6 Ways to Make Creativity Part of Your Company Culture
In an ideal world, creativity would be a big part of most employees’ work lives. In reality, much of your team is feeling checked out and uninspired. Gallup found 70 percent of employees are disengaged on the job, and some of this lack of connection might stem from letting your best creatives wither on the vine.
The inaugural Creative Jobs Report found employees are desperate for more creative outlets. According to the study, 55 percent of employees would cut their traditional career for a more creative self-employed role. Additionally, lack of creativity in their current role has already driven 36 percent of employees to dream of more innovative roles — at other companies.
Considering employee turnover can cost upwards of 50 to 60 percent of an employee’s annual salary, implementing a more creative company culture can actually save your bottom line.
Employees are desperate for more creative outlets. 55 percent of employees would cut their traditional career for a more creative self-employed role.
Here are six ways to make creativity an integral part of your company culture and keep your people engaged and able to dream up your company’s newest innovation:
1. Be Transparent With Your Company Road Map
To inspire meaningful creativity, your company needs to be transparent. If employees can’t see the company road map, they are limited in the ways in which they can innovate. Employees stumbling around in the dark aren’t likely to put a spark to creative ideas. Instead, they’ll have their heads down; focused on lower level directives.
“How Leaders Grow Today,” a recent study by Dale Carnegie, demonstrated that 43 percent of employees were familiar with company goals, but couldn’t actually name any when asked. If you want to empower your workforce to be more creative, you must first shine a light on company-wide objectives. Communicate your company vision and progress constantly. Tools that provide real-time tracking ensure work is cascading towards goals, instead of becoming misaligned, and allow everyone to have a finger on the pulse of your organization. Once everyone understands large-scale company goals, they’ll have the tools they need to think more creatively about their everyday work.
To inspire meaningful creativity, your company needs to be transparent.
2. Encourage Innovation
As a company, you should work hard to bake innovation into your company culture. Creativity should be part of your organization’s everyday life and, if possible, incorporated into your mission statement and encouraged on a daily basis.
Sometimes creative thinking falls away, a victim to heavy workloads and time constraints. Set up a biweekly or monthly meeting with your team focused entirely on creativity and brainstorming. Take your employees on a company retreat where you can all escape the daily pressures and focus instead on the big picture. It’s important to encourage innovation and creativity at every level of your organization, so employees never forget its importance.
While no one wants to fail on the job, you’ll never get anywhere by having your team play it safe all the time. Encourage an experimental, collaborative outlook on projects.
3. It’s Ok To Fail
Big risks mean big rewards, but also increase the chances of failure. While no one wants to fail on the job, you’ll never get anywhere by having your team play it safe all the time. Encourage an experimental, collaborative outlook on projects. You don’t want your team so afraid of making a mistake they never try to stretch or grow.
With increased transparency, teams can fail faster, pivot more quickly, and learn more valuable lessons from those mistakes. By giving employees a way to visualize the work of their peers, as well as their own progress, you are also giving them ownership over their own workflow. This combination can provide the confidence to take calculated risks, knowing there’s a transparent safety net below if they fall.
4. Listen To Feedback
Your best employees probably have top-notch creative ideas, so why aren’t they sharing? The problem arises when your team doesn’t feel like upper management is listening. According to a survey by Fierce, Inc., less than one-third of workers felt their company would be willing to change practices based on employee feedback.
With increased transparency, teams can fail faster, pivot more quickly, and learn more valuable lessons from those mistakes.
When your team doesn’t feel heard, they’ll stop trying to communicate. This isn’t good news for company progress overall; and it’s certainly not good news for engagement, innovation, or creative problem solving. Utilize feedback programs to ensure communication is a two-way street.
Send out regular feedback and satisfaction surveys to see where your company excels and where it falls short. Implement an open door policy, so any employee can go to upper management with a question or concern and feel recognized. Use real-time tracking to provide more specific and actionable feedback to employees, so they understand where they stand. Promote these feedback programs and communicate with your team when changes are made thanks to smart employee feedback, so they know you’re listening.
5. Implement Flexible Roles
It’s easy for people’s roles to coalesce and for workers to lose the ability to fully leverage a unique skill set. Occasionally asking your team to work outside their traditional roles and work on projects beyond their comfort zones will flex their creative muscles; keeping them nimble and focused.
You might be surprised at the outside-the-box thinking that comes from utilizing team members with fresh eyes. Your employees will get to stretch new professional skills on the job, allowing them to feel more creative. Fostering the growth of your team is always a good idea, and can shake up employees who feel creatively stagnant.
Occasionally asking your team to work outside their traditional roles and work on projects beyond their comfort zones will flex their creative muscles; keeping them nimble and focused.
6. Never Get Complacent
It’s easy for your teams to fall into a rut and miss opportunities for fresh ideas or new processes. This is why creativity is so important. Reward creativity, and make sure you are fostering a transparent environment that encourages all workers to dream big and think in new ways.
The creative fulfillment of your workforce starts at the top of your organization. By making your company more transparent, you empower your people to understand overarching company strategy, and contribute to higher level goals. You’ll be surprised how quickly your team spreads their wings, and starts providing the innovations your company needs to soar.
What do you think? How does your company culture encourage creativity? Share in the comments!
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