Why is Creativity Important in the Workplace?

Creativity in the workplace has become a “must have”. Today we operate in a highly competitive, global environment, making creativity crucial. You might be wondering what does creativity do for a business or organization? It is creativity that keeps your business moving forward with fresh new ideas and innovation. This encompasses more than new products or services, it includes streamlining efficiency and productiveness.

Many people view their jobs as 8-to-5 grind in a cubicle or office, dreaming of the weekends.  We often have set tasks that need to be accomplished and often feel there is no time for creativity. Being creative at work generally means taking risks, which can make some people hesitate. Fear of the unknown is powerful, especially if it means you might fail. Boland Jones, CEO PGi Software said: “Creativity leads to productivity.”

Applying creative thinking in your everyday work life will stop the drudgery and you will be able to unlock more meaningful results. Creativity in the workplace is for everyone regardless of their position. Focusing on the big picture, employees become emotionally invested in their work and less fearful of failure.

3 Key Benefits of fostering creativity in the workplace include:

  • Creativity Builds Better Teamwork
    • Creativity inspires employees to work with each other. The creative process encourages collaboration. Businesses need to encourage the mindset of continuous learning encouraging employees to seek new information, knowledge and new ways to do things.
    • Many unique ideas come from just one person but they are molded by a team to become fully formed.
  • Creativity Improves the Ability to Attract and Retain Employees
    • When creativity is encouraged employees are more content with their jobs and are committed to remaining loyal to the company.
  • Creativity Increases Problem-Solving
    • With the ability to think creatively and outside of the box, employees are more likely to come up with unique and innovative solutions to obstacles they encounter. This eagerness to solve problems can lead to new ways to accomplish tasks and adds to a more efficiently run business.

The top skill that CEO’s are looking for in skilled workers is creativity. 60% of CEO’s polled, cited creativity as the most important leadership quality, compared with 52% for integrity. The reason creativity is the most valued skill is that it generates a positive impact on the ROI (Return on Investment) and creative people are independent thinkers and innovative with problem-solving.

As a Manager or Business owner in order to foster creativity you need to:

  • Never Say No
    • When you are in a brainstorming session, or an employee comes to you with an idea, “no” sends a negative message. Find ways to redirect the idea so it can become a “yes answer” It is all too easy to turn down an idea because you think it won’t work, muffling the creative thinkers in your workplace means that innovation will be stifled and the employees will be less likely to continue to come up with new and smart solutions.
  • Diversify Your Team
    • A variety of perspectives, insights and learning styles accelerate the problem-solving process.
    • The way your team works together is more important than the ideas generated. Ed Catmull, the President of Pixar shares how getting the right team is necessary and that it is better to focus on how the entire team is performing collectively together over the individual talents within the team.  Catmull emphasizes that getting the right people and the right chemistry is more important than getting the right idea.”

Creativity increases curiosity and drives the desire to learn. Feed creativity by asking questions, this builds ideas with help and insight from others. Having a clear understanding of strategies that encourage creativity and innovation, managers can foster growth among employees and teams.

“Companies who are creative are more successful” Tucker Marion, Associate Professor, Northeastern University D’Amore-McKim School of Business

Regardless of the industry, there are ways to be creative. For example, in the retail industry, there are ways you can be creative with low-cost solutions that improve customer service. I read once that one company slipped a little chocolate with a handwritten thank you on the receipt when the purchase placed in the bag.  For a service industry, there are creative ways to improve processes that speed up efficiency while making employees happier.

Do not sell yourself short, even the craziest idea that you think is completely off can often be the one idea that people latch onto. Employees, do not be afraid to share these ideas with your co-workers and managers it will always end up being a win/win for the organization.

By: Cheryl Viola , Executive Director