Every generation brings a unique viewpoint, personality, and special flair to the office.

The Millennial generation is no longer coming — it’s here. And with it comes a strong entrepreneurial spirit. On the surface, it may seem like Millennials are flight risks quietly plotting their own side projects with grand dreams of someday running their own businesses. Maybe they are, but that doesn’t mean you should resign yourself to that notion or resent them.

Instead of viewing entrepreneurial-minded employees as threats, savvy employers should cater to their needs, treat them like the valuable assets they are, and leverage their strengths.

Why Entrepreneurial Employees Are Great Workers

An entrepreneurial mind knows how to hustle and find creative solutions to clients’ problems. This alone produces the high-performing employees you want representing your company.

Here are a few additional attributes they bring to the table:

  • They have a vision. Many Millennials have watched their peers become entrepreneurs, and they want a piece of that success. Because they may ultimately want to launch their own businesses, Millennials are big-picture thinkers constantly looking for ways to drive progress and innovation.
  • They take calculated risks. Budding entrepreneurs understand that sacrifices today could pay big dividends tomorrow. They’re willing to join promising startups — even if the salaries are low and the risks are high — and they’re open-minded and brave when it comes to venturing into uncharted waters.
  • They reject the corporate ladder. A survey released by Bentley University found that only 13 percent of Millennials dream of climbing the corporate career ladder to one day sit behind a CEO’s desk. This is what makes them flight risks. However, that very energy and drive can also be harnessed into productivity.
  • They are always “on.” The Bentley University study also found that 89 percent of Millennials regularly check their work email outside the office. They’re used to being available at all hours of the day and switching seamlessly into work mode at a moment’s notice.
  • They want to be challenged. Entrepreneurial-minded employees are begging for challenges. You can meet their needs by constantly feeding them big, important projects they can sink their teeth into. Millennials commonly leave jobs that don’t challenge them enough, so it’s crucial to keep them engaged with a variety of high-level tasks.

Workers with can-do entrepreneurial mindsets offer their employers an incredible worth ethic, abundant creativity, and serious productivity. Combining these traits makes for highly desirable employees, but the issue still remains: The generation’s primary motive is starting their own businesses and becoming their own bosses.

So how can you keep them invested in your company?

How to Leverage and Satisfy Your Entrepreneurial Employees

Millennials are not happy punching 9-to-5 clocks or spending their work hours in cubicles. They yearn to cut through the crap of all-day meetings, and they want to work whenever and however they want.

As long as employers provide the right motivations and work environments, it’s definitely possible to satisfy entrepreneurial-minded employees and keep them on employers’ sides.

Here are five ways to quench the entrepreneurial thirst of your employees:

  1. Get them invested in a long-term vision of your company. Entrepreneurial-minded employees will quickly start looking for greener pastures if they feel unappreciated at their jobs. Earn their loyalty by showing where they fit in the long-term vision of your company, and help them see how their efforts directly support that vision.
  1. Give them room to breathe. Millennials are ready to work hard, but they also want work-life balance. That means employers should consider giving them flexibility in how they work. According to the Bentley University study, 77 percent of Millennials believe flexible work hours improve their productivity. Giving them the option to work remotely will inspire them to work harder and longer.
  1. Give them projects they can own. Your entrepreneurial employees want to own their own businesses, so the best alternative is providing them with work they can take pride in owning. They want to prove themselves, and they’re willing to put in the hard work to do it. If you entrust them with meaningful projects, they will repay that trust.
  1. Give them a voice. Millennials are always willing to provide opinions. They’re bursting with innovative ideas, and they’re used to having platforms to express themselves. Old-school power structures don’t sit well with these workers; they are collaborative and team-oriented, and they expect to have seats at the table.
  1. Incentivize them to greatness. Give your entrepreneurial employees a reason to stop dreaming of their own businesses — find ways for them to put full effort into your Incentivize them with praise and recognition when they earn it, and also be sure to offer promotions and raises when applicable.

Great employers don’t try to jam round pegs into square holes; they know how to recognize and support their employees’ needs and appropriately harness their strengths. In return, they receive loyalty, hard work, and unique solutions.

Don’t be afraid of your entrepreneurial-minded employees. Instead, encourage their entrepreneurial tendencies — you’ll be surprised by how much they contribute to your company.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

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