A workplace should overflow with creativity. In most companies, the creative mindset is missing. Creativity comes to you at times and in places that you wouldn’t expect. You cannot force creativity to happen, but you can develop a creative workplace. And this workplace will inspire a creative mindset. In the end, you’ll have a more creative workflow between your employees and managers.
Whether you consider yourself to be creative or not, there’s always room for improvement in your workplace. In this article, we provide tips on how to spark creativity in your company.
Why Is Creativity So Important?
The most rewarding impact of creativity is being able to unlock more meaningful results. When you keep working the way you always have, there’s no way to take risks and find new ways to execute tasks, which eliminates the possibility of creativity in the workplace.
The list below contains 29 tips for increasing creativity in the workplace. These tips are from companies in both creative and non-creative industries. They will give you insight into how to spark creativity, even if you’re not in a creative industry.
We picked the companies by looking at the awards they’ve won for their creativity at the Internet Advertising Competition (IAC). We also scoured the comments of employees on Glassdoor to derive their best strategies. The comments of the employees are about the atmosphere and their experiences with creativity in the company.
1. Get an Outsider to Look at Your Projects.
Outsourcing isn’t a new term, but it can be of great value when trying to spark creativity.
An advertising agency uses the term Outthinking to refer to their practice of utilizing outsiders to find new perspectives on projects. These outsiders have nothing to do with the project, are not part of the agency, and are not in the client’s industry.
Giants & Gentlemen won an IAC award for Best Advertising Email Message.
2. Encourage in-person Collaboration.
Through collaboration, you can get new, diverse perspectives on a project, which you would probably not have if you worked on something alone. Managers can encourage collaboration by making sure that offices are available for people to collaborate in.
“Personal bonding and personal contact with coworkers makes it fun to work and unlock creativity with the help from everyone on the team.”
– Current employee at TVGla, an advertising agency
3. Use Play to Create more Personal Participation.
When you think of the time when you were most creative, you probably remember something from your childhood. That’s why TvGla believes in using play in a childlike way. In other words, you should make your work more entertaining and committed.
You can implement childlike play by searching, exploring, collecting, personalizing, comparing, choosing, buying, and sharing. By implementing this strategy into your company’s workplace, you also encourage personal participation. Then employees and managers will become more involved and committed to their work.
TvGla won an ICA Award for Best Online Ads
4. Diversify your Team.
A diverse team can incorporate many different skills, which can be used to inspire other people. Then every team member can learn something new from each colleague.
Often, companies hire people who have similar methods for completing tasks. You want to minimize this practice, because creativity lies in using a variety of problem-solving tactics. In other words, building a diverse team brings new perspectives about solving problems.
“During my time working at Allenby Concept House, I met many interesting people from different backgrounds. This made working together very easy and insightful.”
– Former Employee at Allenby Concept House
5. Ask for Improvements.
When making decisions about your company, the ideas of the employees are often overlooked. Most employees are in the office for about 40 hours per week. So they know if something needs to be changed, and they often have ideas of their own.
However, they might not come to you with their ideas for improvements. So, ask your employees about their opinions and ideas. That way, you can easily involve your employees and get more ideas about how to improve the workplace.
Experiencias Xcaret is a travel agency that won an ICA award for Best Online Travel Campaign.
6. Train your Employees.
Spend a lot of time on training your employees. By investing time in training, you make sure that they know everything they’re supposed to, and that they operate the way you’d want them to.
When you’re finished training your employees, they know what they could bring to the company, and how they can be of value. Then they’ll feel more connected to the company and more dedicated to their work.
The Pharmaceutical Care Management Association won ICA Awards for Best Online Advocacy Campaign and Best Online Healthcare Campaign.
7. Frequently Communicate the Mission and Vision.
Put the company’s mission and vision in the spotlight. All of your employees should be completely aware of your strategy, since it will create a stronger bond between the company and its employees. Then everyone will know what they’re working on, and how it’s impacting the company.
Sallie Mae won an ICA Award for Best Bank Website
8. Build on the Company’s Values.
One way to improve the creative mindset in the workplace is knowing your values. It’s important to define your values, and make sure that everyone in the company knows them. That way, everyone is on the same page about where to go next, and there is no miscommunication.
