When employees work under fear of expressing ideas because they think they will be ignored or ridiculed, productivity dwindles. Promoting creativity and self-expression, on the other hand, can impact employee’s performance in a very positive way.
Creative tasks are not just about art and leisure, they also come in the form of projects that involve the conception of something, the creation from scratch. As uslegal.com puts it, “when the power to create in the organization is pushed down from the top to line personnel, employees who know a job, product, or service best are given the opportunity to use their ideas to improve it.” Handling this power to create boosts motivation and benefits the organization as it provides more flexibility and gives room for innovation as more employees with differing backgrounds, ideas, and experiences, can come up with better solutions and proposals.
Most employees will take on the challenge of accomplishing more, as long as they are provided with the proper tools to achieve results. Employees feel truly motivated when provided with the opportunity to learn something new and develop their skills. When an organization provides these chances, employees also feel thankful towards the company for providing such opportunities of professional development.
When these opportunities are also directly related to the employee’s job, she will perceive them as more useful for her career and feel even more motivated from the acquisition of new knowledge.
Motivation expert Dave Worman offers some learning motivation techniques:
- One-on-One Coaching. Coaching is employee development. Your only cost is time. Time means you care. And remember your people don’t care how much you know… until they know how much you care. Whenever the emphasis is on positive feedback, I make sure to do this coaching in “public.” Whenever you recognize and encourage people in “public,” it acts as a natural stimulant for others who are close enough to see or hear what’s taking place.
- Training. Is training ever finished? Can you possibly overtrain? NO and NO. For whatever reasons, too many people feel “My people have already been trained” or “I’ve got good people…they only need a little training.” But training never ends. Schedule “tune- up” training sessions. These should be led by you or by a supervisor with help from specific employees who show a particular strength in the skills taught. I know this takes time, but these types of training sessions will continually enhance the performance of your people and the productivity of your business.
- Outside Seminars. Outside seminars are a stimulating break. Because outside seminars are not always cost efficient for most people, consider on-site seminars or workshops for your staff. Use outside seminars as a contest prize for one or two people. Then set up a structured plan for those seminar attendees to briefly recreate the seminar to the rest of your people when they return. Now everyone gets educated for the price of one.
Motivating employees through creativity might be a tougher call. Not all employees are suited to take the lead in a creative task, but this doesn’t mean that management shouldn’t give it a try. After all, employees won’t really know that they will like it until they try it.
Inc.com published a good example, about how West Paw Design, a pet accessories manufacturer, turned all its employees into designers.
Even if Cheryl Grisso, on of West Paw’s employees, never thought of herself as a creative person, one day she had to make it work while she was taking part in a companywide design competition that involved the company’s 36 employees from all departments (including the President). The competition required everyone to “spend an afternoon designing and producing prototypes for new products.” And by the end of the day, employees voted on their favorite designs. “The winner receives the company’s coveted Golden Hairball Award, an Oscar-inspired statuette topped with one of the company’s cat toys.”
Employee’s collaborations in the competition have resulted in new lines of successful products which have been developed from mere ideas submitted by anyone from accountants to sale people.
Motivating through learning and creative opportunities definitely challenges management to be creative themselves and come up with activities and incentives that truly engage the staff. The ultimate goal is for employees to enjoy the work itself, so in the end these creative activities should support the main objective and push towards productive results for the business.