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Aligning Culture, Employees & Benefits: 5 Bottom Line Hacks To Powering Creativity In People

To be successful, CEOs need to realize that their greatest asset is their employees, and that their employees are biological human beings. If you want to maximize the creativity of your people, you have to first meet the basic needs of their biological make-up. Although these basic needs may seem counterintuitive, they are the key to unleashing the full creative potential of your workforce.

Create Quiet

Time for reflection, de-stressing and quiet is a very powerful creativity booster. 75 percent of healthcare problems in the U.S. are caused by stress-related and preventable diseases. Employees can’t be expected to unleash their full creative potential when they are stressed and over-worked. Especially when they don’t have the time or guidance to clear their minds.

Joey Reiman, CEO of BrightHouse, believes strongly that quiet places produce creative thoughts: “The five last bastions of thinking are the car, the john, the shower, the church or synagogue, and the gym.”

BrightHouse offers employees 5 “Your Days” so employees can visit conducive and reflective places to distress and think. Unlike other companies who expect a return from reflection days, BrightHouse simply wants employees to enjoy “unstructured cogitation.”

Reiman says the belief behind this company practice is “I think; therefore, I am valuable.”

A great way to experience quiet reflection in your everyday life is through meditation. A good place to start is a 21-Day Meditation Challenge, which is a short, daily-guided meditation to relax and focus the mind. Creativity is sure to flourish when you invest in quiet time. This allows you to clear your  mind and expand beyond routine processes.

Mix-Up The Setting

Companies should all offer “paid paid vacation time.”  The reason? Traveling makes your brain work differently than routine does, inspiring new ideas and booting creativity.

To sum up a study by the Journal of Social Psychology on the creative impacts of traveling: “It’s exactly this “break in routine” that proves so beneficial for creativity. In other words, while individuals stare out the car window as they travel the winding roads of mountains, or sit sipping cocktails beachside, they often have those “aha” moments or creative breakthroughs to problems they’ve been trying to solve for days, months, or even years,” an article says.  

BambooHR, a software provider, gives employees a stipend to use toward their vacation. The  company gives employees $2,000 per year for the cost of plane tickets, lodging and even outside vacation expenses.

“BambooHR strongly believes that taking vacations and getting away from the office from time to time is needed to do great work,” a company spokesman said.

Expanding employee experiences boosts creativity. Whether it’s through paid vacation or immersion with a completely different team of people. 

Utilize Nature

Nature is debatably the most accessible, and one of the most powerful, inducers of creativity.

A study done in 2012 showed that after four days of immersion in nature, the group tested showed a 50 percent improvement in cognitive functions related to creativity and problem solving. Immersing your entire workforce into nature may not be a plausible way to enhance creativity on a regular basis. However, bringing nature to employees, is.

Having live plants in the office is a great and cost-effective way to promote creativity. Sterling Bay Cos., a real estate development firm, has an on-site garden, allowing employees direct interaction with nature as well as promotes physical activity and team-building efforts.

“We have such a sedentary workforce that any type of movement is good,” Stephanie Pronk, senior vice president of  Aon Hewitt says. “Also, when gardening is done in a group setting, you have a social connection with people that’s good for workplace communication and team-building.” Apple recently opened their new campus, Apple Park, with the focus around the open park that’s center of the space. This park allows employees the freedom and convenience to interact with nature whenever they need the space.

Encourage Sleep

Do you know how your people are sleeping? Sleep deprivation costs American companies $63.2 billion a year in lost productivity, according to

Without enough sleep, your brain can never rest and repair. In addition, cognitive brain function – mental processes, memory, judgment, and reasoning – are negatively impacted (including creativity).

While you can’t monitor the bedtime of employees, encouraging education and work schedules that promote healthy sleep habits is among the things you can do to promote a refreshed workforce that is creative and productive.

Make Wellness A Priority

As a leader or company, you need to be cognitively aware that unleashing the full potential and creativity of your people starts with providing for their biological needs.

Part of employee wellness is offering great ‘traditional’ benefits like health and dental insurance. The other part of providing for employee wellness is in education and support for daily life changes.

60 Seconds to Health is a series that provides motivating tips to use and apply immediately. Tips focus on actionable ways to improve overall well-being and be a savvy healthcare consumer.

Employees who are healthier are more likely to show up to work refreshed, creative and producing quality results.

If employees don’t have the time or space to explore their creativity, their ability to be innovative will be stifled. Employees can’t unleash their potential if they’re confined to a box. Is your company cognitively aware and providing for the biological needs of your employees?  Think differently with  

How do you inspire employee creativity? Share your ideas with us, and we’ll include them in our post.

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