Do All Millennials Want To Be Self-Employed Anyway?

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When I work with my clients to build their Millennial retention strategy, this question comes up at least once per week. What is the point of trying to retain Millennials? Don’t they all want to be self-employed anyway? Aren’t they simply doing their time within this organisation before starting a business? It is true that around 30% of Millennials have already started some sort of business with 49% intending to follow suit within the next three years. However, is it the case that Millennials are more likely to start our own businesses than our Gen X predecessors, or is it simply that it is increasingly easier to do so? Perhaps many Gen X’ers and Boomers actually dreamed of going it alone, but with technological advances and the wealth of information Millennials can now take advantage of online, self-employment is more accessible. With this in mind, it is important not to dwell on the fact that a number of your employees may ultimately end up starting a business, but rather to show them why working for your business is the more attractive option. You must also consider, even if they do eventually intend to leave, how they can add value whilst they are working within your business. 

What Are The Driving Factors For Becoming Self-Employed?

Starting a business is not the easy option. There are many roles (we usually use the ‘hats’ analogy!) that individuals must adapt to if they wish to be self-sufficient. However, there are countless benefits to being your own boss. These benefits have remained largely the same throughout the years, and so starting a business is no more appealing today than it was ten years ago. 

If you have concerns about your retention strategy being compromised by the masses choosing self-employment, it is important to analyze the key benefits to this route and consider how you might adopt them into your employer brand. So what do Millennials consider to be the most attractive benefits to self-employment? When I asked a group of Millennial business owners what inspired them to take the leap, these were the main aspects which featured: 

  • It is more flexible 
  • Better earning potential 
  • Genuine work/life balance 
  • Ability to work and travel consecutively 
  • More autonomy over output 

So, if these are the things which are drawing Millennials to choose to work for themselves, it is vital to consider how you can include them in your own office culture. The important thing is that you avoid paying lip service to these areas without actually embedding them seamlessly into your employer brand. You have the advantage as your company infrastructure means that employees could enjoy all of these benefits without needing to undertake some of the more challenging aspects of self-employment.

Now, more than ever, it is important to nurture great communication within your organisation. Ask your Millennial employees (and indeed all of your employees) what is important to them, what they want to achieve from their role and where they see themselves long term. It is vital to create an environment that they feel comfortable in so as you experience more honesty in regards to this. Once you know their underlying goals, you will be able to identify their motivating factors and ultimately give them a good reason to want to progress within your team, rather than move on to another organisation or ultimately self-employment.

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