How to Encourage Innovation and Creativity in the Workplace
- How do you build a workforce that solves problems creatively
- Goes the extra mile to get the job done.
- Truly cares about customers.
- Understands and cares about the brand, and
- Takes ownership when it comes to the success of the business.
The answer is to stop treating them like mere employees and to treat them as entrepreneurs instead.
By doing this, you can fire up an entrepreneurial mindset in your employees. When you accomplish this, you may be amazed at what your workers can accomplish. Getting this done may be easier than you think. Here are some things to try. This are definitely one of the way on how to spark creativity in the workplace.
Kindly read below to see how to encourage innovation and creativity in the workplace
- Involve Employees in Planning and Brainstorming Sessions
Nobody can take on an entrepreneurial role if they don’t have a true understanding of how the business works. This includes understanding the steps that go into making the major decisions that they are eventually expected to carry out, or at a minimum, accept.
If you have brainstorming and planning sessions that only involve partners, managers, and C-Suite staffers, it’s time to reconsider. If you have identified certain employees as having exceptional potential, invite them to these sessions. Then, involve them in the process. Ask them questions and encourage them to offer their insights.
Without a doubt, many will have to overcome a bit of a learning curve. They may need a bit of assistance in getting up to speed. Still, it is well worth the effort to cultivate an interest in and understanding business operations and future goals.
- Encourage Individualism and Independence
It may seem like a simple thing, and the level at which you can apply this may very, but allowing your employees to express their individualism is important. The same is true for fostering independence. The seemingly small amount of autonomy you give them by allowing:
- Freedom in dress where allowed
- Employees to select and decorate their workspaces
- Flexible schedules
- Employees to work remotely
The driving force behind entrepreneurship is to carve a path of independence and to control one’s destiny as much as possible. Exerting control over the details of an employee’s workday simply isn’t conducive to encouraging an entrepreneurial mindset.
- Give Employees Problems to Solve Instead of Tasks to Complete
how would you support and guide team members to come up with innovative problem solutions?
If management does all of the thinking and problem solving, nobody else can develop entrepreneurial skills. Successful entrepreneurs are idea people and problem solvers. Rather than hoarding these processes for management-level employees and then assigning the resulting tasks to workers, try passing the problems themselves to employees.
For example, imagine you are expanding into a part of TX where there is a large Spanish speaking population. Rather than passing out a checklist of tasks for workers to complete, you pass out a list of problems to the employees you believe are most capable of solving them. The following week, you hold a meeting to see what progress have been made. You find that the workers have hired a professional translator, found conversational Spanish courses for workers who will interact with customers, and determined the documents and landing pages that will need to be modified.
By doing this, you give them the opportunity to work through problems, come up with ideas of their own, and then apply the solutions they conceive. Yes, there will be failure. Obviously that’s something that needs to be mitigated. On the other hand, experiencing failure is another important part of learning to think and behave like an entrepreneur.
- Train Equip and Empower
Entrepreneurs don’t care about the organization simply because it provides them with a paycheck. They feel personally invested in the success of the company and the people they work with. They are also naturally concerned with customer satisfaction. They want things to go well. The best thing that an employer to do is give them the ability to do these things without micromanagement.
The Best way to Accomplish this is to do Three Things.
- Provide employees with the training they need.
- Make sure they have the equipment required to do their jobs well and without frustration.
- Empower them to make on the spot decisions in the best interests of the company and customers without limiting them with a bunch of policies and procedures.
Imagine that you run a store that sells video games. You’ve got a strict no refund policy, allowing only exchanges for like merchandise. A customer comes in, quite upset. They’ve been buying products from you for ten years, and spend a significant amount of money. They purchased a video game for their child. It’s full of adult content, and they want their money back.
If the employee they confront isn’t empowered, that employee is going to stick to the script; ‘No refunds. Only exchanges for like merchandise.’ As you can imagine, that means an unhappy customer who is unlikely to return. It also means an employee who also is put in the miserable position of catching an earful from that angry customer. Neither of these things are good for business or morale.
Now, imagine that the employee knows that the policies are guidelines. They should apply to most people, but there can be exceptions. They also know that they are empowered to determine when those exceptions apply. This time, they apologize profusely. They return the customers money and make note to explain the situation to you later. They also give the customer a coupon for 20% off their next purchase.
The result? The customer is satisfied with the resolution. You keep a customer. The employee appreciates that they have autonomy. Most importantly, they learn to think independently.
- Get to Know Employees and Their Goals
Employees who are allowed to work towards their own goals, and to maximize their talents will always stand out as the most entrepreneurial. As an owner or manager, you can encourage this. First, simply prioritize your relationship with employees. Get to know them. Discuss their career goals. Have an open door policy.
To take things a step further, consider implementing a mentorship program. This lets employees know that you care about their goals, and are committed to taking action to ensure they are successful. Having a mentor can also create a sense of accountability within the employee. When they know they will be expected to discuss their progress and efforts, they will work that much harder. You might even consider including progress towards career goals in annual performance reviews.
Finally, truly empower employees to develop their skills by helping them to obtain the training and education they need. Now more than ever, training, personal development, and tuition reimbursement are part of compensation packages. What better way to prepare workers to take on more responsibility and define their future roles.
Got some insights on how would you support and guide team members to come up with innovative problem solutions? please share with us in the comment section