For many bosses, the employee’s transition to negativity comes for no apparent reason. However, a common complaint I hear from dissatisfied employees is that they do not get creative freedom. They suggest creative solutions that would yield better results, but get told “No.” They feel caught in the “but we’ve always done it this way” trap. Creativity is essential for your employees’ work to have meaning. With meaning, they are more engaged, which means less absenteeism, better teamwork, better service, and increased productivity. To foster creativity, try the following:
Have an “idea board.” Use a large whiteboard or bulletin board. Hang it away from the public space. Allow everyone to put new ideas anonymously on the board.
Schedule debrief time. It is not enough to have ideas written down. They need discussion. Don’t attach names to the ideas during the discussion. You will find even shy employees can be your best creative assets if they see that all ideas are equally entertained.
Give credit. If an idea is selected, give credit to the person who suggested it. Even if the idea is not totally adopted, people are more likely to keep trying if they get positive recognition. Everyone wins from this experience. Problems will be solved faster. You get group input and involvement and, best of all, your people will grow and be more engaged.
Dr. Mimi Hull, president of Hull & Associates (www.hullonline.com), is a fully licensed psychologist who focuses on the workplace. Hull & Associates is a workforce development, training, and consulting firm that improves both organizational and personal effectiveness. Through various successful resources, assessments, and programs, Dr. Mimi is able to achieve bottom-line results for organizations by developing their employees, building cohesive and inclusive teams and strengthening positive leadership. She’s also a familiar voice in the Central Florida area from her long-running radio program on workplace issues and television appearances.