Creativity has always been an important aspect of any healthy work environment. In fact, according to LinkedIn Learning, it’s the most important skill in the world, but it’s not necessarily a skill that can be “turned on” on-demand. It’s unique in that it really isn’t a skill that can be learned.
Instead, creativity is something that needs to be inspired, especially in the workplace. There are many benefits to inspiring a creative workplace. Your employees can feel more fulfilled, you’ll notice a boost in productivity, and, as a team, you’ll see people come up with new ideas and concepts that can take your business to the next level.
So, how can you inspire creativity in your employees and develop a workplace culture that continuously encourages that inspiration? Let’s look at some helpful ideas that can get everyone’s creative juices flowing.
Cultivate a Creative Culture
You can’t expect your employees to experience a spark of creativity if your workplace environment is stagnant. As a leader within your company, it’s important for you to open up the doors of communication. Encourage creativity by listening to your employees and their ideas. Display an open attitude and be willing to show flexibility when someone has an idea. Additionally, you should encourage collaboration across departments. That’s how new ideas can really come to life.
If you’re not sure how to be more flexible, consider some of the following ideas:
- Allowing for alternative schedules so employees can come in at times that meet their needs
- Encouraging frequent breaks/time spent outside
- Allowing for some remote work
- Creating a more open office space for collaborative thinking
Encouragement needs to come from the whole team, not just from you, but, when a person in leadership spearheads an environment of creativity, others will follow. Encourage your team and they will encourage one another. One way to foster a bolstering environment is to have a “kudos board” that allows people to write down thoughtful notes to one another. It’s a great way to spread positivity and motivate others. Plus, handwriting can help to spark creativity and boost brain function.
Build a Diverse Team
Speaking of team encouragement, it’s important to have the right people on your team, and that starts with who you are and how different people are put together in groups. Instead of hiring individuals that look like they “fit” the image your business is trying to portray, hire based on diversity.
That includes looking for people with different backgrounds, strengths, weaknesses, and skills. When you bring in a variety of individuals with different experiences, they will have more creative knowledge that can be used together to create something unique and fresh. In order to do this, you have to let go of any antiquated ideas your company might be holding onto. Don’t stick to the status quo if you expect anyone to feel creative freedom. Instead of saying things like “that’s how it’s always been done here,” be open to new ideas from different types of people.
By fostering an environment where different points of view are not only allowed but encouraged, creativity will start to flow naturally from your employees. They’ll work together as a tight-knit team, and you may even see productivity start to increase too. A diverse team of employees working together can also help everyone to know that their ideas are supported. Feeling that kind of support from one another and from higher management can help employees to feel more connected to their work. It also creates a more psychologically safe team where different viewpoints contribute to fresh ideas and growth.
Encourage a Healthy Work-Life Balance
Stress can hinder creativity and productivity. Unfortunately, about 40% of American workers consider themselves to be stressed because of their job. Stress can lead to burnout, which not only puts a damper on creativity, but it can leave your employees feeling dissatisfied and unfulfilled. If your workplace doesn’t acknowledge the importance of employee wellness or a strong work-life balance, your workers might start to feel unappreciated and unable to find meaning in the work they do.
In order to help prevent employee burnout and encourage a better work-life balance, try some of the following strategies:
- Allow your employees work-from-home days
- Consider shorter workdays
- Extend vacations
- Allow for flexible schedules
- Reward your employees with family experiences (tickets to an event or activity).
To inspire creativity in the workplace, you have to be willing to be creative yourself. Think outside the box when it comes to different ways to spark something unique and inventive into your employees. Allow everyone to bounce ideas off of each other and foster an uplifting environment of encouragement. A creative team that feels free to express their ideas will come up with incredible ways to move your business forward, and it starts with your inspiration.