Are Managers the Biggest Barriers to Innovation?

Survey: Canadian Employees Want Innovation, Daily Tasks Bog Them Down

Toronto, ON – Companies may be their own worst enemy when it comes to innovation, research suggests. In a new survey by global staffing firm Robert Half, Canadian CFOs cited being bogged down by daily tasks and putting out fires (33 per cent) and lack of new ideas (26 per cent) and as the biggest barriers to innovation. These obstacles also have the potential to hinder hiring efforts. In a separate survey, 81 per cent of workers said a company’s reputation for being innovative is an important consideration when evaluating potential employers.

“In the increasingly complex business world, innovation is often a key factor in developing efficient strategies that help achieve organizational goals,” said Greg Scileppi, president of Robert Half, International Staffing Operations. “To stay competitive and to attract forward-thinking professionals, companies need to foster an environment that allows for creative-thinking and open collaboration, while remaining nimble enough to adjust to evolving market trends.”

View an infographic of the full survey results.

Robert Half offers the following do’s and don’ts for managers when it comes to fostering innovation:



Step away from your usual assignments and set aside time to brainstorm with your team. Host internal events where employees can present creative business solutions to company leadership.

Put creative thinking sessions on the back burner due to a lack of time or the daily grind.

Remove unnecessary red tape. For example, simplify project requests and approval processes.

Restrict idea sharing for meetings. Be accessible and create a collaborative environment where employees can freely offer suggestions.

Hire additional staff if heavy workloads are consistently getting in the way of innovation.

Stretch your team so thin their only focus – and measure of accomplishment – comes from crossing items off their to-do lists.

Be patient; new ideas take time to flourish. Make innovation an ongoing focus, and provide your employees the support they need to realize their vision.

Place unrealistic expectations on staff. It can take weeks or months to see results, particularly if you don’t give them the necessary resources or help with prioritizing tasks.

About the Research

The surveys were developed by Robert Half and conducted by independent research firms. The CFO survey is based on telephone interviews with more than 270 CFOs from a stratified random sample of companies in Canada. The survey of workers includes responses from more than 400 professionals in Canada age 18 and over and employed in office environments.

About Robert Half
Founded in 1948, Robert Half is the world’s first and largest specialized staffing firm. The Menlo Park, Calif.-based company has 325 staffing locations worldwide and offers online job search and management tools at For career and management advice, follow our blog at Follow Robert Half Canada on Twitter at @RobertHalf_CAN for additional workplace advice and hiring trends.

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