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Turn Your Employees into Mad Scientist Entrepreneurs Bring value to your employees with more than just monetary benefits. Offer them the growth opportunity of entrepreneurship

By Paul L. Gunn, Jr Edited by Michael Dolan

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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What are you doing to offer your employees value while they are in your flock and preparing them for their next ascension in either corporate America, philanthropy, social giving or as an entrepreneur? I hear of the horror stories of business professionals seeking to try their hand at being a business owner but fear that their current job will be in jeopardy or their role as a provider is in limbo seeking to take the step. Employers unknowingly are often hiring future entrepreneurs that will either create a service or product that will make their current company obsolete or struggle for survival. These "silent" entrepreneurs endure the pain of holding their desires to venture out and try entrepreneurship. It seems that too often, we speak about the risk entrepreneurs take in leaving their jobs or careers to try being an entrepreneur and not focus on the risk taken by firms to not embrace them by helping them grow. Companies are taking a risk by foregoing identifying and embracing the skillsets for qualified personnel on their teams that show true foundational character traits of entrepreneurs that can be leveraged to build them up and assist them in reaching their goal.

Management and HR are not often trained to view the skill sets or traits that entrepreneurs quietly possess. These are valid contributing team members who cant be waiting for the opportunity to respond to better your product or service. These individuals are often overlooked or completely disregarded for their ideas and become driven to launch their business. While some build solutions to the very issue they often voiced to the firm that employed them. Not every employee under your wing is geared or suited for entrepreneurship. I am speaking for the ones that it takes a keen eye to recognize and foster their growth while they are under your wing. Firms should be able to offer a program that doesn't penalize an employee for trying their desire for entrepreneurship and allow support for their efforts. Your team members who are rooted in one day being able to own a business may simply be looking to own a small business or create something that your current could benefit from. These are strategic thinkers who view problems differently, and not taking them seriously is a massive qualitative risk.

Related: Employee Retention: 4 Tips to Help Keep Your Top Talent

Make room for them to grow

Assisting these employees can lead to them leveraging the current companies credit strength and resources to exact something that can gain the current company a branding opportunity and create an additional revenue stream as a business incubator for the employee's business. You would remove the stigma for them trying and not succeeding. There would be transparency in their current workload for your firm, along with what they were doing in the new business. You would be creating a partnership that could grow into something much more. The key becomes knowing how to identify these individuals and create a plan that supports them and doesn't take away from the firm. If you choose not to do so, they will eventually do it anyway because if the desire is burning to try this, let them try. Most people don't regret not making money on their death bed; they regret they didn't try something they desired. You can employ them and still provide a social benefit for investing in them for the mental health and well being. If they fail, they would have only learned something in the process that will benefit you in a new process developed, or they may come to a self-realization that it's not for them and become a loyal advocate for your firm go all-in on their working duties. You would have invested in them, and either way, they will bring something back of value to you.

Related: Investing in Your Employees Is the Smartest Business Decision You Can Make

Hire former business owners

Neither should former business owners applying to a firm be seen as a failure to trying at cause and falling short. They have gained valuable experience that firms and their peers miss out on. There are writings on the cons about hiring entrepreneurs and the potential to get bored or lose interest. My agreement would be this could also be an error in the hiring phase that they were offered a role that best fit their capabilities to fuse into the need. This world is adapting, and some of the standard methods being utilized to survive are what entrepreneurs do best or have inherent grit that can benefit your firm. Supporting a budding entrepreneur via programs at your company or hiring former entrepreneurs, many benefits can be received from these individuals no matter how long or short they are involved with your firm. In doing this, there may be less of a fear of failing to venture out knowing there is support from a current firm or removing the perception of failure for having tried not succeeded.

Related: How to Get the Most From Your Top Performing Employees

Theodore Roosevelt's quote is most fitting for this to allow your team member the opportunity to try entrepreneurship, "It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at best knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat."

Take time to identify these employees and support them. You may find it to be the wisest choice your firm has chosen to do by supporting budding and former entrepreneurs. This may energize more employees to succeed, which is better for the economy.

Paul L. Gunn, Jr

Entrepreneur Leadership Network® Contributor

Founder & CEO of KUOG Corporation

Paul L. Gunn, Jr. is highly skilled in procurement, logistics and supply chain for the Department of Defense and private sector. He is a USA Today and Wall Street Journal best-selling author.

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