Lack of inspiration can be your worst enemy, and it can hit you anytime. Teams get stale from time to time for all sorts of reasons. After all, everyone is looking at the same data, interacting with the same people, and having the same conversations. So, it’s no surprise that the ideas coming up feel as though they’ve been done before. If you want to unlock your employees’ creative potential, try these simple tips.
- SWITCH UP THE ROUTINE
Routine, although structuring, can easily become mind numbing and consistency can morph into complacency. In the process, employees can consciously or unconsciously forgo the possibility of further progress or change and in turn lose their sense of creativity. Sometimes, all you need to boost innovative juices, is change things up a bit.
Have your employees participate in workshops, courses, seminars and read materials that are outside the scope of their area of expertise. From time to time, have them volunteer, participate in team building & training exercises and even travel to different countries. The more they can get out of their routine, the better it is. They will be exposed to completely different ways of thinking. This will greatly boost their creativity and problem solving capabilities.
And remember, creativity doesn’t come from doing the same things the same exact way. Getting a little uncomfortable even in small ways can help spark your employees’ creativity.
- ENCOURAGE FRIENDLY COMPETITION
Competition is a big driver of motivation, creativity, performance, and innovation. It pushes people to be better. A little competition among the employees would not hurt. A competitive environment is a productive environment. Encourage employees to participate in competitions or challenges as it’s healthy from time to time and may actually lead to increased camaraderie.
Friendly competition amongst teams helps with employee engagement and employee participation. Additionally, the more competition influencing your employees to accomplish something, the more motivated they will be to head to work each morning and think up new innovative and creative ways to stay on top. Incentives push people to become more creative and find new ways of doing things. Competing with each other will inspire employees to get creative, put in more effort, work harder, and become more productive.
- BRAINSTORMING SESSIONS
When you hear the word “brainstorming,” what comes to mind? People in a room yelling out random thoughts? Chaos? An exercise for designers and creative types? In other words, something OPD (other people do—not you). Maybe it’s time to give it a second look.
Brainstorming is typically conducted in a facilitated session or workshop environment to stimulate creative thinking, to create novel or innovative solutions to a problem, and to introduce “controlled chaos” into the thought process. It is the most widely used technique to cultivate ideas. It is based on the principle that “many brains are often better than one.”
Brainstorming is a business technique that can work for any department, in any type of business, especially HR. Schedule a meeting with employees to bounce ideas around. Having regular idea-generation sessions keeps the flow of inspiration and creativity going.
- EMBRACE FAILURE
“Recently, I was asked if I was going to fire an employee who made a mistake that cost the company $600,000. No, I replied, I just spent $600,000 training him. Why would I want somebody to hire his experience?” – Thomas John Watson Sr.
No one truly likes to fail. It can drag you down mentally and physically. At the same time, failure gets a raw deal. Even though it hurts, it’s one of the best and most effective ways to learn and grow. Don’t be afraid to let your employees experiment and try new things. If something doesn’t work, they can learn what went wrong and try again. Who knows? The second time around, they may knock it out of the park. But the truth is that they may not have been so successful if they hadn’t stumbled during their first attempt.
This is where managers and senior leaders can play a key role in helping change attitudes by sharing their own blunders and mishaps. Just because you’re in a senior role doesn’t mean you’re immune to mistakes either. The difference though is how you deal with it afterwards, and that’s the point to be made. Changing your attitude towards failure will switch up your employees’ thinking, and show them the benefits the inevitably bumpy journey will bring.
- ENGAGE THE SENSES
Employees are most engaged when all five senses are stimulated. Most creative experiences come from combining two seemingly unrelated ideas. Encouraging the flow of non-sequitur ideas through sensory experiences can help employees find new inspiration. When you deliver a sensory experience to the workplace, you transform purely functional spaces into energising environments where employees find more meaning, fun, success and fulfilment in their work.
For example, you might hang thought-provoking abstract art on the walls, regularly fill the office with new scents or play unconventional music through your loudspeakers. Doing so will help employees think in new ways and become more stimulated by their environment. As an added bonus, most of these additions have a calming or satisfying effect on people — so your team will feel happier and will be more productive in addition to being more creative.
“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.”- Maya Angelou
Inspiring creativity within your team isn’t a luxury. It’s imperative if you want to boost employee productivity and stay top of mind with your customers and thrive as a business for years to come.