Inspiration energises the working community

The change in work is now on everyone’s lips. Repeatable, routine work is increasingly being transferred to machines and algorithms. Many challenging tasks, such as cancer diagnoses, will soon be better made by artificial intelligence than human beings. Any remaining work will involve either creative expertise or human interaction – for the time being, these tasks are difficult to replace with machines.

This is why inspiration is an essential fuel for future working life. In routine work, it doesn’t really matter how the employee feels, but when the understanding of extensive entities and innovative solutions are required, people who are inspired about the matter have been proven to be significantly more productive. Similarly in customer service work, the employee’s inspiration shines through and electrifies the customer encounter. This is why inspiration and the inner desire to do your work well have become an essential competitive edge – also when recruiting the best experts.

Where can one then find inspiration? There are some key factors that light up a person’s inner fire. Firstly, it’s important to be given tasks that are interesting and just challenging enough. Having enough of a say on how the work goals are reached is especially important. Too much controlling and watching over the employee’s shoulder indicates a lack of trust and quickly eats up employees’ inner motivation. An atmosphere of trust and mutual encouragement is the mainstay of a working community that supports inspiration.

At the same time, one of the most important tasks of the manager is to make sure that people remember the greater purpose towards which everyone is striving together: What is the societal or human good that our organisation is promoting? When the management is able to communicate a plausible common purpose – and also genuinely believes in it – it has a strong energising effect on the working community.

A human being is, by nature, functional and social. That’s why our humanity is at its best when we are part of a community where we can together strive for a valuable goal. When a working community succeeds in this, the inspiration is palpable.

The author Frank Martela earned his PhD at Aalto University and works nowadays as a researcher at University of Helsinki and a trainer in Filosofian Akatemia. His research subjects are good life and humanity. He is also M. Soc. Sc. and M. Sc. (Tech.) by training.