When employees and managers know the values of your company, they feel more connected to it. They know why they’re working, and how to contribute.
“The management is involved in the day-to-day work and notices the potential in the employees. The management is supportive and wants what is best for the employees.”
– Former Employee at MBNA Credit Cards
9. Create a Clear View of the Company’s Direction.
Everyone in the company should have a clear vision of the company’s direction in the future, and how the employees create value within the company. The employees should feel valued, and they should know that what they need to do to help the company reach its goals. This situation will create an open atmosphere for the employees.
“The culture within the company is great; it’s not number-based. The culture is uplifting and formed by dedicated and passionate employees that are very talented.”
– Current Employee at Town & Country Bank
10. Get New Perspectives.
When you cannot change the way you perform on a day-to-day basis, look at the way you solve problems. You can view things from different perspectives, and consider new ways to finding solutions through your employees’ skills. Take a few steps back, and look at the bigger picture.
“The diverse team helped to come up with new solutions, every employee and manager has different skills and talents and this creates solutions from all different perspectives.”
– Current Employee at Pharmaceutical Care Management Association
11. Create a Flexible Workplace.
The creative mind can be triggered at any time and in any place. Every individual can be inspired to be creative in unique ways.
When you expect your employees to be creative during set hours in an assigned office, they may feel tied down and uncreative. So offer them a flexible workplace, and encourage them to work outside the office.
“Managers are inspiring and involve employees in the company’s direction. They focus on improving the employee engagement in the company.”
– Former Employee at Manulife
12. Praise Successes.
Acknowledge and praise the successes of your employees. This practice makes employees feel valued and more willing to work productively. When you praise your employees for their work, you create an open atmosphere to share successes and failures.
“At First Aid Shot Therapy, I get acknowledgement of my work, and everyone is valued as an employee. The company culture is relaxed and open for collaboration to get the best out of everyone.”
– Current Employee at First Aid Shot Therapy
13. Hire Passionate Employees.
The employees are big factors in the growth of the company. If you get the best, most passionate people, it will boost your company. These passionate employees are more likely to inspire each other, which will create more perspectives and more creative outcomes.
“Passionate employees inspire you on a daily basis. The company offers benefits and opportunities to involve employees personally.”
– Former Employee of Expedia Media Solutions
14. Involve Your Employees In Every Step You Take.
If you’re as transparent as you can be, your employees will feel more involved. And you’ll remind them of the exact reasons why they’re working for you.
“The company cares about the employees and gives them what they need in order to stay motivated, and they focus on your potential and how to grow with it.”
– Current Employee at Sallie Mae
15. Accept That There Are Different Ways To Look At A Problem.
By accepting the different ideas that might seem illogical to you, you could spark creativity. Different perspectives about a problem will increase the creative mindset and the workplace. Ask around for ways to tackle every problem. Other departments could even come up with a new, valuable perspective.
“The management is truly interested in the employees’ skills and in how to implement these skills in that company to reach the employees’ full potential.”
– Current Employee at Liberty Mutual Insurance
16. Show That You Value The Company’s Culture.
It may seem obvious, but employees must feel the need to change the environment. When the management shows that they value the company’s culture, the employees will adopt this value, and they’ll contribute to developing a creative workplace.
Net Health won an ICA award for Best Healthcare-Integrated Ad Campaign.
17. Be Honest And Open To Your Employees.
This practice will trigger creativity and productivity in your workplace. By being open and honest with your employees, you’ll earn their trust. When you’re transparent with your employees, they know exactly what’s happening, so it triggers a creative mindset.
Expedia Media Solutions won an ICA Award for Best Travel-Integrated Ad Campaign.
18. Tackle Difficult Topics, And Give Constructive Feedback.
In any workplace, it is important to provide an open atmosphere and make people feel at home. To have a fully functional and creative workplace, you must be able to tackle difficult topics and provide constructive feedback.
Constructive feedback should be accepted by everyone, so it shouldn’t be viewed as offensive. These two factors will create a mindset of growth in your employees, so they’ll see the need to change.
“The managers want every employee to be involved and want the employees to help make choices for the company and its direction. They focus on the employees and team culture, before focusing on numbers.”
