Many important factors separate successful companies from failed companies. Workplace culture, work policies, digital security, and management style can all have major impacts on employee performance, product development, and problem-solving.
But there’s another important factor that can affect workplace value and results: creative liberty. Although the benefits of creativity, in general, are widely recognized throughout industries, many managers and executives are reluctant to promote creative liberty in their own companies.
Let’s break down seven big advantages of promoting creative liberty in your workplace starting today.
What is “creative liberty” in the workplace?
Creative liberty is how free your employees are to exercise their creative mindsets and imaginations in service to company goals. Put more simply, creative liberty involves:
- Allowing employees to approach problems flexibly
- Enabling employees to look at problems with methods beyond established workflows or processes
- Promoting a culture of innovation in the workplace
There are, broadly speaking, two types of workplaces: those that are rigid and that have very strict processes and procedures, and those that are more flexible. Flexible workplaces have additional creative liberty and employees are freer to use their full skill sets to maximum effect.
At a creative workplace:
- Employees can approach problems in a way that best serves their needs and talents
- Collaboration is more common/powerful
- Employees feel better working at your company for a variety of reasons
Workplaces that limit the creativity of their employees face significant consequences. Those employees:
- Are always limited by workplace policies
- Don’t feel as though their talents or intellect are respected
- Cannot approach or solve problems as readily as they could otherwise
Overall, there are lots of reasons why a restrictive workplace is a bad idea. The modern market is incredibly competitive, and those companies with the most innovative ideas and employees always win out in the long run.
If you want your company to not just survive but thrive, why wouldn’t you promote creativity and creative liberty at your office/workplace?
Why should you permit – or promote! – creativity at your business?
Still not convinced that creativity is a force you should cultivate at your company? Let’s take a closer look at seven specific benefits that creative liberty can provide your company when pursued properly.
1. Higher employee engagement
For starters, you’ll likely see much higher employee engagement across the board. Employees that feel they can creatively pursue problems or that don’t feel chained by unnecessary regulations and rules work harder and better, plain and simple.
This, in turn, has a positive effect on employee morale. When you foster creative liberty at your workplace, you tell employees:
- That you trust their judgment and skills
- That you believe in their ability to solve the problems facing your organization the right way
- That they are unique and valued employees for their individual inputs/experiences
Overly-rigid workplaces with overzealous compliance officers tell employees the exact opposite messages. Over time, this can cause employees to lose faith in the organization and eventually look for work elsewhere.
Better employee engagement is a net benefit for your company no matter what. Engaged employees are more productive, more willing to work through crunch time, and are more loyal to your brand overall.
2. Creative product design
Next, promoting creative liberty could see major benefits in terms of product design. No matter your niche or industry, your company must constantly innovate and come up with new solutions for consumer demands.
In this day and age, when product quality is similar between many organizations, creativity or innovation differentiates successful companies from failed ones. If your employees – and especially your designer team members – are allowed to be creative when designing products or coming up with new solutions, those offerings will be more creative than anything your competition can muster.
Over time, you’ll produce:
- More novel and unique products for your target audience
- Better solutions that set trends across the industry
- Products and services that don’t fall into the same pitfalls or problems as other solutions
All of this, of course, translates into tangible benefits for your company’s bottom line. Better products and services mean happier customers. Happier customers mean more money for your company and more revenue at the end of the year.
3. Draw top talent to your company
When you promote creative liberty at your organization, you benefit from an ancillary boost: talent attraction. As word gets out that you not only allow but promote creativity, the best minds in your industry will flock to your company over the next few years.
Every company survives not based on its brand but based on the strength of its workforce. This is true for small e-commerce businesses, retail shops, personal loan companies, software developers, and all other businesses. If you have the best people working for you, your company will reap the benefits in the long run.
However, the best people often have flexible mindsets and creative energy. They like to approach problems uniquely and bring their individual experiences to bear on problems.
