Q: How does creativity influence and shape communication in a workplace?

 

A: Creativity, or lack thereof, influences every part of a workplace, including communication. When we think of communication in the workplace, most of us think of it in traditional terms: e-mails, posters, employee meetings and town hall forums. While all of those things are forms of communication, we should also think of communication in a much broader sense, which is what happens when creativity influences and shapes communication.

How is the workplace designed and configured? That is a form of communication.

What kind of dress code and working from home policies are there? That is a form of communication. 

What type of benefits does the organization offer? That is a form of communication.

At its essence, creativity is about seeing things differently and thinking differently. To the extent that you apply that to communications you will likely have a workplace with many different ways of communicating. If you see your office environment as a vehicle of communication to your employees and prospective employees, you are more likely to think differently about its design. If you think about communication as a dialogue vs. one-way directives, you are likely to approach it differently. If you look at providing information in a memorable form such as storytelling, as opposed to just facts and figures, you’re likely to produce more creative communications.

When you look at communication as more personal, creativity can impact the tone and style of those things. For example, at my agency we have a weekly get-together called the “wine down,” where employees gather and enjoy a beverage of choice and people have an opportunity to give updates on news or projects they are working on. It is a creative way to keep people informed about what is going on in the agency, it brings a wide variety of people from different departments together who otherwise might not connect, and it emphasizes in-person contact in a world driven by technology.

When we see and think differently, it touches everything we do, including communications.

 

Glenn Karwoski is a member of the adjunct faculty at the University of St. Thomas Opus College of Business.