- For creativity to flourish, employees must be engaged and intrinsically motivated
- Three important drivers of engagement are feeling valued, confident, and empowered
- By protecting employees’ intrinsic motivation, leaders can increase the likelihood they will be creative in ways that produce useful innovation for the organization
As a species, human beings are incredibly creative. Yet since innovation depends on creativity, organizations everywhere are looking for ways to boost it at work. Studies show that highly engaged employees are more effective, produce better results, and are happier at their jobs. But engagement is also important for creativity, the driver of innovation, and a key for business success today. While human beings are inherently creative, there are ways that managers and leaders can help encourage them to put that creativity to work for their organizations.
Engaging employees is no small feat, but concentrating on making employees feel valued, confident, and empowered is a good place to start. By focusing on these aspects, managers and executives can reengage employees. In turn, these engaged employees are 57% more effective and are 87% less likely to leave their job. Not only that, but organizations with highly engaged employees see 2.3 times the average revenue growth.
That’s because these three drivers (feeling valued, confident, and empowered) support intrinsic motivation, the main component behind creative ideas that lead to business success. A meta-analysis of motivation and business performance found intrinsic motivation to be six times more powerful at predicting success when employees are tasked with projects involving creativity.
It’s clear that employees are intrinsically driven by feeling valued, confident, and empowered, and each of these drivers builds on the next, leading to an increase in engagement.
What Does it Mean to Be Valued and What Does it Do for Employees?
Employees want to be valued and see the value of their work in taking their company toward its mission. Yet, in a Dale Carnegie survey, only 27% of respondents strongly agreed that they feel valued and appreciated. Managers and leaders have an opportunity to raise engagement by focusing on this area.
Recognizing and rewarding accomplishments is the first step to valuing employees. But it should reach beyond rewards as extrinsic motivators. Praise the effort put into a project, not just the end result. This type of appreciation allows individuals to see how their work is essential to feeding the organizational goals.
Too much praise, however, can leave employees wondering whether complimentary behavior is sincere. Instead, allow employees to see the tangible results of their work. Remind them how important their role is to supporting the organizational purpose. And connect with them on a deeper level to show you value their whole person, not just the product of their work.
Helping Employees Gain Confidence Can Make All the Difference
In a study from Indeed, 97% of respondents indicated that their confidence and productivity both increase when they feel valued within a company. But confidence is easily shaken.
One study found that employees’ confidence weakens with the rejection of their ideas, making them less likely to be creative with the next project. Since not every idea can be accepted every time, managers and leaders need to instill confidence in other ways.
Professional development and training programs are an excellent way to build employee confidence with new skills. Organizations should also cultivate psychologically safe spaces where employees feel comfortable speaking up and contributing to team meetings. Leaders who show empathy, consideration, and support for their employees boost confidence which helps them overcome fears of engaging with their team.
Empower Your Workers to See Real Engagement Results
Confident employees who feel valued cannot hurdle the final step to be truly engaged and creative unless they are given the autonomy to make decisions and pursue an idea. An environment of empowerment creates a proactive personality which “describes a stable and enduring behavioral inclination to take the initiative and make constructive changes to the status quo or create a new one”—aka a proactive person is a creative person.
Of course, empowerment still needs to fit within a framework of rules. But flexibility in aspects like work hours or choosing between hybrid, in-person, or remote work can give employees the ability to make their own choices. University of Exeter researchers found that even being allowed to decorate their office space with personal items increased worker productivity by 32%. It doesn’t have to be a make-or-break decision for an employee to feel empowered.
Your Engaged Workforce Is Ready to Get Creative
A worker who feels valued, confident, and empowered will be an engaged employee. The most engaged employees are driven by an alignment of their personal and organizational purpose rather than external factors and rewards.
Intrinsic motivation “was found to produce positive liking, psychological elasticity, openness to take risk, and perseverance, promoting the advancement of creativity.” And these employees produce results. Engaged workers who employed their creativity in their work increased sales by 20% and saw a 10% increase in customer satisfaction.
By concentrating on cultivating feelings of value, confidence, and empowerment, leaders and managers can increase employee engagement, leading to more creativity. For more information, read our whitepaper or find a training course near you.