First Business

January 03, 2012

HR: Motivating employees - colleagues and customers can inspire creativity

Colleagues and Customers Can Inspire Creativity

From financial bonuses to extra time off, supervisors are always looking for ways to motivate employees to be more creative and share ideas with colleagues. Psychologist and business professor Adam Grant suggests an outside-the-box alternative: Find ways for your employees to grab face time with their customers and their colleagues in other departments.

An organizational psychologist and professor of management at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, Grant has done several studies aimed at figuring out what motivates employees to innovate and share ideas. His findings indicate that when workers meet and talk with customers and colleagues and subsequently realize that what they do actually benefits real people it serves as a strong catalyst for creative thinking.

Ironically, the isolation of workers from end users is largely efficiency driven, says Grant. Organizations generally discourage interaction between workers and end users, assuming it makes people and processes less efficient. In addition, modern technology increasingly minimizes face-to-face communication.

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