How to improve creativity among your employees

Creativity is the lifeblood of innovation. It's the spark that ignites fresh ideas, drives problem-solving, and propels businesses forward in an ever-evolving landscape. When employees are empowered to unleash their creative potential, the possibilities are limitless.

As a leader or manager, fostering a culture of creativity within your organization can be a game-changer — not only for your company's success but also for the job satisfaction and engagement of your employees.

If you’re looking to improve creativity among your teams so you can take on 2024 with a new mindset, here’s all you need to know.

What is creativity at work?

Creativity is often misunderstood and oversimplified. It's not just about artists and designers; it's a fundamental skill that everyone possesses to some degree. To foster creativity, you first need to understand what it entails in the workplace. Creativity isn't limited to artistic expression; it's the ability to think divergently, make connections between seemingly unrelated concepts, and generate innovative solutions — even in industries that might be a little mundane.

In the business world, creativity means developing novel ideas, products, or processes that can give your company a competitive edge. There are many myths and misconceptions about creativity that can hinder your efforts to nurture it, for example, you don't need to be a "creative type" to be creative at work, and creativity isn't something that only strikes randomly; it can be worked on and encouraged.

Defining Creativity in the Workplace

Creativity is at the core of problem-solving and innovation. When your employees approach challenges with creative thinking, they're more likely to find unconventional solutions and drive innovation within your organization. Creative problem solvers are adaptable and resilient, making them invaluable assets in today's rapidly changing business environment.

How to improve creativity among your employees

When you’re in a creative funk, getting your creative juices flowing again can be tough especially when your environment doesn’t align with your needs so creativity needs to become a core element of your work culture.

Here are some ways you can encourage more creativity in your workplace.

Have more collaborative team sessions

A lot of creativity can be born from collaborative work. Perhaps you’re planning new campaign ideas for the next quarter, instead of having just one department work on this, why not include the wider team? Large ideation sessions can spark new conversations, perspectives, and ideas.

Physical and online mind maps can be a great way for everyone to add their ideas and expand on others. Or, why not get together in person, grab some coffee, and snacks, and spend the day chatting through ideas, making notes, and generally getting into a creative flow?

Working independently all of the time can hinder creativity but planning more collaborative team sessions will promote continuous innovation. Collaborating is one of the simplest but most effective ways of promoting creativity among your employees.

Similarly, businesses can also harness creative collaboration when working with agencies such as Seeker. Effective collaboration, no matter what services you’re joining forces on, brings together diverse skill sets, solutions, and strategies and this is specialized knowledge you can tap into.

Promote a healthy work-life balance

Creativity often thrives when employees maintain a balanced and fulfilling life outside of work. However, achieving a healthy work-life balance is crucial. The daily grind of enduring a lengthy commute to the office, navigating a demanding workload, and braving the rush-hour traffic on the way back home can hardly put people in their best mental state, let alone foster a creative mindset.

Introducing flexible working arrangements empowers employees to better manage their time, resulting in reduced stress and an opportunity for much-needed rejuvenation. You might even consider implementing a four-day workweek or remote work as a measure to stave off burnout, a formidable adversary to creativity. Burnout tends to erode motivation, engagement, and cognitive abilities.

If you aspire to unlock the full potential of your employees, it's imperative to create a working environment that not only serves your organization's needs but also prioritizes the well-being and creative potential of your workforce.

Encourage risk-taking

Encouraging risk-taking within your organization is another potent strategy for fostering creativity among your employees. While the word "risk" often carries negative connotations, calculated risks can lead to innovative breakthroughs — a little trial and error shouldn’t be avoided.

It's crucial to create a safe environment where employees feel comfortable proposing unconventional ideas and taking measured risks without the fear of severe consequences for failure. Encourage employees to view failures as valuable learning experiences. By analyzing what went wrong and why, they can gain insights that drive future success.

Creativity often involves challenging the status quo and questioning existing processes. Encourage employees to question why things are done a certain way and explore whether there are more efficient or innovative alternatives.

Make diversity a priority among your teams

Diversity is more than a buzzword; it's an important part of making business a true reflection of society so everyone's voice is heard. When you build teams comprising individuals from a wide array of backgrounds, cultures, perspectives, and life experiences, you are essentially bringing an array of untapped ideas within your organization.

In an increasingly global and interconnected world, having diverse teams often mirrors the diversity of your customer base. This alignment can help your organization better understand and serve a broader spectrum of customers, leading to more innovative and effective products and services.

Allow each employee to share their ideas and thoughts. A short presentation on a particular skill, project, or idea they’re working on can be a great way to share skills with the wider team and kick-start new conversations.

Get out of the office

Being in the office or even working from home constantly can feel a little claustrophobic sometimes, but a change of scenery — whether that’s in a co-working space or attending an event in a different city — can breathe new life into everyone's thinking, and boost their creative energies.

Let’s say you have a client in the bakery industry for example. Taking a company-wide baking class can help your teams get into the mindset of the client and how they work which can spark a whole number of ideas.

Industry events are fantastic opportunities to step outside of your usual work environment and immerse yourself in a sea of like-minded professionals. Here you’ll also learn about new trends and best practices that can inspire your team to think outside the box.

Creativity doesn’t come naturally to everyone. But, with encouragement, collaboration, and other changes to your business, you can build an environment where creativity is much easier to tap into whether you’re brainstorming or designing a new product.