Many Generation Y staff find work uninspiring - poll

Gen-Y staff not getting time to innovate

CATHERINE HARRIS AND JAZIAL CROSSLEY
Last updated 08:46 24/01/2013
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CHRIS SKELTON/Fairfax NZ

INCENTIVE TO INNOVATE: Xero developer Craig Hamnett, 26, says creativity in his workplace is important to him.

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Many Generation Y workers do not yet feel they work in environments where new ideas can thrive, a new survey shows.

A survey of 5000 young people by global business consultancy Deloitte showed that nearly 80 per cent of workers in the Gen Y category believe innovation is essential to business growth but only 26 per cent believed their bosses were doing enough to encourage innovation.

Deloitte New Zealand spokesman Grant Frear said the survey showed just how much importance Gen Y workers - those born between the late 1970s and the year 2000 - placed on innovation.

"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. 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."

So far, however, most Gen Y respondents felt their employers had a long way to go.

Product marketing associate Sarah McCann, 26, said creativity was pivotal in her role. Even in a previous customer care position, being creative was important to find "out of the box" solutions to problems.

"I think it helps hold interest. A lot of Generation Y [people] tend to move on to things quickly and get bored too quickly. Because there is so much information out there it is hard for our generation to keep still or keep engaged in what they're doing so I think if you can find a role that caters for that, it makes a huge difference."

Accounting software company Xero's 26-year-old web developer Craig Hamnett said creativity in work was important to him.

"We get a set amount of time every couple of weeks to work on pretty much anything we want. That is basically our time to make things that are either of benefit to the company or something that we want to do for ourselves. It's something you're encouraged to take and is a case of doing something you're interested in specifically. You might have to do a little presentation to your team on things you've been working on in your own time, so you're sharing that knowledge."

Just over a third of the Deloitte respondents believed staff needed more free time dedicated to learning and creativity in order to innovate. However, only 17 per cent said this was the case in their current organisation.

Two-thirds said innovation was a key reason for selecting their employer. Nearly half believed encouragement or rewards for creativity were a requirement for innovation to occur. However, only a fifth of those surveyed said their workplaces operated this way.

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- The Dominion Post

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