Career Development

5 Steps for Increasing Creativity in the Workplace

February 22, 2021

Creativity is not only a fun trait but also a rewarding skill in the modern workplace. It promotes critical thinking and innovation, creating higher levels of productivity and employee satisfaction. Encourage creativity in the workplace by following a simple process and implementing additional measures for employees as necessary. In this article, we discuss creativity and importance, list five steps for increasing creativity in the workplace and list a series of additional tips for both encouraging and nurturing creativity.

What is creativity?

Creativity is the act of turning innovative or imaginative ideas into reality. It's also the ability to see a problem from a different perspective and develop new solutions for it. Creativity requires lateral thinking, which involves the ability to perceive patterns and develop solutions in new and unique ways.

Read more: Creativity Skills: Definition, Tips and Examples

Why is creativity important?

Creativity is important because it keeps businesses moving forward with innovation. It encourages new and unique ideas and challenges employees to consider situations from a new perspective. Creating an environment that nurtures and prohibits new ways of handling common issues increases productivity and morale across an entire organization. Employees feel more confident in sharing their ideas. The more ideas employees have, the more innovative a company can become.

Read more: Creativity in the Workplace: Characteristics and Examples

How to increase creativity in the workplace

Here are several steps necessary for promoting creativity within the workplace:

  1. Hire the right people.
  2. Implement work flexible hours.
  3. Provide space for critical thinking.
  4. Act on good ideas.
  5. Reward creativity.

1. Hire the right people

Organizations that focus on diversity within their hiring efforts often bring more unique individuals into the business with varying perspectives. These perspectives allow them to see problems from a different angle and develop creative solutions for addressing them. Businesses that have employees with similar educational and cultural backgrounds often find that their ideas stagnate or become very similar to one another.

Direct your hiring efforts on diverse individuals with different skill sets than those currently employed. This creates a new atmosphere with increased innovation.

2. Implement flexible work hours

Consider adding flexible or work-from-home hours for departments that only need an internet connection. Working from home often reduces stress, allowing employees to think more clearly and come up with more effective ideas. Ensure steady productivity at home by setting guidelines for work along with clear expectations. Coordinate with managers and their teams to determine a flexible schedule that works best for them and also accommodates the business' needs.

3. Provide space for critical thinking

Consider the design of your workplace from the color scheme to the light sources. Colors impact the energy of a space which either benefits or dissuades creative thinking. For example, individuals in rooms with colors such as pastel blues and greens often feel more comfortable and energized than those in rooms with white or gray walls. Lighting also plays a large role by properly illuminating spaces and making it easier to concentrate. Consider adding natural light where needed or use warm-tinted light bulbs that create similar lighting.

4. Act on good ideas

Encourage employees to share their ideas by implementing good ones that arise. Additionally, communicate to the employee personally that you plan to implement or execute their idea. Wait for positive results, then formally tell the team who inspired the change. Addressing and publicly commending a good idea fosters further sharing of ideas and greater levels of innovation. Team members feel more inspired to share their thoughts and opinions.

5. Reward creativity

Creativity only occurs when a business creates an atmosphere that allows it. When it does occur, reward it by whichever means you deem fit. For example, some companies award employees who share new and daring ideas. Others offer bonuses to those who were against ideas that later proved fruitless. Rewarding creativity gives it value, making it a more actionable endeavor for employees.

Tips for increasing creativity

Here's a list of more ideas that encourage creativity in the workplace:

  • Offer further training.
  • Establish a clear mission and vision.
  • Communicate the company's direction.
  • Get employees more involved.
  • Encourage collaboration.
  • Create time and space for fun activities.

Offer further training

Offer additional training when you're able, ensuring that all employees know what they need to do as well as what management expects of them. Upon training your employees, explain how their ideas, skills and overall intelligence represent real value to the company. When employees feel valued, they feel more connected to the company and more willing to work hard for it.

Related: 10 Ways to Improve Your Creative Problem-Solving Skills

Establish a clear mission and vision

Create a clear mission and vision and reiterate it frequently. Ensure all employees are aware of your strategy and remain as transparent as you can about it. Sharing information builds further trust and a stronger bond between a company and its employees, as employees then understand the current state of the business and how their work impacts the company.

Communicate the company's direction

Communicate a clear idea of the company's direction or long-term goals. Additionally, include data or other statistics proving how each team's work affects the company's direction. Creating an open atmosphere shows employees their value to the company and encourages them to help reach both short- and long-term goals.

Get employees more involved

Create a sense of transparency within your business by sharing relevant information with employees. Transparency encourages employees to feel more involved with the business' decisions and performance. Companies that share more often appear to care more about their employees and employee involvement. It instills a sense of ownership among employees and encourages them to work harder and think more creatively to achieve goals.

Encourage collaboration

Creativity often flourishes in group- or team-oriented environments. Encourage collaboration among employees by allowing them to work together on certain tasks. As they work together, they're more likely to come up with new and creative ideas, using each other as inspiration. If some employees work from home or in separate office spaces, encourage the use of video chatting as well.

Create time and space for fun activities

Schedule team or company outings occasionally throughout the year. This can include anything from paid lunches at nice restaurants to visiting a sport or gaming center. Consider including unique amenities in the office as well such as a video game room, fitness center or coffee shop. It allows team members to get to know each other in a more casual environment and reduces work-related stress.

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