Millennials say organizations must encourage innovationNews added by Benefits Pro on January 24, 2013

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By Amanda McGrory-Dixon

Among millennial workers, 78 percent say innovation is necessary for business growth, according to a new survey by Deloitte.

Despite this, only 26 percent of respondents say business leaders are creating environments that spur innovation.

"Innovation at the institutional level is needed to sufficiently shift an organization's mindset to allow new ideas to truly emerge and thrive," says Barry Salzberg, CEO of Deloitte. "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."

Another 84 percent of respondents say business innovations positively impact society, and 65 percent of respondents agree that their companies’ business practices help society. Forty-five percent of respondents say business guides positive innovations. However, only 18 percent of respondents believe the government does so while 17 percent of respondents say academic bodies create positive innovations.

When it comes to retention, two-thirds of respondents report that innovation is a primary decision maker when choosing an employer. Encouragement and rewards is important for idea generation, as cited by 39 percent of respondents, but only 20 percent of respondents say their employers use this tactic. Thirty-four percent of respondents also say offering employees free time for learning and creativity enhances innovation while only 17 percent of respondents say their employers practice this.

Additionally, 32 percent of respondents believe openness and the freedom to challenge creates innovation with 17 percent of respondents noting that this occurs in their organizations, and 42 percent respondents say the importance of encouraging innovative thinking at all organizational is needed, though only 26 percent of respondents say this happens in the workplace.

"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 says. "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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