How To Promote Creativity at Work (With Its Benefits)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published October 18, 2021

Creativity is an essential process for creating products or services that provide value to customers. Organizations rely on the creativity and innovation of their employees to develop products that can help them stay relevant in their industry. Understanding how to promote creativity at work can improve the quality of a company's output. In this article, we discuss how to promote creativity in the workplace, identify how to attract creative talents, and explore the benefits of encouraging creativity in the workplace.

How to promote creativity at work

Here are some steps you can follow to promote creativity at work:

1. Understand what creativity means

To effectively promote creativity in an organization, it's essential you know what it involves. Creativity refers to the ability or process of developing new and valuable ideas for application in real life. Creativity is both a skill and a work process that requires understanding a problem and applying innovation to develop unique and effective solutions. While creativity relies on imagination, it also involves reality, as it's essential that a creative idea is workable in reality for it to be valuable.

2. Set specific goals

Setting specific goals involves clarifying the objective of a task. This is important to guide the creative process because knowing the problem is essential to developing a workable solution. Managers or supervisors can clarify the goal in a simple and relatable manner to aid the creative process. When setting clear goals, it's important they discuss the purpose of the task, its timeline, the expectations of the client, and how they intend to address the challenge. Clarifying these details can help creative employees develop practical solutions.

Related: How To Achieve Your Goals in 6 Steps (With Benefits)

3. Encourage open communication

Open communication refers to an atmosphere where employees and teammates can share their ideas freely without fear of condemnation or punishment. This is essential for the creative process, which prioritizes diverse ideas. In addition, when employees feel safe and respected, they're more likely to develop the confidence to contribute their ideas. Managers and supervisors can promote open communication by asking questions, encouraging everyone to contribute, and acknowledging participation.

4. Be constructive with criticism

Constructive criticism is an approach to giving feedback that focuses on when an employee performed well and providing solutions to areas that need work. Many leaders and professionals prefer this style of criticism, as it's positive and less likely to lead to defensiveness or demoralization of the recipient. When employees have no fear of harsh criticism, they're more likely to suggest their creative ideas. Offering constructive criticism teaches employees to work on optimizing their ideas rather than abandoning them.

Read more: A Guide To Constructive Criticism With Tips and Examples

5. Embrace diversity

Diversity refers to the presence of employees from different backgrounds within a team or an organization. When a team or organization is diverse, it often results in different approaches to problems due to varying perspectives. This can address different aspects of the problem, and when employees listen to these views, they're more likely to develop a comprehensive and unique idea.

6. Encourage brainstorming sessions

Brainstorming sessions are an essential part of the creative process. They refer to periods when employees meet and share ideas on how to solve a problem. Brainstorming sessions are usually informal and don't require anyone to come with a complete answer. Instead, their purpose is to allow employees to share ideas to develop a possible solution together. Organizations that intend to encourage creativity can invest in schedules or facilities to promote brainstorming among their staff.

Related: 7 Steps To Improve Your Creative Thinking Skills

7. Reward creativity

The easiest way to encourage a trait, attribute, or process in a workplace is to reward it. For example, organizations can develop an effective system to reward the most creative employees. When others notice it, they're more likely to focus on improving their creativity, leading to healthy competition. When creating a reward system, ensure it's objective, transparent, and fair. Also, to prevent unhealthy competition or a toxic work environment, reward only ethical performances.

8. Create a comfortable work environment

For employees to focus on generating unique ideas, it's important they work in a comfortable work environment. This involves access to resources and safety from health hazards. There are also in-office facilities that encourage creativity which organizations can invest in, such as a brainstorming room with a more relaxed and informal decor to stimulate creativity, fun rooms, yoga classes, and healthy snacks.

9. Allow room for failure

Most creative ideas require multiple reviews and adjustments to become practical. Professionals typically benefit from shared input and feedback to develop a workable and creative idea. This makes it important that employees know it's fine to fail or suggest initially impractical ideas. This gives them the confidence to share their ideas and remain dedicated to improving them.

10. Invest in employee development

While some employees have the talent for creativity, it's also a skill that others can learn. Usually, creativity is a function of a thorough understanding of a field or subject. To promote creativity in the workplace, organizations can invest in professional development opportunities geared towards improving creativity. This can include seminars, workshops, training sessions, or office activities to teach employees about the creative process and how to use it. Organizations can also encourage employees to work on more complex projects to develop their thinking and innovation skills.

How to attract creative talents to an organization

Follow these steps to attract creative candidates to an organization:

1. Use a creative job posting

The job posting is the first contact potential employees have with an organization. While it can seem like an ordinary advertisement, the job posting is a great opportunity to demonstrate the work culture of the company. By using a creative job posting, you're more likely to attract creatives. In addition, you can add some humour, witty remarks, and casual language to the job posting if it suits your company's tone.

2. Allow flexible work options

Creative employees value flexible work options that allow them to immerse themselves in the creative process. Incorporating these work options gives employees more autonomy over how they work, which can stimulate creativity. For example, an employee can go to a favourite spot for inspiration while working remotely.

3. Consider a relaxed corporate culture

The corporate culture of an organization determines how employees complete work. The creative process requires a culture where employees can relax and communicate freely. Organizations looking to promote creativity can relax rules relating to dress codes and formal communication. This can help employees become more comfortable and stimulate the exchange of ideas.

4. List creativity in your skill requirements

Listing creativity in your skill requirements is an effective way of showing that an organization values it. Hiring managers can prioritize candidates who demonstrate creativity on their resumes. They can also ask questions relating to creativity during an interview to identify the most creative candidates.

5. Offer fun work benefits

Work benefits are effective in attracting all types of employees. Organizations can offer benefits that specifically appeal to creative candidates. For example, creative candidates sometimes prefer fun and stimulating workplaces, such as those that use games for socialization, or have open floor plans to encourage collaboration.

Benefits of encouraging creativity in the workplace

Here are some benefits of encouraging creativity in the workplace:

Promotes collaboration

Creativity is a collaborative process that requires employees to share ideas and consider various perspectives. Encouraging creativity encourages employees to collaborate on tasks. This can help them better understand each other's strengths and weaknesses and improve work relationships.

Related: Promoting Collaboration in the Workplace: All You Need To Know

Improves quality of ideas

The creative process prioritizes the uniqueness of an idea, making employees more likely to spend time developing their ideas, resulting in more high-quality ideas within the team. The creative process encourages diversity and the exchange of ideas. This makes organizations that prioritize creativity more likely to produce higher quality products and services.

Improves efficiency

Creative employees naturally look for the easiest and most effective way to complete tasks. This means an organization that prioritizes creativity is likely to have efficient work processes and structures. This can improve productivity and contribute positively to the organization's overall profitability.

Improves employee morale

Creativity involves giving employees the freedom to explore ideas outside normal limitations. An organization that encourages creativity among employees typically trusts them enough to give them that autonomy. This trust can inspire employees, increase their confidence, and lead to an improvement in morale. Creativity often allows employees to be more comfortable in the workplace, improving their morale.

Reduces cost

When organizations encourage creativity among their employees, they're less likely to outsource business processes that require creativity. While it's reasonable to outsource these processes to creative specialists, the costs can become a challenge. By encouraging creativity among employees, organizations can handle more tasks in-house and reduce their operational costs.

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