Some people seem like they were born with a high level of creativity. Perhaps it’s in the way they speak about their craft, their ability to quickly offer a solution to a problem, or the way they make their job look so easy. While creativity can’t necessarily be taught, employers can still nurture and help grow an employee’s ability to fulfill their role and tap into creativity they didn’t even know they had. Doing so is key to filling the creative skills gap
Hire Adjacent Skill Sets
Of course, there are few creative geniuses and even fewer who are looking for work. Many Creative Directors or Art Directors looking to hire are often disappointed at the crop of candidates they receive. In a high-demand field, many creatives are passive candidates, employed elsewhere. But that doesn’t help a director who has deadlines to meet and open roles to fill.
To avoid the risks of a long hiring process, a creative hiring manager must open up job descriptions to attract a larger talent pool with similar skills in adjacent roles. For example, when it’s hard to find a creative Copy Editor, loosen the role requirements to include experienced Copy Writers as well, since a great Copy Writer can be turned into an excellent employee for your editing position. To turn a solid general candidate into a more creative one appropriate for your open role, it’s necessary to focus on training, tools, and the workplace environment.
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Training Does Help Creativity
It turns out that most people actually do possess a great deal of creativity, especially if they’re already working in the marketing and advertising industry. However, many believe they lack imagination because throughout school and previous roles they’ve been told exactly how to do each task. They were rarely forced to think up new solutions to problems, which is the key to creativity.
Management can help these individuals dig a little deeper to discover their creativity. Consider that Fortune 100 company Georgia-Pacific had their entire marketing department go through storytelling training, which quickly revolutionized their messaging. There’s a real value to encouraging outside-the-box thinking and implementing creative exercises will help employees flex their creative muscles.
Demystify Creative Processes
What a lot of people refer to as creativity is really just a misunderstood process for completing a task. The creative process isn’t magic. It’s a set of real, documentable actions someone took to achieve something, and it can be replicated. When training a new employee, ask them to study how successful people accomplished similar tasks. Reading about the greatest marketing campaigns of all-time can provide insight to a number of roles. Similarly, that new employee can learn a tremendous amount from coworkers in similar roles or from the person who last had their position. Once the creative process is put into words, it will become much easier to understand and use as a guide (not as a strict set of rules) for future work.
Provide the Necessary Tools
People are much more similar than they are different. Some see a neighbor build a shed and are impressed, thinking it’s a skill they’d never be able to master. But when given the best chain saws, tape measurers, and support, that person will often be surprised to find they could, in fact, build a shed. In the creative field, minds are undoubtedly the most important tool, but they aren’t the only tool. Graphic designers need the best computers with updated Adobe products, Illustrators need ultra-responsive and high-resolution tablets, and Content Writers need subscriptions to major literary publications. Providing the right tools for the job is essential to a new employee’s success.
Foster a Creative Environment
We are products of our environment. The longer one works in the creative industry, the more they will naturally pick up the nuances that truly define creativity and novel thinking. Employers should provide an environment that is conducive to this, where creativity can thrive. That’s why the most successful ad agencies include pool tables, coloring books, and video games in their offices. Instead of using their break time to zone out in a bland cafeteria or sit in their cars talking on the phone, the employees have access to creative and fun outlets that can keep creativity flowing and can spark new ideas.
Encouraging breaks is actually a scientifically proven way to increase creativity in employees. A study of two groups tasked with generating ideas found that the group given breaks actually came up with more ideas than the group that was continually focused on idea generation. Different parts of our brains are stimulated during breaks, which explains why many of history’s famous “eureka” moments occurred when the inventor, general, or politician wasn’t even focused on the problem.
How Will You Fill the Creative Skills Gap?
Widening requirements for talent is a surefire way to locate more top-tier candidates who can become exactly what you need in an employee. Further, taking steps like training, providing the right tools, and fostering a creative environment will also improve employer branding and capture the interest of passive creative candidates who are employed elsewhere. Focus on these areas, and you can make the creative skills gap a thing of the past.
In need of highly-creative talent quickly? Highmark can help. Tell us about your needs, and download your 2018 Creative Salary Guide for more industry insights.
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