In Box: Gen-Y questions leadership

While Generation Y values innovation in an employer, only 26 percent of those in recent Deloitte survey believe their current organisation’s leaders encourage practices that foster innovation.
Seventy-eight percent of the world’s future business leaders believe innovation is essential for business growth, according to the global Deloitte Millennial Survey released in January. However, as the economic crisis enters its sixth year, just 26 percent of millennials (also called Generation Y) feel that business leaders are doing enough to encourage practices that foster innovation.
“Innovation at the institutional level is needed to sufficiently shift an organisation’s mindset to allow new ideas to truly emerge and thrive,” said Deloitte New Zealand innovation leader Grant Frear.
“While our current business leaders can debate how and where to innovate, it’s clear how much importance our future leaders place on innovation – not just as driver of business growth but also as catalyst for solving society’s most pressing problems.”
Deloitte surveyed close to 5000 millennials from 18 countries. When gauging the perception among future leaders about innovation and its impact on society, 84 percent say business innovations have positive impact on society, and 65 percent feel their own company’s activities benefit society in some way.
The business community is regarded as playing lead role in developing innovations that will benefit society. Almost half of the respondents (45 percent) believe business drives the innovations that most positively impact society, compared to government (18 percent) and academic bodies (17 percent).
Innovation is also an important component of talent recruitment and retention. Two-thirds of the millennials surveyed say innovation is key factor in making an organisation an employer of choice. This is particularly relevant to many companies, attracting the ever-growing number of millennials, who are forecast to make up 75 percent of the world’s workforce by 2025.
However, differences appeared when millennials were asked about the requirements for innovation:
• 39 percent of respondents believe that encouragement and rewards for idea generation and creativity is requirement for innovation to occur, whereas only 20 percent say their current organisation operates in this way.
• 34 percent say providing employees with free time to dedicate to learning and creativity is key to an innovative environment, versus 17 percent who characterise their workplace that way.
• 32 percent consider openness and the freedom to challenge as key to innovation, versus 17 percent who say this is visible in their organisations.
• 42 percent believe in the importance of encouraging innovative thinking at all levels of the organisation, versus 26 percent who describe their places of employment that way.
“A generational shift is taking place in business as baby boomers, many of whom may have been wedded to the ‘old way’ of doing business, begin to step down from their leadership roles to retire,” said Frear.
“Real opportunity exists for organisations to step up and create the conditions and commitment needed to encourage and foster innovation in their work environments. And there’s tremendous upside if we get this right: we can better retain talent, remain more competitive into the future, and more positively impact society,” he concluded.
• For more information and to view the survey results, visit:
www.deloitte.com/nz/millennialsurvey. M

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