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How to Inspire Employees and Spark Success

Before any great achievement, there must be inspiration. It’s the driving force behind every great scientific discovery, artistic breakthrough and successful organization. In fact, the Harvard Business Review says organizations only see real breakthroughs when employees are inspired.1

Inspiration can do so much more than just improve employee productivity, too. People who are more inspired in their daily lives are more likely to set and reach inspired goals, excel at their work, think creatively and more:

  • Feel less competitiveness.
  • Experience greater optimism.
  • Have increased self-esteem.
  • Be more absorbed in their work.
  • See themselves as more competent. 2

The best part? Inspired people are not born, they’re made. Research shows that inspiration is a quality that can be activated, captured and even manipulated.2

Inspiration comes and goes.

It can be difficult for some employees to find meaning in their work. If their role requires completing the same types of duties day in and day out, they may lose inspiration or even become burnt out. Studies show that completing monotonous tasks may directly impact job satisfaction and psychological distress.3

To help your employees find a greater sense of purpose at work, consider holding a company-wide Inspiration Day. It’s a day, or even a few hours, committed to refreshing the energy in your organization. You can hold activities, challenges, presentations and more. It will help to bring your workforce together, get them excited about the future of your company and inspired to play a role in shaping it.

Creating a greater sense of purpose at WebMD.

At WebMD, we’re lucky to work for a purpose-driven company that’s committed to helping people make well-being a priority. But, like all organizations, sometimes we need help thinking outside the box, overcoming business challenges and staying inspired. In the past we have held various Hackathon’s or Disrupt Days; however, this year, we decided to hold our very first Inspiration Day last month.

For our Inspiration Day, we had 94 employees form 13 teams to work on five business challenges, for half of a day. We focused on encouraging collaboration and solving business challenges that spanned the breadth of our business, from vulnerabilities to encouraging creativity and change. Further we constructed each team to have a mixture of varying departments, gender, managers and non-managers, and work location. For example, over a third of those who participated were located in other parts of the country.

Here are the business challenges we chose:

  1. Share successes We asked employees to create a presentation showcasing a client success story, or create a forum to discuss how WebMD can better serve their clients moving forward. This was a great way to let employees know their work was making a difference and gave us great ideas to better serve our clients in the future.
  2. Gamify health – For this challenge, employees worked together to come up with an idea for a fitness-themed, digital board game. Our team really flexed their creative muscles and came up with innovative ideas, which employees were also able to play together as a group.
  3. Define well-being – Employees discussed what well-being means to them personally, and also how they think WebMD Health Services should define well-being. This gave employees an opportunity to bond and provided us with valuable input on the direction our employees would like to see the company go.
  4. Create tech solutions – Our team came up with a strategy for how WebMD Health Services should use natural language processing (NLP) technology, like Amazon’s Alexa, in our current and future solutions. During this challenge, we received great ideas on how to improve our customer journey and got our team excited about the technological possibilities of our product.
  5. Weigh our value  – For our final challenge, we asked employees to list the top five qualities or metrics that demonstrate WebMD Health Service’s resonance in the market. It was a great way to re-evaluate our organization’s perspective and remind employees of our value.

Putting inspiration into action.

Inspiring our employees was our number one goal for Inspiration Day. But, we received so many great ideas, we wanted to make sure we were able to make use of them.

To make sure no ideas were wasted, we assigned a leader for each challenge. Their job was to gather ideas, formally evaluate them and take steps to put them into action. This helped to show that Inspiration Day was more than just a fun exercise. It was also an opportunity for employees to make their voice heard and impact the future of our business.

Re-energize your organization regularly.

Our first Inspiration Day was a success. By focusing on real-life challenges, we were able to keep our employees engaged and inspired. One participant told us, “the challenges were practical, focused on issues the company is actually facing and directly applicable to my day-to-day work life—I found them incredibly valuable.”

Even though the event achieved its goal, inspiration is fleeting. That’s why we’re already planning our next Inspiration Day, where we’ll be offering activities to help boost employee productivity, creativity and inspiration—all over again.

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