A mere century ago, everyone was talking about productivity and efficiency, as the ultimate goals of a business enterprise. However, as the IT and creative industries took off during the last decade of the 20th century, there was more and more talk about a corporate culture centred around creativity. Ultimately, creativity translates into revenue but you first need to carefully cultivate a creative culture in the office.
Employees with a wide skillset
One way to boost creativity is to hire people who are creative about their skillset. Playing the guitar doesn’t seem like a relevant reference when applying for a post in the IT industry but such individuals are great fun at breaks or teambuilding excursions.
In terms of professional expertise, you want to hire people who are dedicated learners, i.e. they are ready 100% of the time to learn new skills, such as a programming language. Employing experts in particular areas is a good thing but it’s better if they are versatile personalities and continuous learners.
Hiring team players
One aspect of a versatile personality includes the employee’s ability to put in his best performance inside a team. The creative industry only seems like a lonesome line of work but you need to collaborate with others to produce excellent results. If employees are willing to work together as a team, then brainstorming sessions will be highly productive. The saying “two heads are better than one” is most definitely true in the creative industry.
The right mindset
Once you are certain that a prospective employee has the right skill set and they are willing to work together with their colleagues, you should check out their mindset. Essentially, the interview should reveal whether an employee can be trusted with important decisions, i.e. he or she won’t buckle under pressure or run away from responsibility.
It’s OK to fail
Even the best team of creative workers will fail from time to time, producing an awful ad campaign or a dull video game. At such times, creativity suffers a huge blow, so you shouldn’t perceive failures as something terminal.
On the contrary, the company culture should see failures as stepping stones to success. Fallibility is an integral part of creativity; the sooner you realize this, the sooner you’ll attain excellence.
Building empathy for customers
Expecting your employees to be perfectly creative at all times is unrealistic, as they cannot bear the brunt of business growth. Channelling their creative energy should involve building empathy for customers and seeing things from their perspective.
Once you understand the customers’ perspective through online surveys, interviews, surveys, and guerilla marketing tactics, you won’t have to be as creative as much. Elaborating on the problems and issues customers have to deal with will give employees’ creativity a push in the right direction.
Feeling the power
A social group becomes marginalized through systematic deprivation of equal opportunities to advance i.e. disempowerment. The same process can take place in the office with creativity ending up as the victim. All workers need to feel empowered and should be given free rein, as creativity cannot thrive under the censorship of any kind.
If you have ever wondered why do office at major tech companies resemble more kindergartens than typical startup offices, that’s because owners what to nurture a culture of creativity. A suit and a tie are creativity-killers, so if your programmers want to wear shorts, allow them to do so.
Throwing in a leisure room
Speaking of the office décor, it can have a deciding effect on creativity. Namely, creative work is accompanied by periods of high-intensity thinking that need to be succeeded by total relaxation of the mind (and the body, preferably).
For this purpose, offices come equipped with a leisure room where employees can unwind. Conduct a poll to fin put which amenities workers want the most. For some, it’s table tennis, while others prefer to play video games. Fulfil all their wishes, as the better the relaxation, the better the productivity/creativity.
Appointing a strong leaders
We have stressed earlier the importance of teamwork when brainstorming. While a typical worker needs to be a team player, you are still going to need a couple of team leaders. These individuals will come to the spotlight at times of crisis when creativity levels drop dangerously low.
All teams end up a blind alley from time to time and it is up to their team leader to encourage them not to give up. By offering them guidance at the perfect moment, the whole team won’t waste too much time going pursuing a fruitless idea.
Creativity needs to evolve over time
If company growth is your ultimate goal, then all the employees need to be ready to change. Just as it was a living thing, creativity has to evolve as well. The staff, the goals, the organization will all change at some point in time and the creative corporate culture needs to follow suit. Innovation is a continuous process, turning creativity into a full-time job.
One of the hardest periods of the workday is the mornings. Many people simply cannot “sober up” till noon, which can kill their creativity. Apart from a well-stocked kitchen and a lovely furnished leisure room, every office desperately needs a coffee machine.
Nowadays, you can loan coffee machines complete with authentic coffee pods to suit the taste of every worker. Once they get their morning shot of espresso or macchiato, they will start turning in excellent project proposals.
