Even though creativity is an invaluable asset to organizations, employer surveys have ranked creativity among the least important skills for new entry-level employees for years.
This lack of appreciation is problematic because it is disconnected from both employee wants and market competition needs.
Employees increasingly want to be creative.
Despite how little employers regard creativity as a core skill, it is amongst the top “wants” of Millennials seeking to have a sense of belonging and purpose within their work.
Encouraging employees to be creative within their work allows them to feel respected, trusted, and engaged.
However, many sectors see this intersection of conflicting desires as a threat.
This fear of change sources from a need for control. We all seek some level of predictability and ability to plan in our work, after all.
Organizations worry about encouraging creativity across all levels. For its leadership, creativity is perceived as potentially raising the risk of an abuse of freedom towards unethical or self-interested behaviors. For its employees more broadly, fostering creativity is thought to cause potential inefficiencies and stagnation.
What organizations do not account for is that discouraging creativity sends a strong message to all employees that there is a fundamental lack of trust.
Creativity is not the real threat; a failure to acknowledge its value is.
In these times of high competition, we need to reposition creativity as a key competence that could drive organizational performance in ways that set it apart from the pack.
Even leading organizations in the manufacturing sector are repositioning creativity as an asset. In a recent visit to a Siemens manufacturing facility in North Carolina, our guide indicated that the managers have supported initiatives to encourage employees to think creatively within their work reaching as far down the ranks as their apprentices. Employees there have the ability to apply to have their idea adopted, with all implementable and accepted ideas being eligible for a financial reward.
Organizations that encourage employees to be creative become more innovative, flexible and competitive.
Creative employees are better problem solvers and more ready to adjust to change. Moreover, employees who feel engaged and valued at work are more productive and less likely to leave the organization.
Dismissing the value of creativity is an invitation to your competition to take your customers and your talent.
Now, over to you.
Does your organization value creativity? How do you acknowledge creativity at your workplace?
Tell us in the comments below.