Creativity is in high demand these days. It doesn't necessarily mean being good at creating graphics or using photoshop to create a flyer, but as a whole it includes working around a problem and expressing oneself to create something better.
All multinational companies these days endeavour to promote creativity amongst their employees. Take for example Google, which asks its employees to devote 20 percent* of their work time to their personal projects. This has resulted in many new technical innovations for Google.
A survey conducted by Overbury found that more than half (59%) of employees felt that development of new ideas was important for their organisation. Also, half (50%) of the employees agreed that their organisation could be more profitable if staff were allowed to be more creative. Also, every one in three employees felt that they were unable to generate new ideas at work and one in ten employee went on to call their workplace a “creative and cultural desert.”
It's usually perceived that when a younger workforce is employed, they bring with them fresh ideas and approaches. Even though most of these ideas may seem too much work and off the topic from what you do, managers still need to give them an ear. Listed below are 5 tried and tested ways employed by successful managers to boost creativity in the workplace:
1. Brainstorming sessions
The term brainstorming, which was coined by an advertising executive Alex Osborn way back in 1939, can now easily define any meeting room. The idea behind brainstorming sessions lies in encouraging the participants to speak up their mind, voice their concerns and also suggest improvements.
Managers should hold regular brainstorming sessions with their employees where they can have an equal opportunity of sharing ideas that they think useful. Note down the ideas and discuss them further with the group one by one, removing those ideas that don't deserve the time. However, if some ideas make sense for your business, then you should pursue them further. Opening up a problem to your staff and asking for their suggestions will not only surprise you with the number of innovative ideas that they can come up with, but also will make your employees feel important and appreciated.
2. Diversity of workforce
A healthy office environment is created by a heterogeneous mix of people. Your employees should come from all walks of life and regions so that they can pool in their experience together for your advantage. Having a uni-dimensional work force where everyone thinks alike, might not lead to confrontations, but it will also not lead to creativity that is born out of experience.
3. Support creative ideas
If you can attach an incentive to creativity, you will never be short on ideas. To think out of the loop, people need incentive – it can be either a personal sense of accomplishment or something more worldly! Let your employees know that they are not being treated as dummies working morning to evening in front of a computer screen, but are actually a part of the organisation and what they bring to the table is their brains and creativity.
4. Follow through with ideas
Even though you may have short-listed some ideas from brainstorming sessions and meetings, you still need to see them through or all the time that you spent on working on them would be a waste. Also, if employees see that their 'good' ideas are being shelved too often, they might not bother coming up with fresh ones. So, if you want people to take the entire creative process seriously, start acting on those ideas!
5. Provide a positive work environment
Don't be too formal or too casual at work. Allow for personal opinions to flourish. Also, managers who snoop on their employees can lead them to paranoia. Having a healthy work environment is essential for employees to excel. Fun and positivity helps flourish creativity and an increased sense of camaraderie.
The modern workplace is increasingly changing everyday to boost employee creativity. Corporations now woo their prospective employees with not only lounges and cafés, but also recreational facilities like basketball courts and swimming pools inside the office premises.
If you have some suggestions of your own to help bolster creativity in the workplace, then share them with us.