How to Leverage the Characteristics of Entrepreneurial Employees

It is no secret that today’s employees — particularly those in the millennial generation and younger — don’t feel a strong loyalty to their employers. And many are very entrepreneurial, especially with all of the opportunities social media brings. How can managers make the best use of an employee who has worked in their own business in the past, or possibly even has a business they run on the side?

Deciding how you’re going to work with a budding entrepreneur is something that should start, if possible, before he or she is hired, according to Michelle Ngome, founder and CEO of Line 25 Consulting and president of the African-American Marketing Association.

“Creating an open dialogue during the interview process is the first thing a manager can do to understand a candidate’s entrepreneurial endeavors,” Ngome says. That, she explains, means asking questions about how the candidate plans to transition with responsibilities and time management, and determining if any conflicts of interest exist if the candidate already is involved in an outside business.

“If there is an open conversation in the beginning, it can set up the expectations during the employee’s tenure,” says Ngome, who suggests putting entrepreneurial employees in incentivized roles once they’re on staff.

“The incentive may be money, time, or a leadership role,” she explains, noting that the incentive should vary based on an employee’s stage in life.

For example, most millennials value their time — which means offering them a four-day work week or three weeks of vacation might be more appealing than a raise or a leadership role, Ngome says.

That, of course, depends on why the employee decided to seek a full-time position.

“Money is less of a factor if they are making good money in their business. However, cash flow … is why most people go back to work,” she adds.

Finally, a discussion about the future is key.

“Engaging in conversations about future growth is vital to gauge longevity,” Ngome stresses. Can you tell if the employee considers the job just a short-term step on their career path? Or are there ways that their overall career goals align with what your company can offer?

“Any entrepreneur knows they can sacrifice in the short term for greater long-term gains,” Ngome says.

In fact, many characteristics entrepreneurs possess make them ideal employees. They’re typically innovative, energetic, not afraid to tackle challenging situations and usually able to multi-task effectively; so tapping into those characteristics can be a big plus for any organization!

(Article written by Kathleen Furore)