“Today, amid rapid technological advancement, the demand for creativity from employees is constantly on the up.”

Many, many years ago, long before the days of Apple and Google, the world saw creative thinking as a skill that belonged only to the artists and children. At that time, creativity had no place in the rigid world of business.

However, when a new era of business emerged, organisations came to realise that creativity and creative thinking were not only needed, but also essential in driving innovation forward and creating working environments that could attract and retain top talents.

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Today, amid rapid technological advancement, the demand for creativity from employees is constantly on the up. One of the best examples is Google’s renowned ‘20% Time’ policy, which allowed its engineers to spend 20% of their time unleashing their creativity by taking on side projects. Though it has now made way for a new programme called Diversity Core, the ‘20% Time’ policy resulted in some of Google’s most successful products, including Gmail, Google Talk and Adsense. Aside from Google, Apple is also known to have programmes that encourage its employees to think creatively and innovate.

It is no coincidence that Apple and Google – both which employ policies that encourage their employees to thinking creatively – are two of the biggest brands in the world today.

So, how can you, as an employer, promote creative thinking in your workplace? ‘Think Creatively’ is one of the most important core values for us at Saltycustoms, and it is a value that has helped us grow tremendously as a company. Let us share what we know with you.

“A creative workplace breeds creative thoughts, creative conversations and creative actions.”

MAKE TIME FOR CREATIVITY

Like Google, try giving your employees the freedom to dedicate a certain amount of their working hours to pursue a project or an innitiative that is beneficial to either your company or your employee’s personal growth, or both.

To ensure that this does not disrupt the day-to-day operations of your business, you need to have a clear picture on how many hours your employees need to set aside for real work before deciding how much time they can use for their creative pursuits.

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SET THE STAGE

A creative workplace breeds creative thoughts, creative conversations and creative actions. So, speak to your employees to find out what can help them open their minds and see things from a different perspective. Then, take a look around your workplace and identify areas that can be spruced up to spur your employees’ creative juices.

On top of that, a great culture can also increase the creative level in your organisation. Develop a fun orientation programme, make some cool t-shirts for your employees, go for company trips or even conduct exciting out-of-the-office acitivities; a creative culture helps you retain and attract the best talents.

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ALLOW ANONYMITY

Some employees are very creative, but more often than not, they choose to keep their creativity to themselves because they fear that their ideas would be ridiculed, or that their contributions would affect everyone in the company.

To eliminate this problem, encourage your employees to submit anonymous suggestions or ideas to the management team. However, you should still compensate or reward them in private for their contributions.

“As a leader, it is also important for you to lead by example, and that means to always stay curious, and be willing to take risks and make mistakes. “

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PROMOTE DIVERSITY

When your employees are of different ethnic backgrounds, experience levels, qualifications, seniority and even personality types, your organisation reaps the benefits of having a diverse workforce, which is essential in the generation of different exciting ideas.

So, rather than setting stringent recruitment criteria, consider broadening your prerequisites and hiring people who may be very different from one another, but can still work well together.

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NURTURE FROM THE TOP

It is your duty as an employer to foster and encourage creative thinking in your workplace. So, if you want employees who can use creative solutions to take your business to new heights, you need to do your part to help them fulfil their potential.

For starters, always explore different ideas with your business and try to push the boundaries of innovation and creativity in your products, services and your approach in business.

As a leader, it is also important for you to lead by example, and that means to always stay curious, and be willing to take risks and make mistakes.

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Lastly, actively search for inspirations through research, discussions with your associates and employees, and your experiences. When you are a leader who is capable of thinking creatively, so will the people who work with and for you.

Read about our other core value, ‘Under-promise, Over-deliver’, to find out how we strive to exceed expectations in all that we do. Have a question for us instead? Email media@saltycustoms.com or drop us a message at facebook.com/saltycustoms today.