By promoting creativity, you’ll tell top talent in your industry:
- That you’re a great employer to work for
- That you’ll appreciate their talents better than competitors
- That you’ll give those high-performing professionals an opportunity to showcase their skills
Give them the opportunity to develop as they please and you’ll reap the rewards. Collaborative hiring software can help you build the best teams for your company from scratch.
4. Faster problem-solving
More practically, promoting creative liberty could lead to faster and more organic problem-solving when issues inevitably crop up at your company. Say that you run into a sudden design problem with a product you need to launch before the end of the current quarter.
If you have fostered a climate of creativity, your workers will:
- Be able to diagnose the problem with the product quickly
- Come up with a workable, effective situation more easily
- Iterate on ideas until you find the solution that works best for everyone
In contrast, a rigid, uncreative workplace will find it very difficult to come up with solutions to problems. The most creative members of your team need room to breathe and think about new issues they haven’t encountered before.
While it’s possible to come up with a playbook for most emergency scenarios, you can’t possibly account for every potential problem. You need creative people on your team to solve those problems you could never anticipate. This is true both for your front-line employees and your executive or leadership team.
5. Improvements to company culture
In a broad sense, promoting creative liberty will lead to significant improvements to your company's culture. Company culture can have a major impact on a variety of things, including:
- Who you draw to your organization
- How long employees stay at your company before moving on
- Whether you have a lot of HR complaints or interpersonal issues
- How well teams and team members work together
- And more
A positive, collaborative company culture will yield dividends in terms of product reliability, creativity, and revenue in the long haul. The best company cultures leverage the value of creativity and don’t stifle creative workers.
Instead, creative employees are hailed as champions of the company and are raised up whenever possible. A better workplace culture will not only help you draw top talent to your team, as mentioned above. It’ll also help you retain those employees for much longer.
This is doubly important given the prevalence of modern professionals jumping ship between companies whenever they feel there’s a problem.
Don’t doubt that high-quality workers will leave you for a competitor if your workplace culture is lacking in some way. It’s not enough to just offer benefits packages.
6. Overcome failure quickly
Every company encounters failure sooner or later. That’s just the nature of business. But when you inevitably run into a problem, your creative employees may help you get out of it much more quickly than otherwise.
For example, imagine that your company has run into a PR nightmare because of a problem with one of your products. This failure, while avoidable, immediately affects your target audience’s perception of your brand.
A creative problem solver on your team can help you overcome this failure by:
- Coming up with unique PR or other solutions through press releases, texting services, and more
- Working with the product design team to push out replacement products ASAP
- And more
Every business needs to know how to take punches and overcome failure quickly. The more creative liberty your team has to navigate around those problems, the better they’ll be able to do so.
7. Better teamwork
Last but not least, creative liberty will certainly lead to greater teamwork and collaboration within your workplace. Collaboration and teamwork are more important than ever, especially since lots of companies are multidisciplinary or provide products and services in several industries.
Say that you create software for other organizations or for consumers. You’ll need several teams to get the job done, including a software development team with programmers, a design team, a marketing team, and much more. The larger your company gets, the more important teamwork will become, as well.
Fortunately, if you foster creative liberty within your company, team members will:
- Collaborate more efficiently with one another
- Be able to accept new ideas from other teams more easily
- Integrate unique ideas and approaches into their products and services more readily
Better teamwork means you’ll have to deal with fewer workplace spats or issues with interpersonal drama. This, in turn, may lead to better company performance in terms of revenue or efficiency.
Ultimately, creative liberty is just one part of a fully functioning, streamlined workplace. Aside from the major benefits broken down above, creative liberty will help ensure that your company remains at the cutting edge of its niche or industry for a long time to come.
Fortunately, taking the step to recognize the benefits of creative liberty and promote it at your company sets you up for success immediately. Remember these benefits and ideas if you’re tempted to clamp down on creativity for one reason or another. The freer your workers are to pursue workplace goals organically, the better the results will be.