What is the secret ingredient to thriving businesses? According to a recent study by HBR, it may be human magic. The study found that companies with inspired and engaged employees are more likely to succeed than those without this kind of energy. So how do you create an inspiring and engaging workplace? It’s all about unleashing the power of human magic. Here are three ways to get started.
- Encourage creativity and autonomy.
- Promote a culture of learning and growth.
- Nurture a sense of community and camaraderie.
There are various methods to motivate people, one of which is a combination of carrots and sticks. This system uses financial incentives to get everyone on board with a plan designed by the top minds. However, research has shown that this method does not work for any cognitive or creative task. So what does work? According to former Best Buy CEO Hubert Joly, it takes several elements to create an environment where magic can happen, and its purpose can be fulfilled.
Deriving true meaning
While many companies are articulating their purpose, much remains to be learned about creating environments that can help turn intentions into reality. Defining a company’s purpose is only the first step; it is vitally important to foster an environment where employees can feel supported in their pursuit of this goal and become the best, biggest, and most beautiful version of themselves. Only then will a company unleash “human magic” and achieve great results.
A different approach to motivating people is needed. This could involve a change in the system of financial incentives, or it could mean finding other ways to motivate people. Executive coaching pioneer and author Sir John Whitmore has pointed out that if you treat people like donkeys, they will perform like donkeys. Multiple studies have confirmed that financial rewards do not drive motivation and performance for any work involving cognitive or creative skills.
Having a link to individual drives gives companies purpose, soul, and legs. Encouraging every employee to reflect on and share what they are driven by and articulating and constantly feeding the connection between that personal purpose and the company’s is one of the most crucial roles of any leader, from top executives to store managers.
Fostering individual learning and growth
When we start with the understanding that everyone is an individual, we work to create a sense of belonging. Diversity and inclusion are at our core, which means encouraging vulnerability. When Kamy Scarlett, then head of human resources, shared that she had battled severe depression on the company blog, her story resonated with many other people and unleashed a flood of support. This sent the signal that it’s OK not to be OK.
The pandemic has forced many people to work remotely, away from their colleagues. This can make it challenging to build authentic human connections. A Microsoft survey has revealed that the move to remote work during the pandemic shrunk people’s networks within organizations, making companies more siloed. Leaders can counteract this by learning how to connect remotely genuinely. We’ve seen leaders hold digital coffee breaks with colleagues and organize video meetings with no agenda with direct reports to connect in these challenging times. They also apply this to new employees to help onboard them and feel they belong.
Pursuing business growth is essential for a thriving company. Growth allows companies to improve productivity without layoffs, take risks and invest in the future. Moreover, pursuing growth leads to individual growth and drive, spawning innovation and further expansion.