Actively encourage diversity
Creativity is essentially an openness to novel ideas and concepts. However, you can never be creative if you’re not ready to accept diversity amongst employees and in life in general. There can be no teamwork unless the workforce is diversified; mixing people of all ages, creeds, sexes, skin colour, etc. By creating an inclusive team, you are helping everyone have an open mind, which translates into creativity when it comes to work-related tasks.
Letting the employees breathe
We all take air for granted but in reality, oxygen can make us smarter, to put it colloquially. Office spaces often have ventilation issues, as business owners often rent space that is not suited for company headquarters.
Poor circulation of air means that workers breathe in the air of poor quality, preventing them from thinking clearly. An air ventilation system isn’t that expensive nowadays, so investing in one will let the staff breathe freely. Their brains get more oxygen and you get increased revenue in the long run.
Let employees express their artistic side
Creativity is something that can bring in large sums of money in the world of business but you shouldn’t underestimate arts either. Working for large corporations can be a dull experience, so office workers need to be given a chance to express their artistic side.
Instead of letting employees’ talents be expresses Afterhours, excellent employers provide their staff with a chance to decorate the office in every way imaginable. Workers should be encouraged to post their artwork around the office, hanging them on walls or special noticeboards. Poets can write songs and musicians can play at company events.
Moreover, snippets from office life that promulgate creativity can be posted on social media, which would be the task of the HR department. The more artistic freedom you give employees, the more creative will they get when it comes to their job.
Social media is for everyone
Speaking of social media posts, don’t opt for a dead serious corporate image. Clients and business partners should be allowed to see the creative side of your team, as popularizing your brand on social media is a great way of putting a human face to it.
Once workers are asked to contribute content so social media posts, they will start competing who can come up with a better image or a more goofy TikTok post. This way, you will be nurturing corporate creativity without workers ever knowing it.
There isn’t a human resources expert who won’t tell you that teambuilding activities lie at the core of stimulating creativity. However, if you play your cards wrong, teambuilding can easily turn into a double-edged sword.
Namely, free time off-work is essential, as it lies at the heart of the human capacity to be creative. If your workers stay in office overtime, then they will be simply too exhausted to come up with a groundbreaking design, for example.
People need every minute of self-care and family time they can get, so don’t schedule teambuilding activities after work or on the weekends. This is the time to lay off work and spend quality time with their children or spouse, so they would return energized the following Monday.
It’s hard to come up with an idea if you are slouching at your desk all day or the keyboard makes too much noise, irritating everyone around you. These details might seem unimportant but they have the potential to disrupt the workflow for the entire workforce.
Ergonomics in the office should be an employer’s prime concern. If you have sufficient funds, invest in custom-made furniture for all employees. Some people prefer standing desks, while others will be more than satisfied with a high-quality swivel chair.
Take note of every employee’s desire and fulfil it if you believe they can contribute a lot to the firm in terms of creativity. You’d be surprised how much a desk with adjustable height would motivate a big-boned (not to be taken offensively) individual to work harder. Heck, they probably don’t have such an ergonomic desk back at home!
Planting and nurturing plants
Growing a garden can teach us both spirituality and creativity. Even if your staff aren’t green thumbs, that doesn’t mean they’ll dislike the fact you introduce plant life in the office. At first, they are just going to look at cacti, spider plants, and Aloe Vera but after a while, they start actively caring for them.
We’ve already mentioned the importance of fresh air inside an office space, so greenery is the perfect decoration. Who knows, employees might like plants so much they start a community garden of their own. Even an office on the 10th floor can have a small garden growing on the balcony.
A healthy corporate lifestyle
Finally, a sick person can never be expected to be creative. This doesn’t imply that you should impose a healthy lifestyle upon your employees but you should definitely enable them certain perks. Health and dental insurance should be mandatory, as it is a good corporate culture to sign a contract with a medical facility to treat your staff.
Furthermore, employees should be offered free gym memberships and spa treatments. Like gardening, it will take some time before the idea catches on but once everyone sees how much relaxed their colleagues are relaxed after a massage, they’ll gladly jump on the bandwagon.
Creative corporate culture isn’t something that comes overnight, as it is cultivated over months and years. The whole company needs to be on the same page on this issue and provide the best possible conditions for creative individuals to excel.