5 Key Ways to Motivate and Engage Creatives

HR gurus have researched motivation for decades, and all the books and theories could fill the largest library in the world. And yet, every organization struggles with keeping its people motivated. The reason being that motivation and engagement is a balancing act between the individual them self and the organization’s connection with the individual, and this can vary person-to-person and day-to-day.

So how do we really engage employees to be productive and creative? Here’s the secret: Employee engagement, in its clearest and simplest form, is the emotional commitment the employee has to the organization and its goals. That’s it!

And the reason this is so important is because when the employee is emotionally committed, they give discretionary effort. The solution to our problem is connecting with an employees’ emotions so that they want to feel more, think more, do more and give more.

Creatives rely primarily on intrinsic motivation. People Leaders in the creative space such as Karine Shahar former Global HR Director at TBWA/Media Arts Lab, say that quality and variety of work, and understanding how their work contributes to the larger picture all lend a hand in the creative process for creative employees.

So how do we do that? Here’s 5 key ways:

1. Give them what they want

Give employees tools they want to work with so that they can collaborate and create quickly and easily. Have we asked them what software and apps they prefer using? Tech moves ahead and they may be frustrated by our old systems.

Give them the space to get creative, people need a variety of meeting places. Having both open and closed workspaces appeals to different personality types and allow the freedom to choose between the two depending on their day.

2. Empower them to collaborate

As James Kinney, a Talent Development Executive and former creative artist says, “Creators love to create”, inferring that burying our employees in bureaucracy or meetings stifles the energy and the time to do what they love and what we hired them to do. Allow remote collaboration, remove hierarchy and approval levels for designs and projects and empower people to make decisions.

Allow collaboration to happen between people or departments that have synergy. Make sure information is available and flowing about what the other is doing so that there’s transparency. Network and involve other people that can help or have an interest in that project or area.

3. Provide a soft structure

Running a business requires structure. Deadlines love structure. Budgets love structure but as Frank Ho of First Access Entertainment explains, “too much structure hinders creativity, but chaos can also hinder creativity.”

Damon D’Amore, of Legacy Mentor suggests defining boundaries for the creative team clearly and allowing them the freedom within those boundaries as a way out. The challenge is to not make them feel curtailed. Some structure also allows quieter team members a space to voice their opinions.

4. Embrace their passions

Google, one of the most creative companies, has a 20% rule, where employees are encouraged to pursue passion projects. Nielsen, a leading global information & measurement company, provides market research, insights & data about what people watch, listen to & buy. Similarly, internal research showed them that employees wanted to give back to their communities, so they provide paid volunteer hours.

5. Create the right energy

Making sure your creative talent is not stressed about paying rent, or job security, will surely enable them to deliver better output. Having said that, pushing our teams pays off. Dorie Clark, Marketing and Strategy consultant and frequent contributor to the Harvard Business Review, writes that to avoid creating cliched work, it is important to get uncomfortable and do something new. David Chatfield, Executive Digital Producer at KERN – an Omnicom Agency, says that when he sees an employee’s engagement dropping, he pushes them to try new things that challenge their creative juices. “Few things are more demotivating than being asked to do very easy and unchallenging work, and this is especially true when employees are creative. Data shows that in the U.S., 46% of employees see themselves as overqualified for their jobs. This makes it critical to push our employees beyond their level of comfort. Failing to do so will significantly increase disengagement, turnover, and poor psychological health. “ HBR.

And don’t forget how praise and positive reinforcement are often a bigger motivator than money. Let your team know that they are appreciated.

To sum it up, motivating your creative team is a fine balancing act between allowing them to fail and encouraging them to succeed. For advice on how to get more from your team give Peoplescape Consulting a call on (323) 900-0511 today.