Imagine if work didn’t feel like work. Imagine if everyone wanted to work and no one really wanted to leave the office. Imagine a place where creativity thrives and everyone wants to do their best. This may not be a real-life scenario but it could well be. What every workplace needs is a generous infusion of inspiration. ‘Inspire’, as the dictionary says, is “to exert a stimulating or beneficial effect upon; to put thought or life in; to breathe life into…” And a workplace is, of course, the environment in which one works at one’s job. For too many people it is, alas, a source of stress, anxiety and even despair. So it’s important to create an inspiring workplace wherever it is located and whatever your business.
Creating an inspiring workplace is the sum of many things. One should start with an inspiring vision. It’s not the words in the vision statement that matter as much as the idea behind the words that moves people forward with passion. In an inspiring workplace, the link between people’s jobs and a great inspiring vision are constantly reinforced. This happens when everyone feels valued and connected, when people see and understand how their particular roles contribute to the greater purpose. This means keeping the vision alive in a meaningful way, communicating the vision and translating it into not just what you do but how you do things in the workplace.
An important part of creating an inspiring workplace is having inspiring values. Actions speak louder than words here. You can see if an organisation values its values by the way people behave – how they are valued. People coming first is a real indicator of an organisation with inspiring values.
Inspiring service is an important element. The organisation must foster a culture where everyone knows they count (everyone, including the peon and canteen staff). Because everything everyone does ultimately impacts the customer. One aspect seldom considered is how leaders provide greater service not just to their customers but to their employees and how teams work together – the realisation that great teamwork is about providing great service to the rest of the team. This re-defines what service is all about because it permeates every level from customers down to every member of the organisation.
Inspiring creativity is the bedrock of an inspiring workplace. Creativity is the currency of success. And every business is in the ideas business. You need big ideas and small ideas. You need to foster more outlets for creativity. Allowing people to be creative and asking people for ideas is one of the top workplace motivators. In an inspiring workplace, the message employees should receive is, “We really value the way you think.”
An inspiring workplace should also be a place where work and fun go together. This lowers stress levels, boosts productivity and sparks creativity. The sounds of fun and laughter are an indicator that people are working well together. It’s not about work or fun but about work and fun.
Is creating an inspiring workplace worth the cost, time and energy? Imagine the cost of working in a less than inspiring workplace. Imagine the problems related to employee stress and absenteeism. Imagine the cost of losing unhappy customers. Imagine the cost of valuable employees quitting. Let’s not forget that an uninspiring workplace is usually filled with uninspired employees. So the answer is, “Yes, creating an inspiring workplace is worth all the time, money and energy you invest in it.”