Creativity is the key to innovation and something that companies of all shapes and sizes are looking to embrace. Hiring creative employees can help propel an organization to unexpected levels and uncover new growth opportunities for the business.
As the CEO and Founder of Task Pigeon, a task management tool for teams, I do however know that maintaining productivity in creative-centric employees is not always easy. Corporate culture, workplace attitudes and the physical environment employees find themselves in can all stifle productivity, even in the most motivated employees.
These productivity roadblocks cause a real drag on the business. Not only are you minimizing the financial return that results from innovation and creativity, but you are also likely to see an increase in staff turnover, absenteeism and a reduction in work quality.
If you want to maintain a productive team of creative individuals you need to be aware of these common roadblocks.
1) Overwhelmed by Mundane Tasks and Demands
Creative minds resent having to do the same thing over and over again. They want to explore new and different ways of doing things. They like challenging and exciting tasks, and tend to get bored easily by repetitive work.
When you overwhelm a creative employee with mundane work, you minimize their productivity significantly. Why? Because it doesn’t interest or motivate them to use their mind. They don’t see it as an interesting challenge, but a mere job to be done. As a result productivity and the resulting work suffers.
Let employees explore their creativity to the fullest. You can achieve this by providing new and interesting projects to work on, as well as balancing the level of direction and creative license you give them. If they feel as if they have creative control over the process then they are more likely to succeed.
2) Lack of Inspiration from their Company and Team
Creativity needs to be nurtured. Rarely do creative minds work alone. If you want your employees to give the job their best, then create for them a working environment that both encourages and nurtures their creativity. Not only does this provide a stimulus for creativity, but creative workplaces are known to boost productivity.
Take a situation where a creative person is working in the same place with an administrator. If they get a creative idea or solution, it is highly likely that the bureaucratic administrator will instantly discourage them from pursuing that idea. Discouragement can kill a person’s morale, thus effectively killing their creativity as well.
Creative minds need other creative minds in order to thrive. They need other people to support and even enhance their creativity. That way, their productivity will be greatly improved.
3) Not Having Creative Freedom
There is nothing that kills creativity faster than being consistently told what to do. Doesn’t that even beat the whole point of being creative? What sense does it make to be a creative employee who can’t even come up with their own ideas and then implement them?
There is also nothing that creative employees detest more than managers who simply won’t leave them alone. Sure, it is important that there are guidelines to guide the employees, but this by no means implies that you should micromanage your employees.
If the employees require your nod of approval for every simple task they complete, then it is effectively your ideas that they are executing as opposed to their own. Let them explore their creative powers unfettered. You will be amazed at what they can come up with.
While creative freedom does spur an increase in productivity this streak can’t and won’t last forever. Recognize that even the most creative individuals need to stop and re-energize. In fact, there are a number of tips to help kick start a productive streak if you hit a creative roadblock.
4) Changing Scope or Direction of the Project
Although creative minds love ever changing conditions, they detest having projects change on a whim, or worse yet the advice of someone from a non-creative background.
It takes a lot of time and energy to complete a creative task and nothing feels worse to a creative individual than having to throw all their work away because someone changed their mind halfway through a project.
Sure, there are going to need to be changes and refinements along the way, but wholesale changes to the scope can make a creative employee feel as if their work isn’t being valued. When this occurs productivity suffers.
5) Involving Creative Employees in Non- Creative Work
Another sure-fire way to kill creativity is to engage creative minds in non- creative work. This is more or less the same as swarming them with mundane and repetitive work.
Creative people are a valuable asset in your business and loading them up with administrative work or non-essential tasks is not only a waste of your money but also a buzz-kill from productivity.
If you are trying to improve productivity and foster innovation within the creative staff that you employ then you should look to remove all non-essential tasks from their workload. For example once your Designer has completed a new logo for a client they shouldn’t then need to prepare the proposal for the client. That is an administrative task best handled by someone else on your team.
Creativity is a powerful driver of business growth and productivity. If your organization isn’t working to tap the knowledge and insight that sits inside the minds of your employees then you are sitting stagnant, waiting to be disrupted by a company that understands this value.
You only have to look to the most valuable brands in the world to understand the power of creativity. Companies like Apple, Google, Tesla and Facebook are successful just as much for their creativity as they are for the underlying technology that powers their business.
The question for you is, how can you unlock and embrace the creativity in your own workforce for a more productive and successful team?
This is a guest post. Paul Towers is a 3 x Entrepreneur and the Founder and CEO of Task Pigeon, a task management application that empowers teams to get more done each day. Paul has worked with creative employees at each of his past three companies and is passionate about understanding workplace behavior and motivations.