No one wants their employees dreading work every day. There will always be days when some people are less motivated, but a business shouldn’t pride itself on holding employees hostage for a paycheck. Leaders should look for opportunities to make employees feel valuable to a business. When employees feel valued, they will be inspired to do better work. One way to empower employees in their jobs is to encourage a corporate culture of creativity.
Creativity is an essential part of company culture, but one that is often neglected to target efficiency. While efficiency is important (as it helps balance the bottom line), creativity shouldn’t be ignored, because of the possibilities it offers to a company.
The Benefits of Creativity
Encouraging creativity in the workplace has been shown to promote problem solving, increase productivity, and encourage retention of quality employees, as well as improve staff morale.
There are several well researched practices which have been proven foster creativity within a company:
- Challenge people intellectually by matching them with problems to solve that are within their level of expertise.
- Give employees choice in tasks that allow flexibility.
- Supply appropriate resources needed to complete a task.
- Design work groups effectively by ensuring some common ground, but enough diversity to bring dimension to the team effort.
- Develop an atmosphere of support by praising work and limiting judgment, to encourage people to feel free to think outside of the box.
- Design the corporate culture to support creative efforts.
How to Begin
If building a happy and productive work environment sounds like a good plan, you might ask yourself how to go about enhancing creativity within a corporate culture. There are some surprising traps for those looking to encourage creativity. For example, a company can have the most state of the art technology, a stimulating environment, and plenty of resources … and still struggle with creativity.
Creativity is often stifled is because it relies heavily on people, not just environment. To promote a culture of creativity, there are a few simple things that can completely change the dynamic of the company:
- Make trust a priority. Design teams of people who jive well together and feel comfortable sharing ideas without fear of negative feedback. A negative influence can absolutely destroy a whole team.
- Balance active and inactive work. Too much pressure can stifle productivity while too little can cause loss of drive. Somewhere in the middle should allow for informal discussions and solutions to ebb and flow until ideas begin to flow organically.
- Invest in leadership. Leaders who are knowledgeable about their job and people can inspire creativity by recognizing strengths in their team members.
- Have clear and common goals. When all the wheels are spinning in the same direction, momentum happens. Make sure everyone knows the desired outcome.
For a closer look at how this process works, watch Creativity in the Workplace – What You Should Know.
A Ripple of Change
Just like any change to corporate culture, people will not feel inspired overnight. As I mentioned in my previous article in this series, small ripples of change are needed to create the tidal wave of positive change. Strong leaders play a key role in encouraging creativity. Finding or nurturing those leaders takes time. Those leaders then need to get to really know their employees to effectively implement a culture of creativity. Employees have to learn to trust their leaders to give honest but constructive feedback, and leaders must work to prove that creative ideas are valued. That takes time, too.
But it’s an investment worth making. When people feel free to be creative, the possibilities for a business become endless.