Posted by Sandy Yu on 8.29.2019
Creativity is an employee experience must-have for every organization. In fact, employees in all roles benefit from creative thinking. It opens the door for problem-solving and innovation for the company as a whole.
Unfortunately, a recent Gallup study found only 29 percent of workers strongly agree that they're expected to be creative or think of new ways to do things at work. Another 35 percent say they’re only given time to be creative a few times a year, or even less often.
These low percentages are likely caused by employees lacking freedom in creativity, which decreases the employee experience. Leaders may believe they’re open to creativity, but without the right environment, employees won’t feel it’s encouraged beyond their normal duties.
Find out below how these leaders created an employee experience where creativity blooms and propels their companies forward:
Creativity encourages new ideas for business growth and competition. It also enhances employees’ abilities to problem-solve.
The inventor of Flamin' Hot Cheetos, Richard Montanez, is a great example of an employee who was part of a company where creativity had room to flourish. Montanez started out as a janitor at Frito-Lay. When the CEO asked for ideas from anyone in the company, he pitched his idea for Flamin' Hot Cheetos and it became a hit product. Now, Richard is an executive for the company.
Help employees feel free to make mistakes to boost creativity in the workplace. Let them know you understand that to come up with good ideas, you have to come up with a lot of ideas. It’s natural that many of them will end up being crazy or simply won't work. But make them feel safe sharing and generating all these ideas by recognizing and celebrating employees throughout the process.
A simple technique called Repose, developed and tested by my team at the University of Arizona, increases productivity and creativity at virtually no cost to employers.
Repose involves lying on one's back on a flat, comfortable surface with arms extended perpendicular to their torso, palms up, legs open and jaw relaxed. Just seven minutes of Repose enhances attention, memory, mental acuity, and performance on creative problem-solving tasks.
It also lowers stress, boosts positivity, and improves overall physical and psychological health. The reason Repose works is it induces the kind of receptive mental state which is most conducive to the creative experience.
Allow your office space to be creative. Don't have thoughtless, bland decor without any character. Allow employees to get creative and decorate how they want. A creative environment encourages creative thinking.
Also, allow breaks to enhance the movement of creativity. If the mind is tired, blocked, or bored, no great ideas will be able to flow. Give employees the chance to wind down and take frequent breaks to improve creativity.
Mike Sheety, Director of ThatShirt
Thinking outside of the box is often the best way to tackle a problem and think of an innovative solution.
The best way to create an environment that fosters creativity is to end micromanaging. Give employees the freedom to take an idea and run with it. When employees encounter surprising or frustrating issues, don’t immediately jump in to resolve the issue. Allow them to take a moment to consider creative ways to problem-solve.
Act as a sounding board or brainstorming partner, but refrain from taking over. This helps them feel they don’t need permission every little step of the way.