Inspiration (Meaning & Purpose)

Feeling inspired at work is very much linked to our levels of engagement. Inspiration is associated with the Reflective brain system in our neuroscience model.

If you've just landed on this page, we recommend reading our introduction to brain systems and the neuroscience themes for more context. Otherwise, read on for everything you need to know about how employee engagement can be driven by feelings of inspiration in the workplace.

Inspiration - Meaning and purpose

Vision and purpose make us feel part of something bigger. While working hard and long hours, we want to feel like we're adding value and can see the impact. We all want to feel like our work is making a difference in a personalised and customised way so that we get to know our customers and improve their lives. 

A great example of the power of vision and purpose is the story of JFK and the janitor. The US President was touring NASA ahead of the historic launch to the moon. He approached the janitor and asked, “what are you doing?” The janitor responded, “I’m helping to put a man on the moon.” The janitor saw his role as critical as everyone else involved because the vision was articulated in a way that he became an integral part of the wider team. This passion and alignment are what every employee should feel while working within the organisation.  

The Importance of Inspiration 

Inspiration comes from linking everything to the vision and being clear on your purpose. No matter your role or title, you should be aware of who the brand is, its purpose, why you’re in the brand, and what value you bring. Be open and transparent about this on a regular basis to inspire others to tell their story. As soon as people start having these discussions, with the dialogue about your WHY and your purpose, both personally and professionally, it creates an environment where people feel they can be authentic. 

Increasing Inspiration 

Dig into the data as much as possible to find clear themes. Then connect with a select number of people to understand why people feel uninspired. Have more one-to-one conversations or small focus groups to learn the barriers, such as what’s stopping the business from being inspiring. Are people overworked, or does the business care more about the profit than the purpose and vision? Have these types of personable conversations so people can articulate why inspiration may be lacking. 

A Growing Culture 

We're looking for something different at work. We've moved away from the days of “I'll stay where I am. The grass isn't greener.” 

Now people are asking: 

  • What do my brand and business offer me? 

  • What makes me enjoy my working life? 

  • What is an environment where I can thrive? 

  • Does it provide me with opportunities to learn and grow and develop? 

  • Is there strong leadership that genuinely cares about me? 

  • Do I have the autonomy to make my own decisions? 

People invest in businesses that invest in a culture that leads to engagement. These are brands that can articulate and demonstrate much more than just a pay check. They provide an environment where all can thrive.

Get to Know Each Other

We want our people to be their best selves, but making that happen is very difficult. If you've got people at the top that closes their door even though there’s an open door policy or they don't want to talk unless it's booked in the calendar, it creates a barrier. In creating an environment where conversations with the CEO are as natural as conversations with your colleagues, you need to take the time every day to get to know each other. This is an environment where people can talk to each other as human beings, no matter their titles. 

Learning from Others

It's a bit cliche, but every day is a learning day. However, we learn best through other people. Learning is about interacting with as many people as possible, building a network, and learning through people. If you take the world of learning outside of work, we learn through our phones, through people on YouTube, Google, podcasts, etc. We learn predominantly through other people. Constantly look for people to inspire you to think differently because it's too easy to fall back into your comfort zone. Lean on the expertise of others around you and ask for genuine feedback. 

One Last Bit of Advice

Enjoy the moment when you're in it instead of always thinking about what’s next. Actually, be present in the moment and just enjoy it because time goes so fast. Spend more time getting to know people and embrace the people around you. We have all the technology and all the materialistic stuff, but the most important thing is people. Spend time with people, be inspired by people, and be challenged by having debates. Play a part in the world to make a difference-after all that’s why we’re here! 

*This is an excerpt from the Happiness and Humans Podcast with Rob Turner, Click here to listen to the full podcast. 

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Linked to Engagement in our neuroscience methodology... learn more

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About The Happiness Index

The Happiness Index helps organisations measure the key employee engagement AND happiness drivers to power their people strategy.

Our unique platform offers the products, insights and tools to shine a light on your cultural health and empower management to drive thriving cultures.

Our neuroscience-based pre-built surveys measure the full employee experience - from onboarding to exit to empower and enable organisations to understand their people and create data-led action plans.


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