By Lauryn Rosinski – Marketing and PR account coordinator 

As summer approaches, I cannot help but think about where I was at this point last year.

I was in the middle of the job search process, which is an incredibly stressful experience for anyone who has gone through it. In order to stand out to potential employers, I asked any professor or professional who would listen to me what employers were looking for and what I should highlight about myself in interviews.

The individuals I spoke to said basically the same things:

“Tell them you are hardworking. Tell them you are a team player. Tell them you show up to work on time with a good attitude and work ethic.”

Now that I have spent some time in the work force, I realize that, yes, successful employees should possess these qualities. However, I also have found that another trait of successful employees is often undervalued or overlooked.

This trait is creativity.

Creativity does not necessarily mean artistic. In fact, Lee Odden (who I had the chance to see present at the YouToo Social Media Conference) defines creativity as “seeing and communicating ideas in ways that are unique, compelling and unexpected.” This quality gives employees differing perspectives than those of their peers.

And these differing perspectives make them assets to all types of organizations – including nonprofits, startups and small businesses, Dot Org Solutions’ typical clientele.

Here’s why nonprofits, startups and small businesses should consider creativity when hiring new employees for their organizations:

  1. Creative employees can come up with innovative ways to solve problems.

Like other organizations and businesses, nonprofits, startups and small businesses face obstacles and challenges every single day. In fact, due to limited resources and competitive landscapes, they may face even more obstacles than corporations and large for-profits.

This is where creative employees can help.

Creative people use their unique perspectives to think outside the box when it comes to solving problems. Oftentimes, this leads to them coming up with solutions that others may not have considered or even thought of. This method of problem-solving can be beneficial to organizations, their management teams and fellow employees.

Overall, nonprofits, startups and small businesses can use creative employees to tackle challenges they face day-to-day – which, in turn, will make their organizations more successful.

  1. Creative employees can help organizations stand out in a competitive landscape.

There are millions of nonprofit organizations, startups and small businesses in the country, many of which have one similar goal – to communicate their messages and missions to their key audiences. For nonprofits, these audiences are volunteers and donors. For small business and startups, these audiences are consumers, funders and potential partners.

Since there are so many organizations striving to reach the same people, how can nonprofits, startups and small businesses set themselves apart from others?

Creative employees can oftentimes provide the answer to this question.

Creative employees are masters of originality. They are constantly coming up with new ideas, many of which can be used to help an organization’s brand stand out. For example, some creative employees may think of fundraising opportunities their organization has never done before. Other creative employees may come up with original messaging that organizations can communicate with target audiences. Maybe some employees will simply think of a unique way to thank their donors and consumers.

Creativity cannot be taught or learned – it is a skill that certain people are born with. This is why nonprofits, startups and small businesses should consider creativity in the hiring process – to find people with such a skill, who will, in turn, help their organization become more visible.

  1. Creative employees contribute to a more influenced work environment.

In today’s work culture, many organizations are setting up their offices in more collaborative and open spaces. This allows employees to think and brainstorm together, which, in turn, generates interesting and concrete results.

These types of work environments are designed with creative employees in mind.

Creative employees do not simply use their strengths when tackling on their own projects. They oftentimes encourage originality among fellow employees. They bounce ideas off of their coworkers and demonstrate how they tackle projects in innovative ways. This, in turn, influences their coworkers and inspires them to look at their own projects and works with more open minds and from different angles.

Creativity leads to inspiration – and creative employees lead to a more inspired work environment.

Overall, creative employees can be beneficial to any nonprofit organization, startup or small business. They can provide a unique perspective when it comes to addressing problems. They can inspire an organization’s internal and external audiences. And they can find what makes an organization tick.

So, if you are in charge of the hiring process for your nonprofit, startup or small business, don’t completely dismiss the person who calls themselves creative. They not only make the world a more interesting place – but they also may make your organization more successful.