5 Ways Fostering Creativity at Work Benefits the Business.

This is a guest post by Joe Peters. Thank you, Joe for writing this excellent article for us.

“For innovation to flourish, organizations must create an environment that fosters creativity; bringing together multi-talented groups of people who work in close collaboration together — exchanging knowledge, ideas, and shaping the direction of the future.” — Linda Naiman

If you were to take stock of your company’s assets, would your team be among them?

Staff dissatisfaction and high turnover rates lead to stagnation, and it will cost you money in terms of retraining, loss of productivity, and growth.

As a well-known comedian once stated, if it’s not new, it’s through.

What Drives Creativity in the Workplace?

There is more than one path to productivity. When you create a workspace that encourages the flow of ideas, your team becomes empowered and motivated. They feel more invested in their work and the success of your enterprise.

This leads to better work performance and increases productivity.

Talented people thrive in an environment that’s creative and flexible. They’re better able to find unique solutions to everyday problems and overcome big challenges. This is true in even the most sober industries.

But, those aren’t the only benefits to fostering creativity in your workplace.

Higher employee satisfaction means higher retention, less turnover, fewer mistakes, and more efficiency.

For those who are not in creative industries, such an environment seems out of reach or out of place. Perhaps it’s better to think of creativity as innovation. It seems more business-like and forward-thinking, but one can’t exist without the other.

Creativity drives innovation, which drives growth and keeps you viable. It expands the boundaries of thought and action in ways that remove the fear of failure and allow your team to tackle problems head-on.

So, how can you encourage and support creativity in your office?

It’s as easy as following these five steps.

1. Create an Environment Where Creativity is Valued

Creativity should be part of your business plan, not just a means to an end. When you create an environment that stifles creativity, you doom your company to stagnation.

Rather than viewing creative and original thought as a challenge to the status quo, think of it as the fuel that rockets your company to the top.

When interviewing new applicants, look for those who are open to new ways of doing things. Encourage staff members to come up with fresh ideas and provide them with the means to communicate them. Recognize the value of their creative vision and reward success.

2. Clearly Communicate Company Values and Goals

Even creativity needs some boundaries in which to flourish. Ideally, your business plan combines your company vision and mission, which are informed by your values.

Clearly communicate that vision and values to your team and lead by example. When your staff knows where your company is going and shares your vision for how to get there, they can direct their creativity into effective channels that support your ideals and move your business forward. Encourage independence, but establish procedures and clear rules for company ethics.

3. Give Your Team the Right Tools

Creative people can make do with whatever tools are at hand. But, why put your team through the frustration of never having what they need to get the job done? For modern businesses to remain productive and efficient, embrace technologies that support innovation.

Digital transformation includes acquiring technologies like productivity suites that free time and make innovation more accessible. Your team can also test ideas digitally before implementing them and predict outcomes — or identify possible consequences — in a safe environment.

Rather than stifling creativity, the right technologies applied where they’re more effective, enhance innovation without endangering production or outcomes.

4. Encourage Open Communication and Collaboration

This shouldn’t be difficult if you’ve implemented the first three points. But, there’s more than can be done to nurture creativity and innovation at your workplace. An open, innovative environment is supported by everything from office design and layout to how you schedule downtime.

Keep an open mind, listen to and consider the viewpoints of others, and encourage collaboration through formal and informal sessions. These can include regular corporate town halls, team brainstorming sessions, and encouraging staff engagement.

Don’t be afraid to try new ideas or directions as long as they’re in line with company goals and values.

Diverse workplaces are a garden of ideas and innovations. Consider unique perspectives and tap into those bits of intelligence without making staff feel exploited or used.

5. Recognize, Reward, and Celebrate

Success may be its own reward, but that doesn’t mean your team doesn’t need to feel valued and appreciated. Studies prove that the expectation of being rewarded for a job well-done, whether financially or through a system of formal recognition, is a prime motivator on the job.

However, sometimes formal recognition in the form of bonuses and awards is surface and fleeting.

When you want to support long-term productivity and keep your team motivated, they need to feel valued and appreciated every day. I don’t mean that you should give them a gold star just for showing up.

Implement and encourage a growth mindset that’s part and parcel of your day-to-day operations. This helps your team feel like they’re making a meaningful contribution to your company’s success rather than just completing tasks.

When you reward your staff for their ideas and performance, creativity, engagement, and innovation flow.

Final Thoughts

Are you tired of chasing productivity? Maybe it’s time to change the way you view success. More traditional office philosophies will improve productivity at your workplace. But letting some creativity in will benefit you more in terms of innovation and flexibility.

Agile businesses can move through trends and downturns and retain relevance without losing their trajectory. Those are the keys to growth, success, and longevity, and they begin with creative thinking that has the room to flourish and develop.

Joe Peters is a Baltimore-based freelance writer and an ultimate techie. When he is not working his magic as a marketing consultant, this incurable tech junkie devours the news on the latest gadgets and binge-watches his favorite TV shows. Follow him on @bmorepeters

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Carl Pullein

Carl Pullein

I help people learn to manage their lives and time better so they can experience joy and build a life they are truly proud of. www.carlpullein.com