You went through the process of sorting through dozens or even hundreds of candidates to find the right person to fill a position, and you’ve finally made a new hire. Bring out the best in your new employee by encouraging him or her to present new ideas. There are several actions that you can take to allow your employees to show off their creativity.
Encourage Employees to Discuss Outside Interests
One aspect that might have drawn candidates to answer your job finder ad was that your posting mentioned your company’s encouragement of work-life balance. By encouraging your employees to discuss the things that interest them away from work, you can let them know that you don’t just consider them to be cogs in a machine. Take the concept a step further by allowing employees to take paid time off to pursue individual projects, either on the premises or away from your company’s offices.
Tap Into Employees “On the Ground” Perspective
Your employees are the ones on the front lines, dealing with customers, clients or vendors, which means that they have a unique perspective on how to approach challenges. Allow workers to apply their first-hand experiences in devising solutions to logistical or other persistent problems. For instance, a receptionist might notice that visitors frequently seem confused when making their way to certain sections of the building, and suggest clear way-finding signs to ease the process of navigation.
Invite Outside Speakers
Google regularly invites celebrities such as Lady Gaga and Tina Fey to give presentations to their employees. If your budget won’t allow you to tap A-list celebrities, try bringing in local experts to share their knowledge and insights. Make the sessions interactive, with plenty of time for questions to allow employees to take an active role in the events.
Refrain from Micromanaging Your Workers’ Time
Of course, it is essential for your workers to complete their assigned duties in a timely fashion. And when hard deadlines loom, everyone should be willing to put in extra effort to ensure that a project or report is completed on time. However, if you insist on forcing your employees to account for every moment that they spend on the job, you may find yourself dealing with clock watchers rather than engaged workers. By allowing employees time to interact with one another, you give them the opportunity to exchange ideas and collaborate on potentially game-changing projects.
Celebrate “Outside the Box” Thinking
Hold regular meetings where employees are complimented for bringing new ideas to the table. Ensure that the meetings adhere to a no-ridicule rule. Even wacky ideas that seem to have no practical application could turn out to be the next big thing for your company. Likewise, ideas that don’t quite work for one challenge may be ideal for another. Some of the best ideas result from an attempt to accomplish an entirely different task. For instance, Post It Notes were the brainchild of a 3M engineer who was working on an adhesive. The adhesive wouldn’t hold objects together permanently, but was ideal for strategically placing small scraps of paper in certain spots where they would remain.
Guest Author: Simon Morray
Simon Morray is an experienced employee manager. He enjoys writing about the tips and tricks to productive and satisfied employees.