recharges our batteries. We don’t goof around – although there’s plenty of joking – but there’s a feeling of lightness . We’re energized and renewed. We’re motivated to charge back out there and work harder than ever.
2.Highlight an Employee
If you want to inspire your employees as a whole, focus on just one. Set up an interview and ask for their life story – not their resume. It may seem daunting at first, but it gets easier with practice. Record the interview, transcribe it, write it up in story form using no more than 500 to 800 words, and then read this in front of whole company.
You want to capture your subject’s basic chronology, but the magic happens when they relax enough to share those little chuckle-worthy anecdotes that humanize them. I highlighted one employee, for example, who as a young child had a habit of throwing up in cars. The climax of her highlight described a long road trip to meet her future sister-in-law, a large bag of M&Ms, and the most awkward introduction to a new family member imaginable. It made her unforgettable.
3.Share Customer Stories
There’s nothing like hearing actual success stories from actual customers in their own words to put steam in a company’s stride. It reminds you of why you get up in the morning. It reminds you of why you sacrifice so much time and effort to your job.
Encourage your customer support team to gather these testimonials and share them at your company meetings. Let everyone hear how your product and services completely changed the life of Debbie or Donald from Anytown, USA. It’ll make a big difference in employee enthusiasm going forward.
We have a Slack channel devoted to company shoutouts. A shoutout is simply an instance of one employee publicly praising another for their unique contribution to the success of the team enterprise.
We don’t just limit it to a Slack channel, however. We devote time during our company meetings for shoutouts – much like employee highlights – to be read aloud in honor of the employee being praised and celebrated. It encourages us to be constantly alert to the talents, achievements and sacrifices of our colleagues. We structure our shoutouts around our five company values—relentless, unruly, legitified (yeah, we made that word up), indivisible and ownership. An employee gets a shoutout for exemplifying one of those values. It reminds everyone, not just the employee being honored, of what exemplary work means for Nav specifically and has helped us maintain an award-winning company culture as we’ve grown.
I make it habit to personally interview all new employees after they’ve got a little time under their belt. My rule of thumb is that I sit down with them no sooner than a month after their start date, and no later than two.
I want to them to know that I care about them. To let let them know that I care about our customers. I want to find out if they feel any disconnect between what they expected when they joined our team and what they’ve actually experienced.
Learn their names, the names of their kids and significant others. Find out their concerns, their hopes, their ambitions. You can gather a lot of vital information in 20 minutes, information that will serve both of you in the future as you bond over your mission.
6.Celebrate Birthdays and Work Anniversaries
Most of us recall what it was like to be a kid, and to have a special day set apart for us and us alone. As we age, streamers and cake and party hats take on less significance, but the need to be singled out for love and affection every once in a while does not.
If anything, it increases. You can satisfy this basic but crucial demand by formally recognizing the day a given employee was born, and the day they began working for you. Announce both on Slack. Give their fellow employees an opportunity to congratulate them. Take them out for a burger or a beer. It’s likely they won’t forget it.