20 Mar, 2018FORBES.COM
Across the world, governments are trying to uncover the secret to increasing entrepreneurship. From Japanese Prime Minister Abe, and his $50 million pledge to promote female entrepreneurship, to Prime Minister Modi’s global invitation for entrepreneurs to invest in India, there’s more competition than ever to increase business ownership. New data from research published by Amway found that 59 percent of young people say they want to ditch their jobs and work for themselves - a sharp contrast to what we see in the business world, with young people entrepreneurship levels down 35 percent from 1996.
Infrastructure and economy issues, like taxes (AGER data shows 62 percent think they’re unmanageable), rules and regulations (66 percent say they’re hard to follow) and education (64 percent don’t think schools teach needed skills) are holding companies back. Some countries are even trying to appeal directly to expat entrepreneurs, like Estonia’s forthcoming digital nomad visa, which offers e-Residency and a flat 20 percent income tax on distributed profits. Time will tell if this is this enough to sway young minds.
For business owners, this could all seem like a pessimistic workforce trend, particularly as younger 9-5ers are increasingly quitting their job to become digital nomads. The AGER hints at three areas (customer service, IT/infrastructure and human resources) young entrepreneurs want changes in that business owners can apply to potentially spark new growth and relationships moving forward.
AGER data shows that 69 percent of millennials prefer working with customers personally instead of digitally. In our digital world, personal service isn’t dead, which in part explains the rise of the serviced-based sharing economy. Connecting your employees to the customers directly not only helps them see the direct impact of their work, but it also helps them think more like the owners of the company. A possibly double-edged sword if not trained and managed well.
Millennials are split 50-50 when asked about if their country has the technology to make entrepreneurship easier. This prompts the question – is your business technology helping or hindering your employees? If you’re still having them type away on 2010 dinosaur computers, or you haven’t embraced productivity apps like Airtable or Asana, maybe it’s time for a massive upgrade. BYOD is one option but perhaps you'd get more from alternative strategies?
Overwhelmingly, millennials reported that they prefer to work in urban areas rather than rural areas. Rather than giving them the ultimatum (you’ll work in Oklahoma, or else), consider allowing them to work where they want. With 92 percent of millennials wanting to work remotely, can you afford not to let them? Coupled with the technology upgrade mentioned above, research shows remote working will boost productivity and employee happiness. Is your company ready for this shift? Does it have the training in place to manage people effectively? If not, you'll be given your marching orders and could be left with recruitment and motivation issues.
The future of work is anything but written. The younger workforce is making it clear that the world of work will be a lot different in core ways if they have any say about it. Companies that adapt now will have a leg up on those that hold off on using new tools and services to create businesses and workforces of the future. One thing is for sure, flexibility is at the heart of the future of most businesses.
This article was first published by Paul Armstrong on Forbes