How Managers Can Give Graphic Designers the Freedom They DeserveNatalia Persin
Graphic designers, like other people in creative roles, are often held to a different standard when it comes to workplace guidelines. This is often because managers do not understand that these workers are just as educated and experienced as other professionals in the business.
As a result of this misconception, graphic designers are often subject to being overworked and undervalued by their bosses. They are also expected to produce work at a moment’s notice no matter how much other work they may have.
Want to know how you can give your graphic designers the freedom they deserve in the workplace? Keep reading to find out how.
Why Should Graphic Designers Have More Freedom in the workplace?
Most employees desire to feel like they belong wherever it is they decide to work when they complete college. Whether they choose to work from home, for an agency, or a small business, creating a sense of belonging is important.
Like other employees, management should give graphic designers more freedom to establish who they are and what they can do for the company. This will not only show them that they are important to management, but it will create a precedent amongst other creative employees.
Having freedom does not mean that they can come and go as they please, instead this type of freedom refers to their role in the business. When you hire a graphic designer, like in other positions, you should trust that they know what they should and should not be doing.
Another thing to keep in mind is that managers tend to overlook the fact that graphic designers are well-trained individuals. These are people who went to college and likely spent some time in the trenches of design to establish themselves.
Not to mention those managers who are convinced that anyone and everyone is a graphic designer since the job is super easy. It is important to understand that these creatives are not just fiddling with their computers but are using technology to create something unique.
Benefits of Giving Graphic Designers More Freedom
Most people, graphic designers included, like the feeling of being appreciated and rewarded for their hard work. It is a well-known fact that they will choose to stay with a company long-term if they are given the creative freedom that is needed to do the job.
Here are a few benefits of giving designers more freedom in the workplace:
- More productivity
- Positive attitudes
- Increased morale company-wide
- Less stress for those involved
- Decrease in the turnover rate
- Fewer people taking sick leave
While this is not an exhaustive list, it is a decent starting point for some of the many benefits that are given to employees on the design team.
How Can You Give Graphic Designers the Freedom They Deserve?
Graphic designers often have a choice when it comes to where and when they work. This is because while many choose to establish their agency by working from home, others choose the corporate world.
Giving your designers the freedom they deserve means that they will feel more comfortable knowing what their boundaries are. This often happens as a result of hiring them and then letting them know that they are the experts when it comes to design.
It is often true that some corporations who hire graphic designers often take advantage of these boundaries and do not mind crossing them. Giving them the value within the company can go a long way to the type of work you will get in return.
Are you wondering how you can give your graphic designers the freedom they deserve? Keep reading below to find out.
- Avoid Micromanaging
Micromanaging is a tactic that is often adopted by managers who typically have trust issues and are convinced that no one can do the job as well as they can. This often results in the manager looking over their shoulder while they do their work.
Graphic designers are often subject to this type of behavior from managers, not because they think they can necessarily do better, but because they are bent on getting them to do it quickly.
If you want to give your graphic designers freedom to do the job they were hired to do, which makes your company brand the best it can be, then back off of the micromanagement. This will show them that you trust in their abilities and will benefit from their expertise.
- Clearly Define Your Goals
If you truly want a graphic designer to have the freedom to create, which is what they are great at, then you need to start with a goal. Why did you choose to hire a designer in the first place?
When you clearly define your goals, then you and the rest of your design team can go forth and do the work they were trained to do. You will need to loosen up and allow them to meet or exceed expectations before you step in.
Keep in mind that while graphic designers are creative in many ways, it is difficult to do anything if they are unaware of what is expected of them. Once goals are established, the designer can work most effectively because they can then move forward with their creative minds.
- Pay What They Are worth
Many managers are not quite sure what the job of a graphic designer is much less what they should be paid. This is why designers in the corporate world are often overworked and underpaid so often.
You should keep in mind that these individuals are well-educated in their chosen field and went through as many years of college as you most likely did. If you want your design team to feel valued, take the time to figure out what you should be paying them, and then do it.
