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Millennials and the Entrepreneur Mindset

Today’s Gen-Y workforce AKA Millennials are changing the way we look at work. They’re (I suppose I should say we’re) changing workplace cultures, manager mindsets and the image of the successful executive. Perhaps one characteristic of Millennials that stands out most is their entrepreneurial mindset. This doesn’t mean that every millennial is going to run out and start their own companies. It does mean that they will work as if they do. They will take risks, focus on the bottom line, and take small breaks if they need to, won’t be shy about speaking up and suggesting changes and ideas and won’t be afraid to challenge authority.

According to Tom LaVecchia, founder of NewTheory.com, “90% of millennials surveyed think being an entrepreneur means having a certain mindset rather than starting a company.”

It’s important that today’s managers understand this mindset and how to embrace it. Here are some simple ways today’s business leaders, HR professionals and hiring managers can embrace millennials with the entrepreneur mindset:

  1. Trust them.

Your young, hotshot, millennial employees have lots to offer. They see things differently and can bring fresh ideas to the table. While adapting to the new can be a major adjustment for some managers, trust them. Give them opportunities to take risks and try out their ideas. Avoid saying things like “we don’t usually do that this way.” Be optimistic instead of responding to their suggestions in a negative way. Be supportive. If there is an event they want to attend or new piece of technology they found that could be helpful, be open to hearing more.  Today’s millennials are driven by purpose and want to be (or at least feel like) they’re running their own businesses. A key part of running your own business is the freedom to take the risks you deem necessary without some boss telling you what’s not going to work. That reaction sucks the purpose right out of what they’re doing. It’s depressing and is sure to push that innovative mind and creative soul right out the door. Trust your people and don’t let fear stand in your way.

  1. Be flexible.

This is the mobile generation. Everyone has a smart phone and there’s a significant amount of business that’s handled via text message. As a manager, you have to be flexible. Allow for flex-time in the office. Loosen the reigns and let your people work from home if they need to. Don’t be so rigid in your communication. Allow for a more relaxed atmosphere. Are your people stressed out? Do you have the capital to expand? Consider building a rec room. Think about it – if your millennial workforce all had their own businesses and needed to take a break, they would. If they needed to go for a walk, they would. Allow that and encourage it. Is it a busy time of the year for your company or team? Encourage 15 minute breaks in the afternoon for your people to go for a walk. It makes a big difference. Be flexible in work style and tempo. It results in greater job satisfaction and productivity. Ask Google!

  1. If they actually do have their own business on the side, don’t snoop!

It is not uncommon for many of today’s millennials to have their own entrepreneurial venture on the side. Whether they own their own consulting practices, sell Avon or drive for Uber they see the need for another professional outlet and stream of income. Don’t be afraid of this. Far too many managers attempt to control the matter by snooping into their employees’ businesses. This kind of behavior breeds distrust and pushes your people right out the door. Respect their privacy. Do not attempt to pry information out of them. They’re not stupid.

This is the age of the entrepreneur and that is not a bad thing. Employees with this mindset understand how to take ownership of their roles, apply their creativity making innovative decisions and are willing to take intelligent risks. These qualities are an asset to the business world and an asset to your organization so be flexible and if they have businesses on the side, don’t spy on them. Trust them and be open to their ideas and suggestions. Your business will thank you.


Thank you for reading my post. My name is Pamela Shand and I want the best for you in your career. It is my hope that you find everything you read here helpful in advancing your career. If you did, feel free to follow my blog for future articles. I regularly write on resume building, interview success and various ways to unravel common and not-so-common career snags.

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