Inspiration and Accomplishment are critical components of employee engagement. They are two sides of the same coin. Inspiration motivates an employee to dedicate more effort to their work, and accomplishment gives an employee a sense of momentum, a feeling that the work they've done is leading up to big results.
Inspiration is the draw to do something meaningful, before you start the work.
Accomplishment is the feeling that you’ve done something worthwhile, after the work is done.
Combined, they’re the idea that you’re here, at this company and in this role, to do meaningful work.
Inspiration is fuel.
Inspiration often draws from the mission, vision, and values of the organization.
Mission = WHY
Vision = WHAT
Values = HOW
These ideas carry on to the team and the individual. Each person should have a connection to the overall mission, vision and values of the company. Once you know why the company exists and what you're trying to do together, break that down and describe what contributions are required of your team and yourself.
Whether it’s the CEO, a Senior Leader, or the Manager, an important part of engagement is understanding the Mission, Vision, and Values of the organization early in an employee’s journey.
There are many ways to convey these important components. Storytelling can be very effective.
Is there a specific moment in time that the founders decided to start the organization?
Can you point to a person who took action to embody the core values?
The more visual the information, the more inspirational it will be. Draw from the company's story to pain a picture of how the department's results and individual efforts will deliver on the mission and vision of the company. This connection is important. It will evolve, and needs to be refreshed on a regular basis.
Accomplishment is the reward.
Accomplishment is the other side of inspiration.
Once there’s an emotional or cognitive draw to do the work you’ve been assigned to do, there is another source of motivation that comes after the work is done.
Accomplishment is an internal recognition of a job well done. It is the source of a feeling of momentum, which provides long-term motivation to continue doing work.
Accomplishment is similar to reward and recognition but differs greatly in that it is the employee themselves who assigns the sense of accomplishment to the work they’ve done.
A manager has an integral role in building a sense of accomplishment in their team. Here are two ways managers can convey accomplishment.
1. Be clear & open with the results you've seen.
What changed, happened, or didn't happen because of their work?
Ask questions to ensure they understand their impact.
2. Tie achievements to the mission, vision and values.
How did that work push forward toward the mission and vision of the company?
What core values were displayed in the way that employee completed their work?
Putting it into practice
If an employee feels like a hamster on a wheel, they’re missing out on the motivation that comes from seeing progress and feeling momentum - like they’re building to a greater outcome.
Managers have the opportunity to inspire and highlight accomplishments. For some employees, this part of engagement is the most important. As a manager builds relationships with their team members, they'll better understand which dynamics of engagement are most important. For those who align closest with Inspiration and Accomplishment, here are a few questions that can be used to gauge success:
Employee Inspiration & Accomplishment Questions for Managers:
What part of our mission, vision, or values do you feel most connected to?
What outcomes of your role most influence our progress toward the mission?
What is your favorite (and least favorite) part of the work you do? And why?
Is there one achievement you look forward to?
Leaders will know when the team feels inspired because the language around work will shift to talking about larger goals and longer term initiatives. This work is never done. New employees join, current team members get promoted or leave the company, and rockstars get to the top of their game and want to contribute in new ways. Goals evolve and results vary across time. Keeping employees inspired and feeling accomplished will help you keep your team engaged, feeling impactful, leading to better work lives for everyone.