- Listen, Listen, Listen!
Like most people in and out of the workplace, there is nothing more important than being heard by management. Whether it has to do with the little things around the office or the bigger issues, managers need to take the time to listen.
When managers listen to their employees and especially their graphic designers and other creatives, they can accomplish so much more. It is a proven fact that most people will tell you exactly what they need to get their work done if you take the time to hear them.
- Create a Teamwork Environment
Many companies tout the fact that they are a team-friendly company that is focused on the greater good. While this sounds phenomenal, the truth is that most who say they are all about teams are not when it comes down to it.
If you want to give your graphic designers the freedom they deserve, then you should keep in mind that they are also part of the greater team. When they feel included and supported, they are more likely to perform better for the company.
- Be Willing to Change
Quite a few companies, especially those who have been in business for a while tend to get stuck in a rut of doing the same thing over and over again. This is because they were taught by the managers who came before them and also did things a certain way.
Giving your graphic designers the freedom they deserve means that you are likely going to have to change some of your ways. As a manager, you should understand the importance of being flexible and extend it to other people.
- Know Their Strengths
Like other employees, you as the manager should take the time to get to know your graphic designers and what their strengths and weaknesses are. This is because knowing this will help you give them the support they need.
This knowledge could make the difference between knowing you can add one more thing to their to-do list or waiting until they are freed up some. When you play to their strengths, you will often reap the benefits for the company.
- Develop Processes that Work
When you decide to employ a group of people for a design team, or any other creative position, you should have set processes that are designed to cut out any confusion along the way. It may even be beneficial to ask your senior graphic designer to spearhead the job.
Having a set of steps and processes when it comes to certain jobs can help reduce any confusion for those who are just starting. As another byproduct of developing these processes, it makes a clear line within the company as to who is to do what jobs.
- Give Them Creative Control
Are you a manager who needs to have their hands in every aspect of the business even if you have the perfect people in the right positions? If so, this method may be harder for you to accomplish.
Once you have met with your graphic designer about the scope of the work, you will need to step back and let them soar. Most managers who have had success have taken the creative reins off and gently placed them in the hands of the designers.
Keep in mind that for creatives such as graphic designers, there are not many opportunities for advancement with a firm. This is because most designers do just that, design.
Creating a career map can be a daunting task since most designers do not have somewhere to promote. They need to establish some direction for themselves based on what they want to do with the rest of their career.
- Trust Them!
Above all else, managers need to trust the employees to do the job they are hired to accomplish. This is often where the problems come in, with managers who think they are the only ones to get anything done.
Trust is difficult to give, especially for those who are obsessed with control. Despite this, managers need to trust their graphic designers to do their jobs and do them promptly.
How Can You Prevent Turnover in the Graphic Design Department?
While turnover is something that can happen in any and every industry, it is important to understand that it can happen much more often when graphic designers are not appreciated. In addition, those who are not given the freedom they deserve, tend to leave and go somewhere they may be more appreciated.
So, as a manager, it is relatively impossible to eliminate all potential cases of turnover since they do not all happen for the same reason. For those cases where turnover was caused by the unfair treatment of the manager, some things will have to change.
Another way to prevent turnover that is closely related to the freedom you may want to establish with your graphic designers is the idea of flexible hours. If they can complete the work in a shorter period, they may want to take advantage of some personal time off from time to time.
As the manager, you can further allow your graphic designers to decide how many hours they should be working in the office. This could mean that they are doing part of the work from home and the other part at the office as needed.
Are You Ready to Give Your Graphic Designers the Freedom they Deserve?
If your business has grown to the point where you need a graphic designer and even a design team, there are certain things to keep in mind. While you begin your search, you need to take into consideration what they would contribute to your company.
One of the most important things you can do when you are developing your design team is to establish what the designer and others envision with the role. When you take the time to get to know your graphic designers, you can establish a set of norms to live by.
Many of the norms that should be established are what types of benefits to offer them for the role they play. Taking the time to read this next article on developing Employee Benefits for your creative employees will give you some guidance.