Do you run a workplace in which staff members feel free to express new ideas? Do your workers come to you with new plans or solutions about how to run company meetings more efficiently? Have your employees ever provided ideas for a new marketing plan or offered topics for the company’s blog?
If this does not sound familiar, your company may be unintentionally stifling employee creativity. A lack of creativity amongst your employees, in today’s business environment, can spell the doom for your company and may keep you one step behind the competition.
Regardless of the industry, creativity is required to produce new ideas and rethink processes. Getting your employees to think creatively can mean that you have a whole team of people trying to develop your business. Not always, but generally employees will not apply their creative minds to your company unless you inspire them to do so.
The best way to nurture creativity is to actually entice your employees to come up with new ideas and then to listen closely to these ideas when employees bring them to you. Send out an email blast asking employees for ideas to better your company’s products or services. Post a notice on the bulletin board asking for suggestions on how to enhance the company blog or increase its customer-approval ratings. Next, when employees answer these calls, meet with them—even if it is during a quick phone call—to discuss their recommendations. You don’t have to apply all employee ideas, obviously, but to show respect, you should pay attention to them all.
If you presume that your employees do not have good ideas, then you may be missing out. In addition, not listening to them, or ignoring ideas will motivate your employees to do the bare minimum. You will end up with a group of people working for the weekend.
To truly stimulate creativity, reward those employees who do come up with strong ideas. This could mean having to pay a small bonus to those employees whose ideas you use. It could mean praising employees in company newsletters or memos. It could even mean an in-person “thank you.”
By nature, people are creative; it’s part of being human. We all have independent thoughts and ideas. That being said, even if employees don’t convey it, many have ideas and thoughts on how to better their jobs. Many employers don’t encourage creativity and this is an untapped resource. So be sure to encourage creativity among your team—the rewards will surprise you.