The work environment is one of the most influential factors in how happy employees feel and how successful they are. Employees who are happy in their workplace are more likely to stay on and help the company succeed. Moreover, employees who feel more connected to their company are more likely to be excited to come to work and more likely to be more innovative. By taking small steps to cultivate an innovative workplace, you can help your employees be happier and more productive. Below, Amiel Gross who serves as Head of Legal for the Center for Breakthrough Medicines, shares with you some easy-to-implement ideas that can help creativity and passion flow within your organization.


Create an Incubation Hub

Creating an incubation hub is one of the most important things you can do to cultivate an innovative workplace. Start with the basics. What is your vision for the future? What do you want your employees to know and be able to do in the next three years? What are the skills you’d like them to have? Once you have a vision in place, you can then develop programs to help employees incubate their skills and abilities.  The incubation hub can be a physical space, or you can use any online platform, like Slack, to create a hub within your team. A physical hub can be a library, coffee shop, or even a conference room inside the office. The purpose of an incubation hub is to help employees incubate their ideas by creating a safe space to test new ideas, explore new skills, and collaborate with others, explains Amiel Gross.


Create a Friday Brainstorming Meetup

Brainstorming meetings, also known as Friday brainstorming, have been around for decades. In this meeting, employees meet in a group to talk about whatever comes to their minds. The topics can be anything the group wants, but one important rule is that no one brings a commercial idea, product, or service to be pitched.  The meeting is a way to help employees get to know each other and to stop being so focused on their day-to-day jobs. It’s a chance to take a break from the week, to relax and be creative, without the pressure of having to come up with a good idea. Brainstorming meetings can be held in a coffee shop, conference room, or even your office, if you have the space.

Help Employees Learn and Grow

One of the best ways to cultivate an innovative workplace is to help your employees learn new skills and grow. This can be as simple as offering a mentorship program to help employees learn new skills from a more seasoned professional. Or it can be as complex as helping employees teach new skills to their colleagues through training.  Learning programs can be either formal or informal. A formal program is a course that you offer. On the other hand, an informal program is a skill you’re trying to teach your employees, but they learn by practicing or sharing knowledge with each other.  Programs can be offered once a month or once a week. It all depends on how much time you can dedicate to helping employees learn new skills. Some programs might be offered throughout the year, while others might only be offered during certain times.


Encourage Employee Tutoring

Another way to help employees learn and grow is to offer formal or informal peer coaching. Coaching programs can be either on-the-job or online.  On-the-job coaching means that you hire coaches who are also employees. This can be an expense or a benefit. It can also be offered across the company or only in certain locations.  Online coaching is when you have an online platform where employees can meet to coach each other. This could be an internal tool or a platform provided by your company.  The benefits of employee coaching programs include the fact that employees feel more confident with new skills, and they’re more likely to make use of them in their daily job.


Help Employees Recognize and Develop Their Strengths

One of the best ways to cultivate a creative work environment is to help your employees recognize and develop their strengths. This can be done through a strengths assessment, which is a simple questionnaire that helps identify your employees’ strengths and weaknesses, as well as a strengths-based culture survey.  In a strengths-based culture, you ask your employees two questions: What is your top strength? And how could your strengths help your company? The answers to these questions help you identify what your employees’ top strengths are, which can help you cultivate an innovative work environment.  A strengths-based culture can also help you with helping employees recognize and develop their strengths. You can do this by using recognition programs, which can be stand-alone programs or part of a regular team-building event.


Don’t Be Afraid to Make the First Move

While there are many great things about cultivating an innovative workplace, one of the most important things you can do is to make the first move.  Many organizations have the perception that it’s not possible to change the work environment to be more creative because the culture is stuck. However, that’s not true, adds lawyer Amiel Gross. If you’re not sure where to start, try the following: Talk to your employees and find out what they like about their work environment. What do they want to see changed? Once you identify the problems, you can start to think of ways to address them.  You can also take a strengths-based approach to changing your culture. Start with the top strengths of your organization and then identify ways to cultivate those strengths. What better way to start than by trying something new?


While there are many challenges to cultivating an innovative work environment, they are certainly worth it. The right strategies and the right approach can help you transform the culture of your company. You just need to make the effort and commit to change.

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