How do you motivate employees to be more creative? The truth is that even the unlikeliest of employees may make valuable contributions if you make participation in company brainstorming sessions mandatory. It's up to the entrepreneur to gently but firmly remind reluctant staff members that everyone has a stake in the company's success.
Brainstorming is often richer when diverse perspectives are brought together. Moreover, brainstorming sessions can also be used to promote team building and a greater pride in company culture. Putting together employees from different departments promotes a variety of ideas and perspectives, and ties everyone to the exercise's success.
Assuming you structure a brainstorming session as a contest (complete with a prize), make sure establish some guidelines to keep contestants on track. Just keep the rules short and simple to avoid stifling employee creativity. And remember: This is supposed to be fun!
To get more input from employees, hold brainstorming sessions and idea-generation contests during your company's off-season. That way, employees won't feel as if they're being pulled away from meeting their key deadlines, and your management team will not begrudge your brainstorming session for lost productivity. Holding the event on-site is also recommended.
At the culmination of a company brainstorming session, you are bound to have a number of ideas, some good and some bad. Feedback is essential in order to build a culture of employee creativity that lasts beyond this one meeting. Explain why each idea works or does not work, while emphasizing the positive attributes of each one.
Let contestants vote for their favorite submissions, and give winners a small prize -- and lots of recognition. Be sure to establish a system for vetting ideas thoroughly after your company brainstorming session is over. Ideally, you'll pursue at least one of the initiatives your employees' came up with, to better illustrate how employee creativity can translate into bottom-line results for the business.