How to Inspire Employees With Intangibles

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Money is certainly important. This is one of the reasons why people not only hold on to their place of work, but also change it – for example, when the level of income is not high enough. However, there are situations where a good salary is far from the only thing that can motivate an employee. More managers and business owners are turning their attention to other ways to encourage and motivate anyone from those who work at 20Bet and sell flowers at a local store. Let’s talk about intangible ways to get involved and their specifics.

What Is Engagement and Why Is It Important?

The basics of the concept of employee engagement were laid out by Kevin Thompson. The main idea is this: the employee must fully understand and share the values of the business because only then will he be able to deliver the brand promise to the customer.

Large companies understand that the staff is an integral part of success. The more the team is “fired up” about its business, the better the business performs.

Motivation directly drives performance. A person may be aware of the importance of a goal, but have no chance of achieving it if he or she lacks justification-not just material justification.

An engaged employee, on the other hand, wants and seeks opportunities to develop.

Corporate Intangibles

Designated Vector of Movement

The absence of a clear-cut aim, mission and strategy of a company is a road to nowhere. After all, if the manager himself does not understand what he wants to convey with his product and service, then what should the employees strive for? The question “Why?” was and still is relevant when it comes to the success of the company.

Sociological studies by Weinberg, Yakelson, and Jackson have proven that professionals who are united by clearly defined objectives show a more responsible approach to work. In addition, they feel personally involved in the common cause. Clearly defined goals, mission, and strategy help each employee reach his or her potential.

When a company clearly knows how, where and why it is going and what it wants to show to the world, it affects all business processes, helps to concentrate on the main things and not to waste time.

It’s important for employees to understand that the product or service they are working on will bring real benefit to the consumer. People are inspired by the knowledge that they can make another person’s life more convenient and comfortable. And it has also been proven that the human brain spends more energy on tasks that it considers beneficial to the species as a whole.

That’s why it’s so important to talk through these points in detail with the team. You can do this in meetings or phone calls, so that everyone understands not only the tasks, but also the rationale. The better you can convey the importance of the company’s mission, the higher the chances of gathering a team of motivated employees who are not indifferent to their cause.

Setting More Challenging Goals

This approach awakens excitement, a desire to “take on the challenge” and take on new heights. It doesn’t work with everyone, but often employees can handle tasks far more difficult and serious than you expect. Invite them to do a new task or expand on an existing one.

Remember also that many of the knowledge and skills can be integrated from one area to another. This means that there will be those who are willing to understand the new area. But we should consider the personal characteristics of subordinates: initiative and willingness to take a “task with an asterisk” isn’t inherent in everyone.

Personal Intangibles


One of the main factors of motivation is a respectful attitude towards employees. A company can offer a high salary, a system of bonuses and other “pluses”, but the boorish behavior of managers can cross out all the declared benefits. People value comfort and safety. If the atmosphere in a company is full of negativity, no self-respecting person would stay in such a place.

It must be said that rudeness, insults, “public flogging” and banal rudeness tends to spread like a virus. Seeing how the boss treats his subordinates, managers are less inclined to consider it the local norm and copy such behavior.

Fear is the main demotivating factor that forces a person to put his own safety and health (including mental health) above the benefits for the company and declared values. So before you work on employee engagement with rewards and other incentives, create a comfortable and safe environment for the company to work in.

Managers set the tone. How they do it is also largely up to them. This means that it’s within your power to create this or that atmosphere in the team from the very beginning. If the boss sees that you do not tolerate aggression, suppress public criticism, rudeness and insults – he is likely to think about how to build relationships with subordinates.

Approval and Praise

Money is fine. But it’s inherent in human nature to need to feel special. Approval is one of the most powerful tools of motivation. Many managers treat it with caution, afraid to “praise” the employee and thus deprive him of incentive for further development.

But employees can and should be praised for achieving their goals. And this is not just about KPIs and performance.

For example, a manager who managed to find a common language with a frankly “difficult” client or a newcomer who successfully completed a training course is worthy of praise no less than the most productive achievers.

A few nuances to keep in mind, so that the expressed approval will really work:

Everyone is different. Some see themselves as “stars,” and for them, public approval from their peers is most important. Some are more important than recognition from the professional community or the positive attitude of clients. And there are those who would like at least once to hear recognition from you personally, as a manager. In each of these cases, you can express approval in different ways. For example, it could be a thank you from a satisfied customer, or a short one-on-one conversation with a manager.

Respect someone else’s individuality. There is no universal way to praise. For example, an extrovert is more likely to be delighted by a public recognition, while a person with a pronounced introversion would clearly prefer to attend a conference in his field or a letter of appreciation.

Feedback is as important as recognition. Exchange opinions, feedback is always a reciprocal process. Remain open to dialogue and correct, be willing to listen to different points of view and offer a solution to the problem.

Opportunity to Evolve

A glass ceiling is the feeling that there is nowhere else to move professionally… People lose motivation to work when they do not see options for development.

Creating an environment that encourages initiative and a desire to grow is important.

Take advantage of each employee’s personality traits. If a manager listens to the ideas of subordinates, approves their willingness to take responsibility for complex tasks – it generates trust and motivates as much as material rewards.

Restraining the growth of employees, authoritarian leadership style and full control give the feeling of a “cage” and, naturally, reduce the involvement of specialists.

Mentoring and Experience Transfer

This is an effective tool of motivation, especially for those who are not only interested in their own professional growth, but also eager to help their colleagues.

The task of the manager is to structure and think through the system of internal mentoring so that the strongest employees “bring up” the new staff. A person who has gone a long way of development will always remember that his professional growth is directly related to his place of work. Over time he becomes a mentor and teacher, moving on to the next stage of his development in the company.

The new person must constantly have an example in front of him of what can be achieved in the company. This creates a shared field of values, strengthens the horizontal links between employees, and creates a feeling of freedom. Even disagreements that arise in the process serve as a growth point for a new level of communication with colleagues.

Inspiring employees to do their best is not an easy thing to do. Companies seek and apply different ways to achieve this goal: they try to diversify and improve office life, implement systems of incentives, including non-material ones. Despite this, many employees do not want to immerse themselves in the activities of the company, being limited to the performance of their immediate duties.

Material rewards and a good salary are certainly important factors. For many people they are decisive. But besides prosperity, a person always seeks a sense of comfort and security. An employee wants to be sure that the company values his professionalism. A considerable part of time is spent on work, so “motivation for money” gradually loses priority for those who are satisfied with the level of income.

With intangible tools of encouragement you can create an atmosphere of trust and respect for each other, help employees to open up, to feel their own importance and uniqueness.

There is no irreplaceable, but it does not mean that coming into the office, a person loses his or her individuality. A talented team, driven by shared views and values, is able to move mountains, if they know why. And a manager is in a position to help them do that – by celebrating achievements, sorting out failures, and helping them pump up their skills.

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