According to a new study by management experts at Rice, Tulane University, the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and National Taiwan Normal University, rewards can enhance workers’ creativity .
Rather than discovering one type of reward that is particularly effective in promoting creativity, what seems more effective is giving employees the opportunity to choose from several types of rewards .
Choosing the reward
Study workers received a variety of options: a financial reward for the individual employee or their team, a reward at their own discretion, such as having priority to select days off, or a donation the company made to a charity selected by the employee. .
Those choices had positive and significant effects on the number of creative ideas that employees generated and the level of creativity of those ideas .
Studies also found that rewards meant to help others, such as making a donation to a charity, could be especially powerful . But for less creative employees, alternative rewards that benefit those in need may actually reduce creativity and should be avoided.
The researchers also found that the choice of rewards fostered creativity by increasing employees’ faith in their ability to be creative . Alternative rewards also had a powerful impact on boosting the creativity of employees who previously scored highly on an assessment of creative personality traits.