January 14, 2012

Millennials: Innovation Necessary for Retention, Growth, and Social Impact

finger touching virtual screenThe emerging generation of Millennial business leaders is out to encourage innovation at their employers, though only 26 percent feel that their current employers encourage innovative practices, says a new survey by Deloitte. In addition, the survey found that 78 percent of future business leaders find innovation essential for business growth. Of the group of 5,000 international Millennials surveyed, 84 percent said business innovators have a positive impact on society and 65 percent agree that their current organizations benefit society in some way.

“Innovation at the institutional level is needed to sufficiently shift an organization’s mindset to allow new ideas to truly emerge and thrive,” Deloitte Global CEO Barry Salzberg said . “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 a driver of business growth but also as a catalyst for solving society’s most pressing problems.”

About two-thirds of Millennials believe that innovation is a key factor in choosing an employer and so is a major consideration for recruitment and retention efforts. However, when asked about the requirements for innovation, Millennials were not as cohesive:

• 39 percent of respondents said incentivizing idea generation and creativity was necessary for driving innovation while only 20 percent said their current organizations do so.

• 34 percent said providing employees with free time for creativity and idea generation is required for innovation but just 17 percent reported a workplace supporting such an idea.

• 32 percent said openness and challenge were needed for innovation while 17 percent reported this from their organization.

• 42 percent say it is important to encourage innovation at all organization levels though 26 percent view their employer as operating this 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,” Salzberg said. “Real opportunity exists for organizations to step up and create the conditions and commitment needed to encourage and foster innovation in their work environments. And there’s a tremendous upside if we get this right: we can better retain talent, remain more competitive into the future, and more positively impact society.”


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Joshua Bjerke, from Savannah, Georgia, focuses on articles involving the labor force, economy, and HR topics including new technology and workplace news. Joshua has a B.A. in Political Science with a Minor in International Studies and is currently pursuing his M.A. in International Security.