– Current Employee of Experiencias Xcaret
19. Focus On Employees Above Everything Else.
This focus is the core of your business. When your employees are well-cared-for, they can focus on being the face of your company. By putting the needs of your employees first, you create a trusted atmosphere in the workplace, which will lead to having creative minds.
Town & Country Bank won an ICA Award for Best Online Newsletter Campaign for Banks
20. Work Together.
When people work together, creative minds start to spark. They have more creative ideas, and they can build off of the each other’s ideas. By creating collaborative spaces in the office, you trigger collaboration among employees. When there are people in other offices, consider implementing video conferencing to encourage collaboration.
Also, office management tools can help to improve productivity dramatically.
Greteman Group won an ICA Award for Best Online Newsletter Campaign for Travel Agencies.
21. Don’t Be Afraid To Fail.
In order to have a creative workplace, you cannot maintain a fear of failure. When you fail, you’re forced to find new and different perspectives, before you can proceed. And these new perspectives spark creativity.
First Aid Shot Therapy won an ICA Award for Best Beverage-Integrated Ad Campaign.
22. Show Interest In Your Employees.
As managers, you want your employees to feel valued and at home. When employees feel valued, they work more productively. And when you show interest in your employees, they feel personally connected to the company. Openness sparks creativity in the workplace.
Liberty Mutual Insurance won an ICA Award for Best Insurance-Related Email.
23. Create Time To Play.
Here’s a method for triggering the creative mind: Keep your mind off the project for awhile. When you’re focused on a project for too long, you lose your creative mind.
Instead, create time to play, do something creative, and trigger a creative mindset. By taking a break from your project and doing one creative act, you’ll be more creative in the long run.
“Rewards talent and stimulating work & work environment. The company is team-oriented and offers benefits to the employees.”
– Current Employee of Greteman Group
24. Let Employees Get To Know Each Other.
In a company, it’s important that employees get to know each other. When they know each other, they discover the value that their coworkers have, which will encourage collaboration. Then when they need to create something, they’ll know who to ask.
Manulife won an ICA Award for Best Insurance-Integrated Ad Campaign.
25. Provide Incentives For Employees.
People work more productively when they know that they’re going to achieve an end result. When you offer them an incentive, they tend to work harder and more productively. An incentive does not have to be expensive or important. A small thing can lead to a more valuable outcome.
Allstate Insurance Company won an ICA Award for Best Insurance Website.
26. Establish A “Grow or Die” Mentality.
This mentality will help your company keep growing. You have to keep an open mind about your company’s growth. More importantly, you have to communicate this need to the rest of your employees and managers: If you don’t grow, you’ll die.
“At Giants & Gents, there is easy interaction between departments and open spaces for collaboration to happen. We are always focusing on finding new ways to grow as a company.”
– Current Employee at Giants & Gentlemen
27. Be Open To Taking Risks.
Creativity in the workplace requires taking risks and stepping outside of your comfort zone. By keeping things the way they are, you won’t inspire creativity. Taking risks demands that you step out of your comfort zone. This comfort zone is exactly what creativity sparks.
Allenby Concept House won an ICA Award for Best Online Advertising Video.
28. Think About The Career Development Of Your Employees.
People love to discover and develop new skills. As a company, you can support your employees in their career development.
By supporting them, you encourage them to place trust in their managers and their workplace. Including your employees in the growth of your company encourages them to contribute and become more valuable.
“The company focuses on the well-being of the employees, and there are trainings to update your skills and see the potential of your skills in the company.”
– Current Employee at Allstate
29. Make Sure You Hire A Talented Staff.
The basics of creating a creative workplace involve having the right people in the right jobs. Talented staff spark creativity among employees, since they can learn from each other.
The hiring process should take place over a long period of time. Think about why you should hire someone, and consider the value that the or she will add to the company. By having multiple conversations with this person, you can find out if he or she is the right fit for the company.
“The employees are well-selected and qualified to make sure that the right great talent is working at the company. The company focuses on personal contact between employees and managers.”
– Former Employee at Net Health
📹 TED Talk: 4 Lessons in Creativity by Julie Burstein
Keep in mind that every company is unique. Something that works for one company may not work for another one. By providing examples of how these companies unlock the creativity in their workplaces, you can add your own twist to it.
What’s your idea of a creative workplace? Is it all about the people, or is it also about the office space? In our comments, let me know your thoughts!