How to Retain Talent in the Age of Entrepreneurship

I grew up in the generation that experienced Woodstock, the era that celebrated personal freedom. Yet, ironically, my peers and I jumped into...

I grew up in the generation that experienced Woodstock, the era that celebrated personal freedom. Yet, ironically, my peers and I jumped into paternalistic companies with corporate ladders and defined hierarchies—and we thought it was fantastic. We welcomed working for places that rewarded tenure over talent, and where we measured success by the number of tiles on our ceilings or whether or not we’d snagged a corner office.
It seems silly now, especially when today’s workplace is so dramatically different. Young people no longer want to work for companies—they want to start companies. Studies show that an overwhelming number of them want to be entrepreneurs. High school students are telling pollsters that they never plan on working in a real corporate environment. And, this isn’t just happening in Silicon Valley. We are seeing generational shifts among MBAs across the board, many of whom say they prefer to work for smaller companies or startups—places defined by a more entrepreneurial culture, with structures they describe as "flat" and "nonhierarchical" and that promote personal responsibility, ownership, flexibility, and mentorship.
And really, who can blame them? The speed at which companies come and go has changed. The average life expectancy of a company in the S&P 500 has dropped from 75 years (in 1937) to 15 years today, according to John Hagel III at Deloitte Center for the Edge.
Having witnessed the collapse of institutions like Bear Stearns, Washington Mutual, and Lehman Brothers (to name just a few), many young people rightfully believe that with little to no job security, the only safety net they can count on is themselves: their experience, their skills, and their values. So, what’s a company that wants to attract and retain today’s hottest talent to do? Below are the top five things companies must do to keep entrepreneurial-minded employees from quitting:
Give frequent feedback.
Today’s employees want to see the difference they make in their organization and be recognized for it. Millennials grew up on social media and expect similar feedback channels; fortunately, a new generation of performance management software can help with this.
Grant flexibility. \n
Put people in charge of their fate and give them the opportunity to make a difference. It’s important to create “step-up opportunities,” or roles that have room for constant expansion and the opportunity to push the boundaries.
Enable people to work for a higher purpose.\n
Many people would rather be unemployed, work for an early startup, or do their own thing than take position doing something they find unfulfilling, so companies need to figure out how to make their story and mission compelling.
Keep them learning. \n
This is not the 1980s. Salary is important, but it’s not as important as learning potential and personal fulfillment. Gaining important skills (in areas such as marketing, product management, and sales) is what matters as people build their careers. Internal and external mentoring programs will help achieve this.
Include everyone.\n
Let employees collaborate with their peers and give them access to executives. They want to be included in the conversation and feel as if they are a part of something. Many are accustomed to working in groups, whether in person or online, so create opportunities for them to collaborate easily across the organization.
Image via (cc) flickr user Pixel Pro Photography\n
via Honor Africans / Twitter

The problem with American Sign Language (ASL) is that over 500,000 people in the U.S. use it, but the country has over 330 million people.

So for those with hearing loss, the chances of coming into contact with someone who uses the language are rare. Especially outside of the deaf community.

Keep Reading Show less

Looking back, the year 1995 seems like such an innocent time. America was in the midst of its longest streak of peace and prosperity. September 11, 2001 was six years away, and the internet didn't seem like much more than a passing fad.

Twenty-four years ago, 18 million U.S. homes had modem-equipped computers, 7 million more than the year before. Most logged in through America Online where they got their email or communicated with random strangers in chat rooms.

According to a Pew Research study that year, only 32% of those who go online say they would miss it "a lot" if no longer available.

Imagine what those poll numbers would look like if the question was asked today.

RELATED: Bill and Melinda Gates had a surprising answer when asked about a 70 percent tax on the wealthiest Americans

"Few see online activities as essential to them, and no single online feature, with the exception of E-Mail, is used with any regularity," the Pew article said. "Consumers have yet to begin purchasing goods and services online, and there is little indication that online news features are changing traditional news consumption patterns."

"Late Night" host David Letterman had Microsoft founder and, at that time the richest man in the world, on his show for an interview in '95 to discuss the "the big new thing."

During the interview Letterman chided Gates about the usefulness of the new technology, comparing it to radio and tape recorders.

Gates seems excited by the internet because it will soon allow people to listen to a baseball game on their computer. To which Letterman smugly replies, "Does radio ring a bell?" to laughter from the crowd.

But Gates presses Letterman saying that the new technology allows you to listen to the game "whenever you want," to which Letterman responds, "Do tape recorders ring a bell?"

Gates then tells Letterman he can keep up with the latest in his favorite hobbies such as cigar smoking or race cars through the internet. Letterman shuts him down saying that he reads about his interests in magazines.

RELATED: Bill Gates has five books he thinks you should read this summer.

The discussion ends with the two laughing over meeting like-minded people in "troubled loner chat room on the internet."

The clip brings to mind a 1994 segment on "The Today Show" where host Bryant Gumbel and Katie Couric have a similar discussion.

"What is internet anyway?" an exasperated Gumball asks. "What do you write to it like mail?"

"It's a computer billboard but it's nationwide and it's several universities all joined together and it's getting bigger and bigger all the time," a producer explains from off-stage.

Photo by Li-An Lim on Unsplash

The future generations will have to live on this Earth for years to come, and, not surprisingly, they're very concerned about the fate of our planet. We've seen a rise in youth activists, such as Greta Thunberg, who are raising awareness for climate change. A recent survey indicates that those efforts are working, as more and more Americans (especially young Americans) feel concerned about climate change.

A new CBS News poll found that 70% of Americans between 18 and 29 feel climate change is a crisis or a serious problem, while 58% of Americans over the age of 65 share those beliefs. Additionally, younger generations are more likely to feel like it's their personal responsibility to address climate change, as well as think that transitioning to 100% renewable energy is viable. Overall, 25% of Americans feel that climate change is a "crisis," and 35% feel it is a "serious problem." 10% of Americans said they think climate change is a minor problem, and 16% of Americans feel it is not a problem that worries them.

The poll found that concern for the environment isn't a partisan issue – or at least when it comes to younger generations. Two-thirds of Republicans under the age of 45 feel that addressing climate change is their duty, sentiments shared by only 38% of Republicans over the age of 45.

Keep Reading Show less
The Planet