Problem solving is perhaps one of the most sought-after traits during the employment interview process, but try as we might as recruiters and hiring managers, we’ve always struggled to develop interview questions that truly capture someone’s problem solving ability. In turn, we may hire someone who thinks they’re a problem solver but struggles to think in a non-linear way, impacting their ability to grow in the company.

When it comes down to it, problem solving is all about creativity and anyone can learn to expand their creativity when they’re exposed to the kind of creativity-cultivating setting improv provides. Let’s explore how the creative power of improv can help your team better solve real-world workplace problems.

  1. Enhance Emotional Intelligence

In an improv setting, participants explore how adapting their words and body language can change the tone of both the verbal and non-verbal elements of conversations. How many workplace misunderstandings originate because we fail to pick up on emotional cues (e.g., anger, fear, discomfort) and how many more are resolved when those around us understand how to adapt to non-verbal language?

Problem-solving’s most valuable role in the workplace is in how it helps us work together.

  1. Learn to Connect Authentically

When your team members are collaborating, does everyone feel comfortable sharing their ideas? Or do many of the most creative and viable ideas never enter the room? Improv can help individuals learn to connect with their peers, direct reports and leadership more authentically to let creative problem-solving shine through.

This works on both sides of the room as those hearing the idea become more aware of initial judgments so that can more objectively consider the idea. The one sharing the idea builds rapport and communicates more purposefully.

  1. Navigate Workplace Conflict

Recent social movements have brought harassment and toxic work environments back to the forefront of our national consciousness. Whatever the racial, gender or other mix you have on a team, toxicity can and does exist in many workplace settings.

We want employees to stand up for what’s right, but we also want to create a culture that’s open to other opinions, personalities and ideas. The creativity-boosting power of improv helps management and employees more effectively navigate the complexities of the modern workplace.

  1. Build Empathy for Customers

Empathic employees deliver the best customer care regardless of whether they’re customer-facing employees or not. They can intuitively understand what customers want and when given the opportunity, they know the questions to ask to help customers, even those who are unhappy. It takes first understanding and then creativity to solve customer problems and deliver the best customer experience.

The fundamental principle of improv is that we let others be heard and move forward in a supportive way. Whether your employees are working with customers or their co-workers, this improv skill translates to every interaction in every workplace.

How Improv Improves Problem-Solving Skills

Improv introduces participants to a safe environment where it’s okay to laugh, make mistakes, and act in unusual ways. Within in the laid-back environment, group facilitators help participants explore various problem-solving skills like connecting with others, thinking non-linearly to find solutions, resolving differences, thinking on your feet and more. If you’d like to see your employees flourish as creative problem-solvers, explore the power of improv.


Empathic Workplace offers an applied improv approach to team building, communication, creativity and learning emotional intelligence for executives, managers and employees.

A few example modules include:

  • Magic Words: Communication and “Yes, And”
  • On the Spot: Public Speaking and Performance Anxiety/Stage Fright
  • Heal Thyself: Humor and Self Care
  • Let Go: Stress Reduction Through Improv
  • Us is More: Group Mind and Team-Building
  • Feelin’ It: Emotional Intelligence and Empathy
  • and many more . . .