Companies all over the world are starting to realize the importance of creativity in the workplace. Facebook, Twitter, Google, etc., are all coming up with ways to promote more creativity and diversity in the workplace. But how are they doing it? Programs that encourage creativity in the workplace help companies solve problems in unconventional ways – the kind that isn’t usually thought of on a normal workday.

There are many ways to promote creativity in the workplace, but here are a few methods that have worked well for several companies over the past years, a time in which creativity has become the most important key to a successful product launch.

Reward creativity.

Most companies have a skewed mentality when it comes to rewarding creativity. The end product is usually the property of the company, whether the initial idea came up during office hours or outside of the confines of the workplace. This protects a company’s intellectual property but doesn’t reward creative employees enough. If you want to encourage more creativity from your team, look into unconventional ways to reward these types of contributions.

Provide advancement opportunities.

Creative employees are bound to appreciate the offer of a promotion when the opportunity arises. If an employee is developing a product or service, look into putting him or her in charge of the deliverables and the production of the product. This will help create a startup mentality, so they’ll feel that they’re still in control of their idea, are being paid for it, and are learning a lot along the way. Don’t just snatch good ideas out of your employees’ hands, or they’ll end up hiding their ideas and not contributing creatively to the workplace.

Compensate adequately.

If an employee helps develop a product that can be offered as an add-on service that will bring in a lot of money, be sure to compensate your employees adequately. Offer bonuses for new ideas that you’re able to actually take to the market. This will give your employees more incentive to create products or add-on services for your company. You’ll make more money in the long term, while promoting an atmosphere that fosters creativity.

Create teams that focus strictly on innovation.

If you’re looking for innovation in your company, you can start by creating programs and teams that focus strictly on just that. Creating an innovation team will bring a group of individuals from all areas of the business together to brainstorm the feasibility of new products that can be integrated into your overall strategic plan. These individuals should be knowledgeable enough about their departments to truly understand whether the new ideas being developed are feasible on several different levels: marketing, financial, production, tech, etc.

Promote diversity.

Something that most organizations still don’t understand is that diversity fosters innovation in most cases. Getting different ideas from a variety of backgrounds will enrich the development process, so the product or idea can benefit from different cultures and ways of thinking. Having all white males in the room will give you one perspective, but allowing for more diverse input is bound to result in a product that has more appeal across a wider segment of the population. It’s also helpful to have diverse input when it comes to marketing a product internationally, because of language barriers and differences in the way other countries do business.

There are hundreds of things that companies can do to encourage creativity in the workplace, but understanding these basic approaches will help set the stage for a company culture that fosters creativity and innovation. The benefits this can bring are sure to surprise you.

Jessica Miller-Merrell

Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR, is an author, speaker, Human Resources professional, and workplace social media expert who has a passion for recruiting, training, and all things social media. She is the president and CEO of Xceptional HR, and a leader in the HR community with more than 12 years of industry experience. The author of Tweet This! Twitter for Business, Jessica was named by HR Examiner as the second most influential recruiter on the Internet and the seventh most powerful woman on Twitter. She is a columnist for both SmartBrief and The Huffington Post, in addition to Blogging4Jobs and Human Resources One on One. Jessica has been interviewed for professional articles in CIO Magazine, Entrepreneur Magazine, SHRM’s HR Magazine, and on CBS. Jessica earned a Senior Professional in Human Resources designation in 2008, and holds a bachelor’s degree in Anthropology and Business from Kansas State University. Originally from a small town in Kansas, Jessica currently lives near Oklahoma City with her husband, Greg and daughter, Ryleigh.

3 Comments

  • Avatar Marcia K. says:

    Think about the last time you had a great idea – were you sitting at your desk, staring for hours at your computer? My guess is you weren’t. These lightning-bolt ideas seem to creep up on us when we least expect it. We can’t solve a problem just by constantly thinking about it; when we do that, we’re just using information we already know – and creativity has nothing to do with that. So, stop thinking and let go of your well-known theoretical processes in order to make way for novelty and creativity.

  • Avatar Phillip D. says:

    These are all very good points. Creativity needs to be appreciated, recognized, and rewarded. Otherwise, the people who brainstormed those fabulous ideas might not be as enthusiastic next time you ask them for new and inventive approaches.

  • Avatar James K. says:

    The funny thing about creativity in the workplace is that everybody desires it, but few know how to make it happen. The problem lies in the fact that, instead of focusing on organizational values and culture, many people appeal to complicated procedures and programs that have nothing in common with fostering creativity.

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