Encouraging employees to spread their entrepreneurial wings

The world of work is changing. One phenomenon that is taking off is of companies encouraging their employees to have a “side hustle” in addition to their regular job.

Up until recently, this practice would have been frowned upon, the implication being that workers were disloyal or not focused on their employed role.

Thinking around this has evolved and employers are now recognising the value of entrepreneurship outside the workplace, which boosts employees’ contribution and productivity in the 9 to 5.

Amazon has been one such example here, encouraging their entrepreneurial employees to resign and set up their own businesses delivering Amazon goods through its Delivery Service Program in the United States.

They have even offered employees $10,000 and start up costs to quit their current roles. (It’s worth noting as well that anyone entering the program will also need to invest money and prove that they have sufficient assets).

This is a perfect example of a mutually beneficial arrangement for a former employer, who will grow their own network of trusted deliverers to help them achieve targets, and former employee, who will benefit from guidance and support in setting up a business.

It’s also an example of a company astutely recognising its future needs and using known resources to meet them.

You can read more about this scheme on the Wired and CNBC websites.
Employers are also becoming more flexible in their thinking around work-life balance.

This article, for example, lists some of the best companies to work for if you want to do so remotely.

In the words of Buffer, which specialises in social media management software, “Work in the place that makes you happy, that inspires you daily, and helps you become the person that you wish to be”.

This mantra makes perfect sense, recognising that you will get the best out of your employees if they are positive and motivated.

Meanwhile, over in Sweden flexibility around workers’ time is a concept that’s been around for a while. For the last 20 years permanent full time employees have been able to take six months off to launch their own company, provided their project fits certain criteria – perfect for those thinking of starting a business but wanting the safety net of returning to their old job.

It’s no coincidence that Sweden is considered one of the most innovative countries in Europe.

I’m a great supporter of entrepreneurship, and have written before about the need for UK businesses to acknowledge sea changes in the world of work, and that the upcoming generation of employees are more driven by challenge and creativity than ever before.

Businesses here would do well to follow the example of Amazon and many Swedish companies to encourage, nurture and capture the innovation and creativity of their workers.

The end result has got to be a generation of multi-talented and multi-tasking employees, who bring a wealth of valuable transferable skills to their employed and self-employed lives.

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