How to Manage Creative Employees in the Workplace

2 min read
Jan 9, 2017

creatives in the workplace

Many of today’s businesses rely on the creatives they employ to make it to the next level. These are the rock star designers, copywriters, marketers, and even engineers that seem to have a knack for coming up with game-changing ideas on a regular basis — and delivering on them beyond expectations.

Tapping into these skills, however, may require a different kind of managerial approach than the one you use to guide your non-creative workers. Creatives, after all, are artists by design — which means many of them may not respond to the same kind of management that works to motivate, say, an accountant in the finance department.

What does a successful managerial style for creatives look like? Here are a few ideas that should make your more free-thinking and artistic employees feel right at home:


01. Build a creative work space

The environment we work in can play a huge role in our productivity and creative output. For example, the designer who’s cranking away in a small and windowless gray room probably won’t be too inspired to create something truly transformative.

Managing creatives the right way starts with building a work space that’s conducive to creativity. Design an office that has bright colors, lots of open space, and natural light, and you’re off to a great start.


02. Encourage their creativity

Your creatives have their own job responsibilities. But if you really want to have them produce at their full potential, you need to let them do their thing — so long as they get their work done.

Encourage your creatives to continuously brainstorm new ideas. Let them pursue pet projects of their own, at least from time to time, to keep them engaged with their work. You never know when one of your creatives will come up with an idea that revolutionizes your organization.

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03. Be flexible

Creatives aren’t exactly known for following the rules exactly as they’re written. When you’re managing a group of creative professionals, accommodate their quirks and eccentricities and let them do their own thing — within reason, of course.

For example, maybe your star graphic designer is inspired to do their best work at 3 in the morning. Don’t force your creatives to come to the office between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. every single day if they prefer to work at random times and from random places. Consider letting them build flexible schedules and work remotely.


04. Recognize their strongest efforts

While many artists claim they do what they do without caring about how their critics will respond to their work, it never hurts to receive a compliment. When your creatives do phenomenal work, congratulate them on their efforts and thank them for doing a great job. That’s the ticket to increased engagement and productivity.


05. Invest in their development

Many creatives are constantly on the lookout for new ideas and new techniques they can bring to the table. To that end, sending your creative professionals to conferences, workshops, and seminars can go a long way toward helping them become even stronger contributors. According to our Engagement Report, only 25% of employees believe their organizations offer adequate professional development opportunities. Support your creatives’ growth, and they’ll support you right back.



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