How innovation can help you conquer the new generations

A Gallup report shows that US companies lose $350 billion in revenue every year due to employees’ disengagement. In fact, 70 per cent of your employees are probably disengaged. Yet full participation is an emotional commitment that cannot be forced.

With the Millennials and Generation Z joining the workplace, the challenge rises: no longer can we believe that it is enough for a company to provide the work, and that an employee’s motivation will come naturally.

What is more, data shows that employees want to be more innovative at work and want to take more responsibility. This tells us that fostering creative environments and innovation initiatives will also nurture motivation, engagement and, therefore, productivity.

Three perspectives on the value of making companies more inclusive and collaborative

Innovation can be defined as the development of customer value through solutions that meet new, undefined, or existing market needs in unique ways. Solutions may include new or more effective products, processes, services,  technologies, or ideas that are more readily available to markets, governments and society.

The development of a corporate culture where innovation is incentivised and becomes the way of doing business can bring companies several advantages, according to different points of view:

  • From an organisational perspective, managers encourage innovation because of the value it can capture. Innovative employees increase productivity by creating and executing new processes, which in turn may strengthen competitive advantages and provide meaningful differentiation. Innovative organisations are inherently more adaptable to the external environment; this allows them to react faster and more effectively to avoid risk and capture opportunities.
  • From a managerial perspective, innovative employees tend naturally to be more motivated and involved in the organisation. Empowering employees to innovate and improve their work processes provides a sense of autonomy that boosts job satisfaction.
  • From a broader perspective, empowering employees to engage in broader organisation-wide innovation creates a strong sense of teamwork and community and ensures that employees are actively aware of and invest in organisational objectives and strategy.

In this sense, managers who promote an innovative environment can see value through increased employee motivation, creativity, and autonomy; stronger teams; and strategic recommendations from the bottom up.

READ MORE:
How to create a culture of collaborative innovation in younger generations

FROM THE START:
Loyalty is no longer enough to both employers and the workforce

Aylin Olsun, managing partner of ASO Company
Diana Neves de Carvalho, Exago’s CEO

Generation Z and innovation in the workplace

Understanding Gen Z is critical to your company. By 2020, more than 20 per cent of the workforce will be Gen Z, say experts on young people in the workplace. For them, innovation is the way you do business.

Also known as Post-Millennials, the iGeneration, Founders, Plurals, or the Homeland Generation, Generation Z is the demographic cohort after the Millennials. Researchers typically use starting birth years that range from the mid-1990s to early 2000s, yet there is little consensus about ending birth years.

Gen Zers have been born into the crisis period of terrorism, the global recession and climate change. They are predicted to spend their young adult years in a time of economic and social renewal. They are also living in an era of changing household structures, and are the students of today and university graduates, employees and consumers of tomorrow.

Gen Zers are part of a generation that is global, social, visual and technological. They are the most connected, educated and sophisticated generation ever. They are the early adopters, the brand influencers, the social-media drivers, the pop-culture leaders. They comprise nearly 2 billion people globally, and they do not just represent the future: they are creating it.

In general, we can say that:

They are more private: Perhaps it is because they watched their older siblings get in trouble from posting controversial content on social media, but younger teens do not want to be tracked. Apps like Snapchat have seen explosive growth in the last few years.

They are purely entrepreneurial: Like Millennials, these students plan to be pioneers, not merely settlers in a career. Of current high-school students, 72% want to start their own business. They feel like hackers, not slackers.

Statistic: About 72 per cent of current high-schoolers want to own their own businesses, and 76 per cent hope they can turn their hobbies into full-time jobs.’ For the entire duration of the Generation Zers’ lives, the world has constantly asked them for feedback, response, creativity, and opinions. Generation Zers see great value in participating in activities with their whole person. Why would they not expect the same thing from their work?

They are multi-taskers: According to almost every measurement so far, these Gen Z kids will take multi-tasking to a new level. They prefer to be on five screens at once, not two screens like Millennials. Get ready to communicate with them while they look around, not into your eyes.

They are hyper-aware: Generation Z has communicated enough with marketing researchers and academics to reveal that they experience 4D Thinking. Because their minds are streaming in so many directions, they have become post-moderns who are hyper-aware of their surroundings.

Technology-reliant: Gen Zers are addicted to technology. Gen Zers put technology in the same category as air and water. They cannot imagine living without tech innovation and being connected all the time.

Those leading creative Gen Zers must prepare to become hands-on, coaching-style managers who promote innovation while customising and calibrating their direction and feedback.

READ MORE:
How innovation can help you conquer the new generations

FROM THE START:
Loyalty is no longer enough to both employers and the workforce

Aylin Olsun, managing partner of ASO Company
Diana Neves de Carvalho, Exago’s CEO

Millennials and innovation in the workplace

In 2016, Deloitte collected the points of view of nearly 7,700 Millennials representing 29 countries around the globe. All participants had been born after 1982, had obtained a college or university degree, were employed full-time, and predominantly worked in large (100+ employees) private-sector organisations.

We have said it already: Millennials represent an increasing share of the workforce. Moreover, they are no longer leaders of tomorrow; they are, increasingly, leaders of today. As such, understanding their views on how business works and how it should conduct itself goes beyond mere academic interest.

According to Deloitte’s Millennials survey, if given the choice, one in four Millennials would leave his or her current employer to join a new organisation or to do something different. That figure increases to 44 per cent when the time frame is expanded to two years. Why are they so eager to leave their organisations? By 2020, the research adds, 40 per cent of employees will be self-employed or entrepreneurs.

