Molding A Culture For Millennials

In a Deloitte survey published last month, almost 5000 Millennials across 18 different countries were asked various questions regarding their gen-y-imageviews on innovation.  According to the survey, 78% of the Millennials surveyed believe innovation is essential to business growth.  However:

  • 52% believe their workplace environment helps them innovate.
  • 26% believe their organization’s leadership encourages innovation and idea sharing regardless of organizational hierarchy.

That’s a huge gap in the number of Millennials who feel innovation is critical, yet who also feel their leadership teams aren’t fostering cultures of innovation.

Where does your company leadership stand on innovation?  Do you believe that innovation comes only from the top?  Should new ideas be shared and implemented based on seniority, or do employees on the frontlines have opportunities to innovate?

A lot of this deals with change.   Well-established companies may be struggling with an old way of thinking that leadership is where all of the good ideas are generated.  53% of respondents perceived that newer businesses were better able to innovate compared to older businesses.

In reality, innovation should come from all levels.  Innovation shouldn’t be thought of as flowing in a pyramid starting at the top.  Instead, think of innovation spreading across a level playing field in an organization.

innovationFrontline employees who work directly with customers are often the ones who see areas for change.  They can spot problems with processes and even products and services.  They’re the ones who hear the most feedback from customers.    That makes them a great source of new ideas.

How do you know if your employees feel they can innovate?  Can they come to you and/or other company leadership and bring up new ideas for products, processes, and solutions?  Do you have any established process for those ideas to be shared?  Are you open to listening to those ideas, or are they quickly dismissed regardless of how innovative they may be?

There are various other studies/surveys that have shown Millennials are less “loyal” in staying with a single employer.  In other words, if they aren’t getting what they perceive is essential to their work environment, they are more likely to find employment elsewhere compared to the other generations.

In seeing how important Millennials feel innovation is, this could also lead to a possible conclusion that businesses who don’t foster a culture of innovation will have a hard time retaining talent from this generation.

There are some other key data points in the Millennial Innovation survey:

  • 66% of respondents agreed that innovative organizations will be better positioned to attract talent.
  • Innovation was considered a top reason for the purpose of business.
  • Employee satisfaction and retention was ranked as the #1 non-financial  measurement for business success (the interesting part about this is that this category could be further broken down by the Employee Work Passion survey published by The Ken Blanchard Companies on what factors affect employee satisfaction).

No matter where you are in your organization’s hierarchy, what are you doing to foster innovation?

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  • Comments (2)
    • wrightaaronm
    • March 9th, 2013

    If you really want to innovate, just do it. Go create something and build a business around it. That would fix many of the problems faced by millenials, such as poor job prospects and dreadful economic outlook.

    Aaron Wright
    http://startertrep.com/2013/03/10/millenials-why-dont-you-have-a-business/

    • Thank you for the comment, Aaron! It’s true that a large share of Millennials have more of an entrepreneurial spirit. However, even for those who will not own their own business, their employers should realize that it is in their own benefit to create a culture of innovation.

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