A survey of CEOs revealed that they most valued the skill of creativity, the ability to solve problems, the tendency to come up with new solutions, and the use of brainpower to figure things out when asked, “What is the skill you value most in people?” If you are a business owner, it is likely that creativity, innovation, and “taking the initiative” are skills you are desperately seeking in new hires as well as current employees.

However, while creativity may be a sought-after skill, 75 percent of people think they are not living up to their creative potential. This troubling mismatch can exist for many reasons. It could be due to a lack of creativity in company culture, the organizational hierarchy, a lack of autonomy when it comes to how employees work, or poor skill building. Whatever is the case, companies have a lot to gain when their employees are allowed to flex their creative muscle.

creativityAccording to Adobe, companies that foster creativity are 3.5 times more likely to outperform their peers concerning revenue growth. They also outperform their less creative counterparts in market share growth by a factor of 1.5. Cultivating creativity among your team is essential to success. Take a look at these four ways to help incorporate creativity among your employees.

Offer Opportunities for Your Team to Learn Something New

It is hard to be creative when the same thing is expected of you over and over again. Many times, a spark of creativity is fostered when you pick up a new skill or become familiar with a new concept. Some of your employees may have a new idea but may lack all the skills necessary to develop it fully.

Offering opportunities for training and development can give them the tools they need to cultivate new ideas and see them through to completion. For example, you may have a content creator who feels that short company videos can increase website views. However, they may not be an expert at video production. Allowing them to pick up the basics for this new skill can give them what they need to improve your content marketing strategy.

Ensure Creativity is A Part of Your Company Culture

Is your company dedicated to creativity and innovation, even if it may slightly delay productivity? As a business owner, you may think your company promotes creativity, but it is easy to make a day-to-day commitment to productivity rather than creativity especially if you and your team have taken on too much. According to Adobe, people reported increasing pressure to be productive rather than creative at work. In the U.S. and U.K., 80 percent of workers felt this way. So, one of the best ways to incorporate creativity into your company culture is to build in “creative time.”

Are there days or times during the week that you can allow employees to brainstorm or come up with new ideas or solutions to on-going problems? Can you scale back on projects to give your team time to come up with creative methods? Is senior management making a point to highlight employees or teams that consistently innovate? Make sure you and leadership make creativity a significant part of the company culture.

Provide the Right Tools

creativityIt’s challenging to be creative when you do not have the best resources at your disposal. The “right tools” can mean many things depending on where you would like your team to focus their creative efforts. If you want more innovation regarding your marketing or branding, having software that allows your organization to test the waters in graphic design, video production, or blog writing can help improve creativity in this area.

You could also need a better approach to your accounting or finance strategy. The “right tools” in this scenario could be a more responsive budgeting or finance software and tools that allow your team to better collaborate like Slack or Asana. Even creating a “brainstorm room” with a whiteboard, boardroom style tables, and outlets for laptops can be the resource that helps your team create innovative ideas. See where the innovation is lacking and work with your team to identify the best tools to cultivate creativity.

Reward and Acknowledge Creativity When You See It

Positive reinforcement is the key to promoting any favorable behavior you want to increase. Make it known that creativity is a crucial skill you are seeking by rewarding those who use it. If you had a team that took it upon themselves to collaborate on developing a more streamlined expense report process, publically acknowledging their work, allowing them to explain how they did it, and rewarding their efforts in some way can help set the creative tone. This effort on your part lets the rest of your team know that creativity is significant, that others are engaging in the behavior, and that they will be rewarded for it. This tactic can even help foster some healthy competition regarding idea creation and follow-through.

Final Thoughts

Many of the problems facing today’s companies are more complicated than they have ever been. With constantly changing consumer preferences, higher expectations, and increasing responsibilities, creativity and innovation are two of the most critical skills today’s employees need to have. However, business owners have to make it easy for employees to flex these muscles. Through training and development, setting times for brainstorming, offering the best tools possible, and acknowledgment, the stage is set for employees to embrace creativity and develop solutions that move your business forward.


 

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