Why HR practices should be tailored towards creativity

by John Hilton17 Oct 2016
HR would be wise to implement workshops to help staff increase their creative confidence and learn problem solving techniques.

These recommendations come after new research from the University of East Anglia that shows creativity-orientated HR practices influence customer satisfaction.

The study is important because creative performance in frontline service roles have not received much research attention.

Indeed, sales and customer service roles are also usually associated with more scripted behaviour.

Specifically, the research showed that in retail companies, branches that on average were more creative as rated by their managers received higher satisfaction evaluations from their customers.

The researchers also found that branches with more HR practices for creativity had staff who felt they had more control in their work, felt more competent, and felt more connected to people in their team.

These things, in turn, were positively linked to creative performance.

The training could be provided for managers to help enable employee creativity, while rewards for individual and team ideas could also encourage creativity.

"We are living in a constantly changing environment and companies need to adapt to changes in technology and customer needs,” said the lead author Dr Ieva Martinaityte, a lecturer in business and management at UEA's Norwich Business School.

“Customers want a more personal service and we show that a more creative approach is a way to enhance their experience. Delighting the customer will increasingly stem from frontline employees' creative rather than scripted role performance.

"Service Organisations must aim to understand the drivers of creative performance. Our findings suggest that this may be supported by adopting a set of HR practices that are geared towards the environments and skills necessary to motivate creative performance.

“By helping employees to be more confident and enabling them to have control over their own work they will engage in creative efforts."

The study involved frontline employees and their managers employed in 53 branches of two international companies operating in retail banking (31 branches) and cosmetics (22) in Lithuania.

The study is published in the Journal of Management.
 

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