Encouraging creativity within an organization is vital to its long-term success. Although often overlooked, an environment that fosters creativity and innovation helps a business grow and keeps its employees happy.
The terms creativity and innovation are sometimes used interchangeably, but they are actually two very separate processes that require different skill sets and environments in order to thrive. Creativity is the ability to see how something is done and attempt to find a way to do it more effectively or enjoyably. Innovation is the process of taking these creative ideas and finding ways to implement them in a way that improves the productivity and profitability of the business. Both are needed to generate successful growth.
These four steps will help encourage your employees to be more creative in the workplace:
Some business leaders believe that because they have an open door policy, employees will just come in and present their ideas whenever they have one. Policies like these will not help encourage lower level workers to share their ideas with upper management. As a result, companies should provide incentives for submitting new ideas. Incentives can range from monthly awards that promote company-wide recognition to profit-sharing programs. Tangible motivation will help employees feel more comfortable and willing to bring their creative ideas forward.
Make innovative tools available
If you want your employees to be more creative, provide them with innovative tools. Today’s businesses have gone global, which has increased the need for global communications software. Online meeting tools that allow people to easily communicate with others across the world are ideal. Employees are able to brainstorm with others by using state-of-the-art features like whiteboards, screen sharing and file sharing.
Web conferencing tools such as these will help increase collaboration among employees and help make their ideas grow even bigger.
Allow some free time
While at work, most people are constantly in and out of meetings and inundated with other job-related tasks. This can cause burn out and leave no time to nurture their big ideas. If schedules and workload allow, try carving out time in the day so team members can explore industry-related topics that interest them. Not only will this help them flesh out their ideas, but it also gives them a mental break from their day-to-day responsibilities. Exploring new ideas will always get shoved to the back burner unless a company makes creative ideation an ingrained part of daily operations.
Follow-through may be one of the most important parts of encouraging creativity. An effective and delicate system must be in place so an idea can be thoroughly evaluated and determined if it is both practical and desirable.
Not every idea that’s presented by an employee will be approved. As a result, it’s important to follow-through with each individual and explain why their idea won’t or can’t be implemented. Your goal is to make everyone feel comfortable proposing one of their ideas and nothing is more discouraging than having an idea shot down without an explanation.
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