I firmly believe that as an entrepreneur, it’s important to grow your sense of curiosity and creativity. This principle applies to your employees as well. When you’re leading a business it’s easy to make encouraging productivity among your employees your top priority. But this shouldn’t come at the cost of fostering creativity in the workplace.
Does a company have to sacrifice one for the other? Luckily, there are tons of ways to encourage creativity in your team—making for happier and more productive workers.
Showing your employees that their boss can think creatively will inspire them to do the same. Try to think aloud and brainstorm at your meetings. Be sure to float new ideas and invite others to ask questions or give feedback.
A creative manager can model what it looks like to think outside the box and get your employees’ imaginations up and running.
Creativity doesn’t have to be super-innovative to be useful. Simply suggesting a new way to file paperwork or communicate with the main office can be a welcome change. There are two main ways that creativity emerges at work:
Many companies have ushered in a new culture of fostering creativity in the workplace by having an informational seminar. In fact, some companies perform these seminars for businesses that want to foster creativity in the workplace. In this seminar, your company could learn how to
Google has made this type of program famous, but many other companies have followed suit. Businesses that follow the “20 percent program” allow employees to spend 20 percent of their time working on side projects.
These projects could include just sitting and thinking, taking a jog, or researching something related or unrelated to their job on the computer. Go with their inspiration. Employees can stop what they are doing to pursue a new idea right away.
You don’t have to have a seminar or change your whole company policy to begin to foster creativity in the workplace. You can start implementing plans today.
Ask each employee to provide a suggestion for the next weekly or monthly meeting. Chances are your employees already have ideas that they have been hesitant to bring forward. Their suggestions could be anything from a brand-new product to a more efficient way of billing clients.
Commit to listening carefully and asking questions. Validation of creative thinking will foster more creativity later.
Most employees can be creative, but not all are bold about approaching the boss. Encourage employees to take time to huddle up with others to hammer out their ideas.
After an employee has submitted an idea in writing, you can set up a meeting for them with other team members that may have some good input.
A room with a white board and two or three creative employees can yield amazing ideas and plans.
No one wants to think they’ll waste their time coming up with an idea, only to have it shot down right away. Take their suggestions seriously – listen and ask questions.
Just ask Thomas Edison – The most innovative ideas often come after failed ones. Let your employees know that new ideas are always welcome, even if the implementation fails.
A creative workforce starts with a creative environment.
A homogeneous environment can kill creativity. It’s true that having a team with similar backgrounds, education, and experience can lead to easy bonding. But new, innovative ideas seldom come from a uniform group. When fostering creativity in the workplace, aim for both diversity and community.
“Cross fertilization” with departments that don’t usually work together can grow some great ideas.
Work can become too serious and stifling. A relaxed worker is a worker open to inspiration. When employees are relaxed at work, they feel free to be creative.
You may wonder how committing to fostering creativity in the workplace will realistically make your workforce more productive. Does it really work? The answer is yes. Here’s how:
Any business owner will tell you that one of their biggest challenges is finding and keeping committed, qualified employees.
An employee that is merely completing tasks, going through the motions of their job, and doing things “the way we’ve always done it” will be easily lured away. With all things equal, any employee would rather work for a company that provides a fun, creative environment.
When you retain good employees, you avoid spending countless hours searching for, interviewing, and training new candidates.
In the event that you do have a position to fill, remember that good employees from other companies will be attracted to a business committed to fostering creativity in the workplace, leaving you to take your pick from the most qualified candidates that suit your team’s needs.
As the boss, remember that employees will be more creative and productive if they feel that they can make an impact in their workplace, know that their ideas will be taken seriously, are not afraid to fail, and are free to have fun at work.
Fostering creativity in the workplace leads to increased productivity, innovation in your field, and employee retention. Employees that are free to be creative are happy, loyal, invested employees.
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LAWYER & ONLINE ENTREPRENEUR
After graduating from law school and passing the bar, I struggled to find work, pay my bills, and make ends meet. That's when I decided to take control of my future and start working for myself. Now, several years and a handful of companies later, I'm sharing how I launched a successful business, and how you can do it too.