Ashton Kutcher, who played Steve Jobs in the biopic Jobs, spent countless hours researching every detail about the Apple founder. He said, “Steve Jobs had something like a 90% approval rating from his employees. You hear stories about him being this short-tempered, aggressive person, which he was. But he was in the pursuit of making people around him better, so the product they created would be better.” More than half of American workers quit because of bad leadership according to a study by market research firm Gallup. Many managers and CEOs alike can learn a few things from Jobs so they can retain employees and keep them happy and productive. While all of us may not become CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, here are a few creative ways to inspire your employees.
Ideas to Inspire Employees
1. Create Connections
Many employees go into a job looking for ways to advance their career. Introduce them to co-workers in other departments as well as higher ups. This will show employees that you care about their careers and not just your own.
2. Celebrate in Style
If you are in a small to medium size office, make sure to celebrate birthdays, holidays, and personal triumphs. If you have a larger company, do a birthday month party instead. A simple cake or fresh baked cookies are great ways to celebrate as well as get employees together. Someone in the office getting married? Plan a bridal shower with a potluck. Getting to know your employees will make them a more valuable asset to your company.
3. Offer a Free Day Off or Two
Not a sick day but an actual day for when employees feel like they need a day to themselves. A day to go to the beach or shopping or just clean their home but it’s a day for when they just need a day.
4. Make a Sanctuary
If your office space allows, create a space where employees can step away from their desk and sit in silence. They can meditate, take a nap, or read a book for leisure – however they choose to spend their time getting some space is up to them. A place to recharge and focus might just help an employee tackle a major project.
5. Motivational Posters
Physically motivate your employees by placing fun motivational posters throughout your office (even in the bathroom.) Don’t just use the traditional “Hang in there” poster with the cat hanging off a tree branch. Get creative like Tina Fey’s quote “Say yes and you’ll figure it out later” or “If you can dream it, you can do it” by Walt Disney.
6. Award Almosts
Many employees will work hard on a project and to unforeseen circumstances they don’t get chosen. They worked hard so show them you appreciate it. Offer small enticements for the effort.
7. Offer Incentives
Need a project done yesterday? How do you entice employees to put in a few extra hours or work harder? Offer an incentive such as an additional vacation day, paid lunch, or even a gift card for dinner with a loved one.
Simply telling your employees that you appreciate them only goes so far. Make sure to take time to give your employees the inspiration they need to stay productive and focused.