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The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

How to Inspire your Employees and Increase Productivity

Inspire Employees

You want to get the most out of your people… so how do you really inspire them? 

Most of the managers immediately respond, “Pay them more!” Believe it or not, that’s not going to cut it. 

Most employees are not coin-operated, and more money does not lead to more engagement.

Wonderfully stated in a Harvard Business Review article, authors Eric Garton and Michael C. Mankins explained there are four levels of employee engagement: Dissatisfied, Satisfied, Engaged, and Inspired, and they pointed to recent productivity research related to each level. 

Here’s what they learned.

  • Dissatisfied employees produce 29% less than Satisfied employees 
  • Engaged employees produce 44% more than Satisfied employees
  • Inspired employees produce 225% more than Satisfied employees 

In other words, the production of one Inspired employee can equal that of 2.5 Satisfied employees. Imagine having a team full of Inspired employees!

The authors explained, “Employees react differently when they encounter a wall. Satisfied employees hold a meeting to discuss what to do about walls. Engaged employees begin looking around for ladders to scale the wall. Inspired employees break right through it.”

How Do You Create Inspired Employees? 

  1. Hire highly-talented people whose strengths match up well with the job they will be doing. When we are in a position to use our strengths every day, we feel a strong sense of purpose which is inspirational. 8 Things To Do To Turn Talent Into Performance
  1. Assign accounts and responsibilities that line up best with each individual’s natural strengths and behaviors. Fill their plates with things that are a great match and will inspire them. 
  1. Make sure that your company and your team has a very clear mission that everyone can get behind and articulate. When asked about their job or their company, they should find they feel a strong sense of inspiration as they provide the answer.
  1. Dial-in to the personal mission of each individual on your team. Know what motivates them, what drives them to perform at work, and what feels rewarding. Manage each person on your team differently, providing each individual with the unique coaching, recognition, and reward that will feel most meaningful to them. 
  1. Give people the opportunity to shine! Firmly understand their strengths so you can push them outside of their comfort zones in areas where they are sure to succeed. Recognize their success and reward their growth.
  1. Pay attention to The Pyramid of Employee Needs (below) and make it a goal every day to look for ways your direct reports can derive meaning and purpose from your team’s mission.


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*Editor's Note: This article was originally published in 2015 and has since been updated.

Topics: sales performance sales talent