Sometimes it is difficult to retain good, creative people. They don't look or act like other types of workers, and they don't have the same set of priorities. To truly get the most out of your creative employees and retain them long-term, here are the top five things you can do to keep them happy.
1. Keep the job creative. In many cases, a person is brought in to win a client or create a campaign. Then the job turns into a production role. Or the boss overrides all of their ideas. Creative people like to be challenged. They need to be asked, "What do you think?" If you see boredom setting in, challenge them. Better yet, check-in with them regularly and ask if they feel creatively tested and inspired.
2. Provide the proper equipment. Creative people use Macs. Yes, they are more expensive and the software appears to be the same on a PC, but Macs are the tools of the trade. To make a creative work on a PC only creates frustration and the desire to look for the next job with the proper equipment. And if you have Macs, keep them updated as much as you can. When your entire career output depends upon a computer, not having the proper hardware and software can be very difficult.
3. Creative people like to work in a creative environment. If you have beige cubes, more than likely they have decorated their office to reflect more color and creativity. Try and overcome your desire to make all the cubes look unified. Creative people need visual stimulation.
4. Feedback is essential for a creative person. Unlike adding numbers properly in an accounting role, creative work is subjective. Designers and writers are attempting to capture and translate messages in ways that are compelling and unique. They need feedback to know if they're doing it effectively. When you provide feedback, remember that creatives tend to take their ideas personally. Saying that you hate their work can sting as much as saying that you hate their dog. Learn to provide constructive, rather that destructive feedback. "It's nice but I wanted something more stark and graphic," is better than, "It's terrible. What on earth were you thinking?"
5. Pay them what they are worth. A person on your team who understands your client and can translate his or her ideas is incredibly valuable. Starting from scratch with a new person will only lead to more headaches for you. If a problem could have been resolved with just a few more dollars a day it would be foolish not to do so. If it's not possible to pay them more now, give them an idea of your promotion and raise schedule to set expectations.
This article may be reprinted when the copyright and author bio are included. ©2011 Catherine Lang-Cline, Portfolio Creative, LLC.
About the Author
Catherine Lang-Cline is co-founder and owner of Portfolio Creative, a workforce innovation firm that was named a fastest growing company in by Inc. magazine in 2009 and 2010. Portfolio Creative helps companies streamline and innovate their creative workforce to save time, energy and money. http://www.portfolioiscreative.com.