3 ways to make your employees more engaged and creative
Businesses have been working on strategies to increase productivity among employees since forever. While some believe the more time you spend at the office the more productive you are, others find you’ll be more productive when you are away from the office.
Who’s right? Well, nobody. The optimal conditions for maximum productivity are slightly different for everyone, but there are common elements that help increase productivity across the board.
Two common themes in almost all methods of achieving maximum productivity are engagement and creativity. The more engaged your employees are, the better off your business will be, because they will find creative solutions to almost every problem they encounter.
Your job is to create an environment that will nurture creativity and keep employees engaged. Here are three ways to achieve just that.
1. Do your best to meet your employee’s individual needs
Some people thrive in a busy, fast-paced environment while others need quiet to think. We all have different needs and while meeting the needs of so many diverse individuals can be challenging, it can also be one of the best things you can do for your business.
In some cases, your employees may be completely unaware of what conditions they operate best under. In other cases, they may know but you don’t because you don’t ask.
Employee engagement surveys can help with this, but only if you ask the right questions. Too many employers make the mistake of believing that because they offer generous benefits packages or other perks, their employees are happy.
In truth, not all happy employees are engaged and not all engaged employees are happy.
That being said, contented employees will generally carry your company far. But everyone needs a little something different to thrive. The best thing you can do for your employees is to find what makes them tick individually, then help create a setting where they will thrive.
2. Create a great work environment
You may not have the budget Google does to install a basketball court in your office, but creating office spaces where employees can collaborate, but also retreat when they need a break or focus, and a place to socialize will go a long way towards fostering both engagement and creativity.
People are visual creatures and it should come as no surprise that we enjoy looking at things that are visually stimulating.
While not everyone works best in an open office setting, few people do their best or most creative work in a dark maze of cubicles either.
If you want your employees to give you their best, then it might be a good idea to start by giving them a great environment to work in. Open office designs, while criticized by many, are not inherently bad if you know what you’re doing.
Your open office doesn’t have to be fully open – create spaces where everyone can work. What you should aim for is having collaboration areas, but also retreats and leisure areas so employees can go there to relax, listen to some music and recharge their batteries.
3. Show appreciation
It is unlikely that any employer does not know or understand the value of appreciation but many either forget to show it or even worse, don’t know how.
End-of-year bonuses and paid vacations are great but benefits packages without some good, old-fashioned appreciation might not cut it.
Your employees want to know that they matter, that their work matters. What it means to be a leader is often a hotly contested topic but one thing cannot be denied.
At its heart, the foundational essence of leadership is simply you go first. Leaders who show appreciation are generally also appreciated leaders.
At some point in time, a crisis is going to hit every business. Navigating your way out of stormy seas generally involves a healthy blend of teamwork and creative problem-solving.
- Leaders that rely on their title or position to get employees to fall in line will often quickly find themselves doing everyone on their own.
- Leaders that have shown appreciation to their employees, however, will more often find an eager team of supporters ready to brain-storm and problem solve until they have weathered to storm.
If you want to bring out the best in your employees in a crisis, make sure they feel valued when things are good.
Engaged Employees Keep your Business Afloat
Every business is going to face more than their fair share of challenges. Moving beyond those challenges generally requires creative problem solving on the part of your entire team of employees. But most employees will not endeavor to find solutions to new problems when they don’t believe they have a vested interest in the outcome either way.
If they don’t think anyone would even miss them if they just simply didn’t show up for work one day, they are unlikely to make any sacrifices for the good of the company, let alone invest heavily in driving the company forward.
If they love their jobs and want to keep them, they will move heaven and earth to keep the company afloat because they believe in the mission and vision that you have for it.
Creative and engaged employees may be one of the most valuable assets any business can have. Invest in your employees and they will invest in you.
This article was written by Joe Peters, a Baltimore-based freelance writer and an ultimate techie. When he is not working his magic as a marketing consultant, this incurable tech junkie devours the news on the latest gadgets and binge-watches his favorite TV shows. Follow him on @bmorepeters