Trans Capital Blog

9 Ways to develop a Creative Climate and improve Employee Engagement

Posted by John Thompson

CreativityDefinition

‘A creative climate is a safe nurturing environment for people to work in and one that encourages innovation and creativity.’

Why a Creative Climate?

In today’s world, with globalisation, the advances of IT and ever more government intervention, everything is moving so fast that companies cannot afford to stand still.  Increasing competition means that standing still is not an option.  If “to stand still is dangerous”, it could be argued that the Creative Climate is a must have in today’s business world.

Here we examine some of the Key Components for a Creative Climate

1.Open culture

A culture where everyone feels included and is able to share new ideas, successes, and indeed problems.  An ‘open door policy’, and/or an open plan office is a good start point for this and helps avoid the development of departmental silos which can have the opposite effect and actually create competition from people in the same organisation.

2.Empowered workforce

As discussed in our recent article an empowered workforce can work wonders for your business, develops real employee engagement and encourages individuals and teams to go ‘the extra mile’ when needed.

3.Integrated systems

Systems that work with each other encourage a creative climate.  For example the Balanced Scorecard as originally developed by Kaplan and Norton, does just this.  It takes a holistic view of the organisation and illustrates to all the benefit of working together both on the current business and the development of new ideas.

4.Idea generation systems

Any form of system here is good.  From a simple ‘suggestions box’, through to allocating free time to the workforce each week to spend on developing new ideas.  This latter method has been used successfully by 3M for many years and has been the catalyst for many great innovations.

5.High levels of Trust

Trust is the big one in my opinion.  Trust is not just about whether you would lend one of your colleagues a fiver, it is about whether you trust them to do their job.  It might be something as simple as returning a call.  I have worked in many organisations where a number of key people, sometimes very senior, have been notorious for not returning calls.  The message this subconsciously sends to the rest of the organisation is one of laxness and lack of respect for others.  We all know how irritating it is to not get called back when we leave a message.  You might think this is a small thing but in terms of the way your organisation works, it is absolutely crucial, and most importantly easy to manage.

6.Knowledge sharing

Sharing knowledge with your colleagues and sometimes suppliers and customers plays a massive part in building mutual trust and respect.

7.Good internal and external networks

Everyone having a great network of contacts with open lines of communication is another key component to engendering a creative culture.

8.Acceptance of mistakes

An environment where everyone is scared to make a mistake does not lend itself to a creative climate.  When organisations are straining at the leash to move through the next threshold, mistakes are inevitable.  We should be encouraging our people to push at the boundaries, within their own limits (not Nick Leeson), and accept their errors with good grace, and make sure that this event plays a key part in their personal development.

9.Common purpose or mission

Finally there is nothing like having a clear purpose to which everyone in the organisation can really buy into.  If you can take this a stage further and develop it into a real mission then this really is a recipe for success.  See the Ashridge Mission Model

 

If you can pull all these areas together it is my opinion that you really will be well on the way to creating a genuinely Creative Climate, with great employee engagement, where everyone wins.

If you have any comments on this article or would like to discuss any aspect of it please contact me at john.thompson@transcapital.co.uk or on 0845 689 8750.

John Thompson is Managing Director and founder of Trans Capital Associates 

 

Image by: CaZaTo Ma

Topics: Business strategy, How to Business strategy, staff engagement

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