Creating an Inspirational Environment

by Carolyn B. Thompson

Carolyn B. Thompson
Training Systems, Inc.
221 Vermont Road
Frankfort, IL 60423

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Creating an Inspirational Environment
by: Carolyn B. Thompson & Rhonda Leto

"Congratulations, young man! We've decided to let you waste the greater portion of each day here with us in utter misery!"

"Thank you sir! I'll do my very best to pretend I don't hate you."

This doesn't sound like anyone in your company, does it? You can't motivate employees, in fact you can't motivate anyone but yourself, and so it is with your employees, they can only motivate themselves. You're not helpless, however - you can create an environment that inspires employees to motivate themselves! Build an exciting culture and atmosphere right from the start! Rhonda Leto from World's End Brewing Company says that what keeps employees loyal to a job is an inspirational environment that's fun and exciting! She goes on to say that a well thought out and structured program that allows employees to be themselves and use all their skills, both mental and physical, leads to happy employees who want to continue working in that capacity. Rhonda described the approaches she uses:

1. Approachability and accessibility of managers can be a company's greatest asset!

2. Constantly use humor. Proper on the job humor is a stress and anxiety reducer, keeps work fun and opens the door to creativity.

3. Employees are not robots. They need to know that their thoughts and concerns are being listened to. All positions in the work place require some form of physical or mechanical function. Physical work is not mentally or emotionally very rewarding. Encourage mental input and allow employees to put "their heart" into the job. Hold weekly open air discussions to let the employees express their opinions and ideas openly and candidly. Managers should guide the session with a topic or theme for each meeting. All points or issues that are obviously of concern in these discussions should be noted and posted with resolutions and solutions. Employees who speak up and offer suggestions should be rewarded with the satisfaction of knowing their concerns were heard by and acted upon.

4. Managers and fellow employees must express appreciation towards the efforts of employees. Employees are more apt to listen to positive feedback and reassurance. Nobody likes to be scorned or belittled, especially in front of other employees. Your policy of discipline should be strictly a one on one encounter. Managers should not take an accusatory stance, but will allow the employee in question to air his complaint fully, without interjection.

5. Employees should be allowed to question managers to get to the heart of an issue or procedure. This will give an employee a clear understanding of where managers stand on any given issue. By doing this, managers may also become aware of a concern that might not be adequately addressed.

6. Positive training sessions with trainers from outside the organization should be a big part of keeping employees on track and enforcing team leadership on a regular basis. Consider the use of outside trainers to inspire, encourage and motivate all employees.

Good business decisions are the same as good personal decisions. Employees like to feel that they are important and needed in the work place just as they are in a relationship. You can't have a successful marriage without a husband and wife. Both have needs and make contributions. Both have to feel they are cherished. The same goes for a successful business. All parties involved have to be reminded how important they are to the teams' overall success.

Most important, is to remember that employees are people and people have needs that go beyond the money they receive for a job.

You may not be able to create your culture from scratch, however, you can use these ideas to start today to create your own environment that inspire employees to excellence!

Carolyn B. Thompson is the President of Training Systems, Inc., a customized training and HR consulting company that helps small and medium sized organizations enhance their ability to recruit, inspire and retain quality employees and improve performance through training. Training Systems, Inc. also provides training design and delivery services to training companies and the training departments of large companies, and professional and trade associations. Carolyn B. Thompson is an experienced trainer and consultant knowledgeable in the challenging area of employee recruitment, inspiration and retention. She is an exciting, inspirational trainer who leads people to learn. She has written articles for prominent magazines, has been interviewed for Chicago's TV Channel 26, the "You're Hired" radio show, Safety & Health, Small Business Computing, Business Week, Working Woman, Redbook and Inc. magazines, been the subject of articles in the Daily Southtown and Star newspapers, as well as written chapters in several books. Most recently, Carolyn produced a two-tape audio cassette set entitled "Straight Talk for Employers" , has written a book entitled "Creating Highly Interactive Training Quickly and Effectively" and is writing a book about on-the-job training for Crisp Publications.

(c) Training Systems, Inc. 1999

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