Fostering Employee Creativity Requires Unique Strategies

by: Nichole Gunn February 28, 2011

Unlike the traditional businesses that rely on non-creative productivity schedules and traditional employee skills, some of today’s companies rely on the innovative and creative ideas of its employees to move the company onward and upward.

Businesses based on idea-generation thrive on new technology and processes in order to compete in a highly competitive industry. The traditional reward programs and sales incentives may not effectively motivate employees. This can pose a problem.

Creativity, according to Webster’s, is the ability to create or bring something new into existence; it takes imagination. Therefore, the employees who are hired for their idea-generating abilities, or imagination, need to work by a different set of standards.

Continually generating top-notch ideas can be difficult. Whether the creativity is needed to produce original out-of-the-box ideas to move a business ahead, or to create a work of art, or write a book, there will be times the ‘idea muse’ is on vacation. This is usually referred to as ‘creativity block.’ Dangling an incentive or reward in front of creative workers will most likely not get the creative juices flowing.

To help in this area, managers need to beware of the creative process, and understand that there will be times when an employee may not be at his brainstorming best. Creativity may occasionally need assistance and direction, but it can’t be managed.

In an article for Inc. Magazine, Venuri Siriwardane explained, "It's usually a good idea for someone to assume the role of facilitator … whether that means just standing in front of a whiteboard and jotting down ideas, or keeping staffers from dwelling on one idea for too long."

Often creative employees work in groups. Since not everyone will be at peak performance at the same time, group members can help kick-start those who are momentarily suffering from creative block.  In addition, this type of work environment will require creative reward programs for groups rather than individuals.

Another strategy that may spark employee creativity is to create a particular section for brainstorming, and the area should be stocked with resources needed for inspiration. Along with this, managers should fulfill employee requests, and allow the employees the freedom needed in the creative process.


About Nichole Gunn