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Panpa Bulletin : May 2006
May 2006 PaNPa bULLETIN | 39 RECRUITMENT While all employees are capable of being crea- tive, there are unique points to consider when manag- ing creative workers. Managing creative workers can be challeng- ing at times but is ultimately sat- isfying. In understanding the creative worker, it is important to know that they are typically driven by the work they undertake and their need to express themselves through their work and achieve- ments. This is a foreign concept to many workers outside of the creative sector. In managing the creative, keep in mind their primary job satisfaction needs -- to be chal- lenged above all, have continu- ous training, to know the organ- isation's mission (and believe in it) as well as a need to see results. Creative workers are typically task focused rather than proc- ess orientated. A process they do not have belief in will cause them to lose motivation. The creative worker primarily identifies themselves with their profession rather than their workplace; they are more sensi- tive to the feedback and esteem they receive from their peers than those they receive from man- agement. Most creative workers are emotionally involved in their day to day business and this it to be taken into account when ap- plying any criticism or praise. A stone heavy management style will only cause an avalanche for these employees. Socially, infor- mal networking with colleagues, inside and outside of the com- pany, helps creative workers to determine their personal efforts and their company's competi- tiveness. In summary, the individual effectiveness of creative work- ers is based on results and in- tegrity, perceived reputation, and a network of relationships rather than formal authority, job description, or position in the company's 'chain of command'. So now that we know who the creative worker is and what they want, how do we manage them? According to Carnegie Mellon University social scientist Rich- ard Florida, author of the book "The Rise of the Creative Class" - he calls it "herding squirrels," to orchestrate operating discipline, efficiencies, and routines with- out stifling the creative class. Florida talks of managing crea- tive employees as if they are vol- unteers, harnessing their curios- ity and desire to contribute to a "cause" in which they believe. Microsoft manages creativity by hiring independent thinkers, allowing them to take risks and to fail, and simultaneously in- serting performance milestones and checks and balances along the way. As Florida summarises it, Microsoft is a blend of struc- ture, self-motivation, and peer pressure. Motivation wise, the creative worker is driven primarily by the pride of accomplishment. As they have strong beliefs and per- sonalities, they respond much better to being pulled than being pushed. The secret of motivating creative workers is to firstly start by gaining interest from them in the idea. A creative will need to hear from you how difficult it will be... Non-creatives need to hear how easy and low key it will be. Encourage the creative mind to question and explore. This will reveal avant guard ideas and thoughts leading to a strong identification with the project. As much as possible, provide your employees with an environ- ment that is beneficial to their creativity. Some creative workers perform best when allowed to work on their own, while others need the stimulation that comes from being part of a group. Ob- serve your employees and note when they do their best work. Remember that creative work- ers need time to recharge. An environment of persistent crisis will not assist creative ideas to prosper. Most creative workers are not the best time managers and can find it difficult to prioritise. To combat this issue I would sug- gest any style of team collabora- tion on a project as this would increase awareness of deadlines and result in proactive results. Individual project management can be assisted with a method of complete inclusion, planning and articulate vision. At the same time, creative workers need to spend time working without being micro- managed. This means allowing them the liberty to spend time developing quality and perhaps unconventional ideas without having to continually report on their progress. Be open to new ways of work- ing. As much as possible, crea- tive workers should have the freedom to work on their own terms and on their own sched- ule. Allow them to be account- able. This does not mean there is no responsibility, but the ac- countability is not necessarily calculated in hours bent over a desk. Rather, the accountability is seen in proven results --- that excellent new idea, surprising new design, or anything else they can dream up. Lastly, but most importantly, do not forget to give praise where praise is due. Despite common belief, mind reading is not a reg- ular skill or as highly developed as most managers believe it is within their employees. Crea- tive workers need a pat on the back more than others -- don't let the non-monetary recognition be absent in your appraisals. Ultimately, motivation must come from within each person. Whilst a manager's encourage- ment, knowledge and support will at times motivate and guide their staff, their greatest role in managing is to understand in- dividuals for who they are, and to help them find their own way forward through implementing the best use of their strengths and talents. As a result - success, development, and recognition will all come naturally to the in- dividual. These are the genuine fuels of employee motivation and successful staff manage- ment. Paul Summers is the managing director of VerVa Media recruitment Managing Creative Workers Florida talks of managing creative employees as if they are volunteers, harnessing their curiosity and desire to contribute to a “cause” in which they believe. Managing creative people can be a bit like ‘herding squirrels’ - diffcult but rewarding writes Paul Summers.