In today’s world of information, innovation and ideas, brainpower is undoubtedly the most valuable asset most corporations own. Like financial or physical assets, which are safeguarded, insured and audited, the resource of talented human beings is an asset that needs to be equally valued.

Paychecks are obviously the most basic of staff motivators. But while the financial rewards – money, benefits, pensions and the like – will typically keep employees loyal, they aren’t necessarily the best way to keep them engaged. What will keep them engaged is the opportunity to creatively shape their jobs and workplaces, through finding and solving new problems and implementing new solutions.

Engaging employees in creative problem solving can directly increase revenues and cut costs by developing new corporate products and methods. Innovation starts with identifying new problems to solve, so a culture of creativity and adaptability is crucial in today’s rapidly-changing economic climate.

But the human resource benefits of creative engagement are as important as the direct economic benefits. Research has demonstrated that human beings find exploration, creative activity and the opportunity to satisfy their curiosity to be intrinsically motivating. As creative engagement provides employees with more rewarding work, it also has been shown to increase motivation and commitment.

Encouraged to engage in finding and solving problems, employees become motivated and desire even more participation in not only creative activity, but also their routine, efficiency-driven work. They work harder to perfect their own workplace practices, and gain self-esteem through their accomplishments. Creative activity stimulates teamwork, as people help each other to solve problems. Happier and more motivated employees typically have lower absenteeism and job turnover rates.

Invest in training employees at all levels in creative problem solving, and then empower them to use those creative skills within their own jobs. Along with a more innovative workplace, the investment will build an engaged workforce that happily brings its maximum brainpower to the job every day.