5 Ways to Spread Creativity & Happiness Among Employees


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Figuring out how to elicit creativity in the workplace is a challenge that’s been facing employers for many years. There’s a fine balance between letting someone’s imagination run amok versus recognizing original and innovative thinkers who will come up with the best ideas to benefit your business. Finding employees with creativity is a good start, but you also need to know how to harness that power to everyone’s benefit. Here are five tips about how to let your employees’ creativity shine.

1. Recognize Different Types of Thinkers
It’s easy to recognize creativity in an employee when they’re a great problem solver, such as refining current mechanisms or streamlining preexisting processes, but don’t let that stop you from recognizing other types contributions. Forbes describes two approaches to thinking in business: “conceptualists” and “experimentalists.” One type of thinker refines from the inside, whereas having faith in the latter is like taking a chance on an idea coming out of left field. Experimentalists are the more innovative thinkers who create new concepts, rather than refining old ones, and it’s important to recognize one when you see them.

2. Socializing Outside the Breakroom
No person is an island, and this also goes for creative thinking. The Business Journals quotes Silverpop CEO Bill Nussey as saying that employee interaction is essential to maximizing creativity. His company even has game rooms where staff are encouraged to interact and enjoy downtime. He also advises that allowing mistakes to be made and go unpunished is an effective way to foster an environment of innovation. Allowing employees to experiment in an idea sandbox is a far more effective way to draw out the best ideas, rather than simply punishing the failed ones.

The freedom for trial and error is essential to truly integrating creative thinking into your business and marketing model. This approach leaves room for big idea, whether they stick or not. Either way, big ideas are what you should always look for, and eventually, one will stick. Collaboration is key, whether it’s happening in person or even over a video conferencing system like Bluejeans. Chaining your employees to their desks and making them slaves to their computers won’t result in anything other than everyone clocking out on the hour at the end of the day. When you encourage casual socialization at stipulated points in the day, this is usually when a true exchange of ideas happens.

3. Embrace Pet Projects
Pet projects may seem like distractions if they’re not related directly to a task at hand, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Projects that employees favor are where they’re going to shine most. Possessing an attachment to a project and making a creative investment is a personal process, and also a rare one. Not all employees are quick to jump into a new project or idea with excitement, so if you come across someone who’s ready to do just that, let them. While larger projects are still important, if you allow enough leeway and time for an employee to pursue the projects they’re most attached to, you’ll reap much better results. Letting creativity shine is all about embracing a person’s strengths, but more importantly, also recognizing what excites them. Supporting pet projects is the perfect way to make an employee feel both valued and intellectually engaged.

4. Active Leadership and Structure
On the flipside, although fostering employee engagement through personal project interests is a great way to encourage creativity, you also have to keep even the most ambitious and forward thinkers operating within a structure. Business News Daily suggests always focusing on the bigger picture and keeping business goals in mind. This creates a structure within which employees can bounce their ideas around, but still contribute to the greater whole. This is also a great tactic for brainstorming when you’re in a room full of colleagues. You may hear lots of good ideas, but unless there’s some kind of structure for them to function within, it’s difficult to know how to use them.

5. Encourage Ownership
Once you back an idea, you need to let the employee who came up with it take ownership. Ownership is essential to ensure that the concept keeps growing and that the creative aspect of it isn’t lost. By giving people ownership over their own projects and ideas, you’re also providing them with a sense of value and pride. Everyone wants to feel satisfied with their work, whether it’s something as personal as art or as administrative as typing a memo. Regardless of the task, most employees want to feel good about what they’re putting their energy and intellect toward.

Creativity is there for the taking if you know where to look, and most employees are more than willing to offer it up. However, one of the most important parts of creating an environment where creativity thrives is making people feel valued and engaged. No employee is going to invest in a project where they feel their ideas are not valued or that their time is being wasted. Establishing personal investment in an idea is what makes creativity truly go places in the world of business.

Marcelo Brahimllari
Marcelo Brahimllari works in the digital world and studies everything around marketing - he likes to research & write about business start-ups and their marketing integration.


  1. Marcelo, Very useful content. Most of companies focus more on customer relations than inner relationships. Businesses need to release the employees are also important as customers as these are the people who make the business.


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