Your company may be a heritage brand or it could be an up-and-coming new startup but whichever end of the spectrum it falls - or indeed if you’re somewhere in the middle - a more creative company culture will be of enormous benefit.
But what exactly is a creative culture, how can it help your business, and, more importantly, how do you create one?
Well, if you’ve got the feeling that your organization could do with a shot of creativity, carry on reading and we’ll break those questions down and provide you with some answers.
Would your company benefit from a more creative culture?
First of all let’s take a look at what a creative company culture actually is. Granted, the term might seem a bit wishy washy and vague, particularly if you’re not in a creatively aligned business.
What is a creative company culture?
But this isn’t really about graphic design, a website with all the bells and whistles, or launching a groundbreaking new product. (Though a little more on that in a moment.) Creativity in this sense simply means having the capability to come up with new ways of doing things in the workplace that solve an existing problem or otherwise provide value.
And therein is the crux of the matter: These changes must be valuable. They shouldn’t be made just because someone is bored and figured they want to do something a different way.
(After all, who hasn’t worked in a place where seemingly pointless changes were implemented only to change back to the original method after a few weeks. Annoying isn’t it?!)
Crucially it’s not just about being creative with the services you offer or the products you sell, it’s about being creative with the way that you do things to enhance your internal practices and your offering.
We can break down the overall concept of creativity in a company into three fundamentals:
- Innovation: As mentioned earlier, it’s about creating something new, or improving on an existing factor, to add value.
- Marketing and branding: Applying creative ideas to market a company, product or service. For example, the use of content, headlines and design on a website.
- Creative culture: The act of ‘thinking outside the box’ (to use a well worn cliché) to do things differently to meet your goals.
How can my company introduce creativity into the workplace?
There are a number of different ways you can inject that shot of creativity that your organization may currently be lacking. Here are a few ideas to think about:
- Use in depth research to build a customer or client profile and identify their needs or pain points. This is more than just saying, “We sell sneakers to males between the ages of 18 and 26.” You need to really get down to the nitty gritty and see if there are any areas you can improve on or niches that you can expand into.
- Take a good look at your practices and processes. Run through them from a customer, partner or supplier’s point of view and see where you can improve by applying a more innovative thought process.
- Make sure your people know that they can express themselves and offer up opinions and ideas. Give them an outlet for their feedback - not everyone likes speaking up in team meetings. Run online polls or install a suggestion box.
- Make sure you act on any feedback or suggestions that are put forward by employees. Encourage their innovation and you will soon start to see your culture evolve. Besides, paying lip service to ideas and not implementing them (or not explaining why they’re not viable) is a quick route to resentment and disengagement.
- Actively seek out feedback from your clients or market. Adapt to change. Implement new concepts as quickly as you can.
- Take a fresh look at your policies and benefits. Are you offering the same tired old standard package as everyone else, or could you be doing better? What can you offer to increase employee retention and attract new talent?
- Consider adopting the new way of working by either going remote or hybrid and offering your people the choice of how they want to work. You could even really go for it and trial run a four day week!
Changing your culture doesn’t have to be overwhelming
It might sound a little daunting, attempting to change the existing culture of an entire organization, but whether you have 4 members of staff or 400, it might not be as overwhelming as you might initially think.
It really only takes one person to stand up and make a suggestion to initiate change and the ball will be rolling. Poll your employees, ask them what they want to see implemented or changed - this will get your people putting their creative hats on and start the transition to a more creatively charged organization.
However, don’t expect your whole culture to shift overnight towards its new model. It is also particularly important that the company’s leaders are onboard with the new way of thinking and that the desire for creativity is also embraced by those at the top.
It’s also wise to avoid imitating other companies that you view as creative thinkers. After all, the whole point of being creative is to innovate and change aspects of your business that are unique and important to you.
And of course not every new idea is going to be a surefire winner. But where creative companies excel is by taking those (reasonable) risks and if they don’t succeed, identifying what contributed to the failure and learning from that.
What are the benefits of a creative company culture?
When a company thinks creatively, people are engaged and more productive, and just generally getting more out of their time at work. The workplace is more energized and the atmosphere is one of respect and innovation. Of great things that are happening and that are just around the corner.
A creative company will benefit from:
- Enhanced wellbeing of employees
- Better profits and turnovers
- More attractive products and/or services
- An improved employer brand
- A higher caliber of candidate
- Greater employee retention
Would your company benefit from a more creative culture? Conclusion
If you’ve pinpointed some weak spots in your processes, systems, culture, product or service, applying creative thinking to the issue could well be the way forward.
Look at what’s not really working or what could be improved. Think of new ways to address the problem or bugbear. Implement change - be the one who stands up and says “let’s try it this way!” and get that shift towards a more creative culture off to a flying start.