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Most organizations list 'creativity' as an important skill in their job postings. Employees are expected to come up with creative ideas to sell a product or service or innovate new processes within the organization. Organizations that provide their employees with the time and freedom to be creative see a higher scale of innovation. Not only are their employees highly productive and engaged but they are also more open to taking risks, speaking their mind and trying new innovations. In short, these workplaces take psychological safety seriously.
But corporate India tells a different story. As per a study by Gallup, consisting of more than 16,500 employees, only 29% of workers strongly agreed that they were expected to be creative or innovate ways of doing things at work. A larger portion of corporates do not value creativity and their employees are not motivated to perform to the best of their abilities.
On the other hand, in companies that foster creativity as a part of their work culture, the employees are eager to bring innovative ideas to the table are more open to taking risks, which is an essential element of innovation. It fosters the creation of new ideas, products, services or solutions within the organization, making them more competitive in the market. Employees prefer working for such organizations and their attrition rate is generally low.
Building a psychologically safe workplace, however, is more than just about profit-making and team-building. Managers must ensure that their teams have the time and freedom to create and innovate. As per the study, only 30% of employees are allotted the time to think creatively or discuss new ideas at work on a daily basis. Lack of time management hampers creativity and limits the application of innovative ideas.
The solution to this conundrum is not to work hard but to work smart. Instead of just handing employees individual tasks, managers must ensure that every team member feels a part of the entire project. This will also foster teamwork and enable the employees to support each other through the process. Over time, the team builds more trust and can work together seamlessly, while giving each other the time and space to be creative and open to new ideas. Barbara Fredrickson at the University of North Carolina has found that emotions like trust, curiosity, confidence and inspiration broaden the mind and help such teams build psychological, social and physical resources. The employees become more open-minded, resilient, motivated and persistent, thus creating a psychologically safe environment.
It's apparent that organizations that do not create a culture of innovation and creativity or encourage their employees to take risks are losing out on opportunities. If you create a sense of psychological safety in your own team, you can expect to see higher levels of engagement, increased motivation, more learning and development opportunities and better performance.
To foster productivity in the workplace, companies must first remove any barriers to innovation and give their employees time and freedom to be creative. Secondly, they must encourage their employees to be innovative with their approaches to different tasks. Finally, they must find more ways to boost productivity and engagement at the workplace, enhancing their retention rate and promoting employee well-being. At 1to1 help, we focus on building psychologically safe organizations through employee emotional strength and wellness. Our evidence-based knowledge, skill system and robust supervision have transformed the lives of more than 8000 employees and gained the trust of over 800 corporates.