Management Innovation a Low Priority

Last Updated Oct 15, 2008 2:43 PM EDT

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Innovation in products and services is important to senior managers. But most are failing to create new management approaches to meet the changing needs of their youngest employees.
Speaking to 500 senior managers, the CIPD found that less than 25 per cent prioritised management innovation, although 80 per cent claimed it was a driver of long-term success. Conversely, 65 per cent were putting their all into product and service innovations.

The study set out to examine how Generation Y employees and Web 2.0 technologies are affecting working life -- and found their influences profound, but managers unsure about how they should react.

A small number of businesses have played around with Web 2.0 tools such as Wikis and social networking sites, but most are hanging back and waiting to see what competitors do first, and the most old-fashioned ban the use of social networking sites like Twitter.

Likewise, companies are equivocal about how they should respond to younger employees. Senior executives recognise that Gen Y employees have different expectations of their working life and want managers to be engaged in their development. But most companies claim they lack the time, tools and experience to work out innovative new programs to manage these challenges.

"Pioneers in management innovation attract and retain top employees and they build a capability for change and adaptation," according to Vanessa Robinson of the CIPD.

They will recognise how Web 2.0 tools can help in developing management innovations to fit the new workplace. Says Professor Julian Birkinshaw, deputy dean at the London Business School: "Tomorrow's leading companies will be the ones that actively embrace these exciting tools today -- to find new ways of harnessing their potential and to build deeper levels of trust and responsibility among their employees."