The tumultuous economic environment of recent years has resulted in employees working longer hours, and in many cases, for less or equal amounts of pay.
Some employees refrain from taking vacations because they fear that they will return far too behind than when they turned on their out of office reply. In fact, the average employee in the United States uses only 57% of his or her vacation time each year, according to an August 2010 Reuters poll.
Another negative by-product of the current organizational climate is the loss of inspiration. Every day, customers are inspired to buy brands and prospects are inspired to consider switching to a new product or service.
A recent article published in Ad Age Agency News asks managers to consider how well they inspire their staffs. The article cites a few ways for managers to nurture inspiration such as:
- Simply showing interest in what your team does outside of work because it sends a message that it matters to you.
- When you hear in passing that someone just finished her first half-marathon or led a homeless shelter blanket drive for his church, send an e-mail letting them know that their accomplishments inspire you.
- Create a community service award. Each employee is given the opportunity to nominate fellow staff members. Nominees and their stories are published, and the entire organization votes to determine the award recipient. Consider giving the winner a cash prize or donate it to a charity of the winner’s choice.
Many managers should also consider outsourcing inspiration. Sound impossible? Consider this:
1. Radiologists were able to improve the accuracy of their diagnostic findings by 46% after seeing a photograph of a patient they had never met.
2. At a major residential lending bank, bankers were shown videos of people describing how low-interest loans saved their families from losing their homes. The compelling stories were a major source of inspiration to the bankers and reminded them that they ultimately work to serve their customers.
3. An interactive promotions agency hung inspirational quotes on all large walls and in the elevators. Not only were employees inspired, however job candidates, members of the Executive Board and vendors were also inspired. A few of the posted quotes included:
- “What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?” –Robert H. Schuller
- “It is your attitude, not your aptitude, that determines your altitude.” – Zig Ziglar
- “A goal is a dream with a deadline.” – Napolean Hill
Video footage, photographs and stories of a company’s stakeholders, customers, partners, etc. are wise ways to outsource inspiration. They provide tangible proof of the consequences and value of employees’ efforts.
The next time you are at a loss for motivating or inspiring your team, consider outsourcing the task by implementing one of these methods.