Do you encourage employees to share their ideas? Here are nine ways you can help your team brainstorm.
It’s no secret that creative ideas are the backbone to innovation; however, encouraging an atmosphere that fosters this development can be a struggle. While it can be challenging, it’s not impossible and there are things you can do to help your team feel more comfortable in sharing ideas; the more comfortable they feel the more innovative their ideas.
9 Tips to Encourage Employees to Share Ideas
With the help of Marketing Donut’s article on encouraging creative thinking, we have developed the following tips to develop a workplace that inspires creativity and growth.
- Stress the importance of creativity
Your team needs to know that you want to hear their ideas and how they keep your business innovative and competitive. Remind them of this importance often.
- Make brainstorming a priority
One of the ways you can stress the importance of creativity is by regularly setting aside time that allows your team to brainstorm and work together. Allowing your team to get together on a regular basis to brainstorm is more effective than if they go about it alone since they are able to explore, test and refine their ideas with others.
- Create an open work environment
An open work environment promotes collaboration. Cubicles and closed-off offices, are physical barriers that can oppress the flow of ideas from employees. Opening up the area allows employees to easily communicate with one another while at their workstations.
Don’t forget to provide areas for your employees to reflect privately on their work when they need to.
- Actively seek out ideas
Suggestion boxes and keeping your doors open are great ways to encourage idea sharing, but don’t be afraid to also directly ask for your team’s ideas on how to solve certain problems.
Expanding your team’s experiences through shadowing and role swapping is a fantastic way to spark ideas. Allowing them to temporarily exchange jobs provides an outside perspective on how different tasks are completed, paving the way for ideas that can help get tasks done more effectively.
- Be supportive
When an idea is presented to you, it is critical that you respond enthusiastically! Never make someone feel foolish or crazy for bringing their thoughts to you, even if you know they wouldn’t work.
- Tolerate mistakes
With innovation comes some risk-taking and even a few failures along the way. Allow your team to learn from their mistakes and come up with new ways that can work. Never punish someone for having an idea that did not work.
- Recognize creativity
A terrific way to motivate your team to come up with and share new ideas is to recognize those who do so. Give credit to those who come up with successful innovations as well as acknowledge teams that are consistently working to come up with fresh concepts.
- Act on ideas
One thing to remember about idea sharing is that it’s only worth the effort if you take action; innovation will never happen if you fail to act on the ideas your team provides you with. Further, if you don’t pursue ideas, your team will eventually give up on the creative process feeling that whatever they come up with won’t be of use.
As you can see, there are numerous ways you can harness creativity and encourage everyone to share ideas; doing so will result in an innovative and productive company. Do you have any other tips on how to encourage employees to share their creative ideas? Let us know in the comments below!