Sparking creativity in the office starts with having engaged employees. The goal is to make sure they understand that you’re as invested in their overall well-being and productivity as they are in their own work. Because the truth is that the small inkling of feeling underappreciated could fester and turn into resentment, lack of productivity and overall unhappiness in the office place. To avoid any of the negatives that arise with a struggling employer-employee relationship lean into preemptive solutions.
The benefits of tackling the issues before they turn into larger, company-wide issues are that you create an infrastructure that is continuous and a culture that proves your employees come first. There may be missteps when implementing any of the below tips for the first time, but ultimately even those missteps will be appreciated by employees because it proves that you’re taking steps to move in a better, happier direction.
Plan an offsite recreational event that has absolutely nothing to do with work. Is your office near a lake or other large body of water? Charter a private cruise and dinner. Local dinner theater available for large groups? Buy tickets for a special night out. Even something as seemingly small as taking your staff out to lunch at the beginning of every season could help you improve employee morale.
Invest time in your employees
Plan one-on-one time with each employee for the sole purpose of asking a few questions about their needs and goals – and really listen to their responses. Then, reflect back on 1–2 items that they mentioned for which you can offer personal help to solve a problem or achieve a new goal. Take a larger next step by creating a brief plan of action. Follow through with another check-in meeting a couple of weeks later so that your employee knows that you didn’t forget what you both talked about.
Remind your employees that you’re on the same team
If the standard protocol is to keep future plans under wraps, loosen the boundaries a bit and invite employees into the future. While to you it may seem like a small, insignificant gesture, divulging information about your company/division/department goals could be seen as a sign of trust for your employees. In other words, get them excited and involved in spearheading the next evolution of company growth and change.
Micromanaging can be disempowering and may ultimately leave employees feeling disengaged and uninspired. If this is the current situation, begin invigorating their power by assigning crucial projects and tasks to them and then leaving them alone. While the results may not be immediate, over time this empowering behavior will begin to lift the fog of a dispirited, disempowered staff.
Invite employees to take on new challenges
Employees who feel stuck in the same-old, same-old start to feel disengaged. Promote employees to lead projects or advance to the next role as a way to spark motivation. In other words, even if there appears to be a ceiling and 'nowhere to go,' get creative and find a way to advance employees' careers. The time dedicated to finding creative solutions so that your employee feels inspired and encouraged at work will ultimately save you both time and money. Investing in a current employee – in other words – is going to be less of a time and money output than what would potentially be spent if you had to train a new employee for the same role.
Revamp the bonus and rewards system
Rather than making the rewards even more difficult to meet, create a new system that benefits both the company and the employee. This may take some research, discovery and brainstorming, but employees who sense that you value them enough to reward their hard work and loyalty will ultimately become more engaged. Take this as another opportunity to spark creativity and show your employees just how invested you are in them.
Look at re-engaging your employees as a long-term investment in the future of your company. The ultimate end result will benefit both the company and the employee because your employee turnover rate will be lower and your anticipated level of productivity could potentially see a spike. This could also be a great opportunity to find the hidden gems that may have been hiding in your staff simply because they never thought their ideas would be appreciated. Let fall be the time to take on this new challenge and see what rewards can be reaped come next spring!