When Millennial Branding and analytics company Identified.com combed through millions of Facebook profiles recently to glean insights about how the social network is being used professionally, they discovered something surprising--among young people (so-called Gen Y) the fifth most popular job title was "owner."
At the time, Millennial Branding's managing partner Dan Schawbel told Inc.com that he believes the entrepreneurial life appeals to younger workers because, "they can have an impact on Day 1, whereas in a large company, they would have to go through months of training only to be stuck in a single role." They also "saw their parents work for large companies for decades and don’t want to same fate. They don’t trust large companies," he noted.
All of which is well and good if you're a young person bent on starting a business and want to know you're not alone. But if you're a bit older and the owner of a more established business, what good could this information possibly do you? After all, you're pressing concern is how to hire and get the best out of new talent and it doesn't help you any if the primary interest of so many of potential hires is striking out on their own, does it?
Not so fast, Schawbel answers in a recent column for the American Express OPEN Forum blog. Young folks with entrepreneurial dreams can actually make great hires for your business. What benefits does hiring your fellow entrepreneur offer?
"These 'kindred spirits' would make the best employees for your small business. Who better understands that a lack of resources and manpower forces you to work harder in the initial stages than a young entrepreneur?" writes Schawbel. "Not only will these fresh-faced workers offer a breath of fresh air into your staff, they will bring a different perspective as well. Eventually you’re going to have to sell your service or product to members of Gen Y, and who would better understand the needs of Millennials better than Gen Y themselves?" he continues.
But getting the most out of team members with their own entrepreneurial dreams requires you handle these hires in a particular way, according to Schawbel. Forget railroading them into narrow, controlled roles that don't put their dynamism to fill use. Instead, Schawbel suggests allowing their entrepreneurialism space to benefit your business:
It’s important to understand that merely hiring young entrepreneurs and then forcing them to surrender their ideas is pointless. Many corporations are embracing the idea of empowering their workers to become "intrepreneurs"–acting like a small business under the umbrella of a bigger business. Richard Branson recently endorsed the style of workplace ethic. You don’t have to sacrifice your visions of your company, but it’s vital to keep an open mind to the ideas your employees bring to the table.
Would you hire a young person with dreams of becoming an entrepreneur?