This ‘loyalty challenge’ is driven by a variety of factors. Millennials, in general:

Feel under-utilised and believe they are not being developed as leaders or using their full potential in large-scale organisations. They express little loyalty to their current employers and many are planning near-term exits. Regardless of gender or geography, only 28 per cent of Millennials feel that their current organisations are making ‘full use’ of the skills they currently would like to offer. Millennials believe businesses are not doing enough to bridge the gap to ensure a new generation of business leaders is created.

They think that businesses should be more ethical and society more focused. They share positive views of businesses’ role in society. Millennials feel that most businesses have no ambition beyond profit, and that there are distinct differences between what they believe the purpose of business should be and what they currently perceive it to be.

Personal values have the greatest influence on Millennials’ decision-making. Millennials often put their personal values ahead of organisational goals, and several have shunned assignments (and potential employers) that conflict with their beliefs. Only when their personal values match with the organisation’s values do they say they would like to continue to work there.

The values that support long-term business success are treatment of people, ethics, and customer focus. Deloitte asked Millennials, ‘What are the most important values a business should follow if it is to have long-term success?’ They responded that businesses should put employees first, and that they should have a solid foundation based on trust and integrity. Customer care and high-quality, reliable products also ranked relatively highly in importance. Attention to the environment and social responsibility were also mentioned by a significant number of Millennials. It is noteworthy that few (five per cent) of those answering thought profit-focused values would ensure long-term success.

• Millennials are not anti-profit profiles and recognise money-making as a vital component of business success. They would simply advise against placing too much emphasis on short-term profit maximisation.

The link between Millennials’ loyalty and their feelings about business is not a coincidence. Large-scale organisations are not able to respond sufficiently to Millennials’ preferences. Companies need to be more agile, innovative and inclusive to recover the current deficits in the organisational culture. Thus, those organisations that ‘do the right thing’ may be less likely to lose their Millennial employees. Learning, listening, empowering and sharing are the key actions for them.

Next, we’ll look closer at the generation that follows.

READ MORE:
Generation Z and innovation in the workplace

FROM THE START:
Loyalty is no longer enough to both employers and the workforce

Aylin Olsun, managing partner of ASO Company
Diana Neves de Carvalho, Exago’s CEO

Loyalty is no longer enough to both employers and the workforce

How does the fourth industrial revolution, blurring the real and technological worlds, affect companies and the way they do business? How do companies manage their corporate culture to increase employee engagement? What tools and methods are used to keep employees motivated and engaged?

The business world has been changing fast, even dramatically. In the not-so-distant past, loyalty was key to both employers and the workforce, with job security becoming a main goal. If you had the opportunity to work in a corporate company, and if you worked hard, you would have found yourself a job for life. The concepts of ‘loyalty’, ‘job security’ or ‘job for life’ just seem too detached from reality for companies and employees nowadays.

The Millennium generation – those born between the early 1980s and early 1990s – is conquering the workplace, slowly taking the place of Generation X, the baby boomers, born between the early 1960s and late 1970s. With the Millennium generation, a new set of values has arrived.

The rhythms and paradigm of life itself have changed. In our increasingly complex world, life, work, production and politics have become independent of time and space. Industries are being disrupted, start-ups are eating away business models and the average company these days lasts about a third of the lifespan of 50 years ago. The hierarchical structures defined in the industrial society are being replaced by active network systems and evolutive organisational models. The experience economy is spreading rapidly. We are not trying to solve the chaos anymore; we are only struggling to manage it.

Consequently, there is plenty of thinking and advice out there about different methods and approaches to sustain companies’ lifespans, drive sustainability and increase employee engagement. The real dilemma of large companies seeking to survive and adapt to rapidly changing market conditions is that they need more employees with creative and innovative ideas, but these profiles seem to be less inclined to work at large companies than in the past.

We will discuss why that is next.

READ MORE:
Millennials and innovation in the workplace
Generation Z and innovation in the workplace
How innovation can help you conquer the new generations
How to create a culture of collaborative innovation in younger generations
Why is innovation management a powerful tool to engage Generations Y and Z
Six best innovation practices to engage Millennials and Gen Zers

Aylin Olsun, managing partner of ASO Company
Diana Neves de Carvalho, Exago’s CEO

Exago featured in Gartner’s “Market Guide for Innovation Management Tools 2017”

For the third consecutive year, the world’s leading information technology research and advisory company references Exago as one of the software providers with traction and visibility in the idea management industry. Exago reaches 100% depth of functionality in idea collection, refinement and review, idea portfolio management, idea execution, as well as mobile offer and user experience.

Gartner’s “Market Guide for Innovation Management Tools 2017” highlights Exago’s “comprehensive idea management process”, with the option to outsource screening with specific requirements, along with other platform management and advisory services. The report also emphasises how in the last year “Exago came up with a new release that introduced the ability to customize the idea workflow according to client’s innovation process and enhanced its reporting and UX capabilities”.

Even if innovation programmes can exist without this technology, Gartner says it can benefit them greatly: by focusing creativity in key business challenges, promoting engagement, easily structuring and managing each innovation stage and opening the innovation challenge to internal and external participants. The transformation to digital business is also “increasing IT leaders’ interest in software to support innovation initiatives”.

Gartner’s “Market Guide for Innovation Management Tools 2017” offers insightful market recommendations, harnessing the most complete data collection for industry members and prospective innovation software buyers. Exago was previously referenced in the guide’s 2015 and 2016 editions.

 

You can register for access to the research here.