Being Creative – Measuring Creativity

The way HR handles its Performance Management Process determines a lot about the organization and the Performance culture within. From the employees’ perspective there is lot of expectations that rests around this process as this process is directly linked to the money & growth.

There are many lopsided impressions about this process and of the biggest challenges which employees have shared from the creative field. Employees have often complained that they have got raw deal as when their job had elements which could not be measured as they have element of creativity / innovation.

At a glance when one observes across the basic elements of the appraisal process, it is almost the same in organizations even though Terminologies may differ. What is challenging to understand that the same methodology / process is observed to assess employees whose job can be easily measured vis-à-vis who are in creative field.

Some of the challenges faced in measuring creativity / innovation actually begin from the stage 1 which is goal setting. The Top Five Challenges in measuring creativity & innovation can be summed up as :
Goal Setting : It is interesting to note that many a times goal setting process itself is not formalized and objective. It is generally restricted to a discussion and doesn’t translate to specific KRA and Success Metrics for the same. It is a myth that creativity cannot be measured. Creativity & Innovation can be translated into Quantified Goals of Timelines, Budgets, Satisfaction etc. the only care to be taken is to build a degree of flexibility as many of the goals are ‘First Time’ & hence no baseline data would be available for reference

Inability to Focus on Both Results & Enablers
Traditional focus of Appraisals is to measure results in form of ‘What Has been Achieved’ whereas in here the focus is to shift also on ‘Who & How it got enabled’, the famous reference being in football league it is not who scored the goal gets rewarded but also the player who forwarded that pass gets rewarded.

Inability to Appreciate Failure & Efforts
Every creative assignment / innovation doesn’t see the light at the end of the day, this doesn’t mean that the employee has not put sincere efforts in making it happen. The measurement system should build a buffer to measure efforts and more importantly should encourage employees owning up their failures without having to worry

Time Driven Instead of being Milestone Driven
Traditionally Appraisals are done on Time frequency like Monthly, Quarterly, Yearly etc. This doesn’t suit in here as many a times employees don’t have anything tangible to share because their work is still in progress. We should encourage Milestone reviews and consider that feedback for the review period.

Importance for Self Expression
Dialogue is key for any appraisal but in a creative field it becomes utmost critical as many variables which were not accounted for come into existence naturally. These variables and other elements can be sorted out only through discussions and just metrics or written statements.

Fundamentally, performance management process is the symbol of fairness and objectivity in the organization irrespective of nature of the work of the employees. We should ensure that the process not only establishes employee trust towards the system, but it also helps in driving a performance culture of creativity & innovation.

Original Blog by-
Shilpi Sahay
Principal Strategist

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