Recently I discovered the greatest threat to Capitalism and the American economy, employees. Yes I said it, employees are potentially the greatest threat to American business since the great depression. Why? Think about it, the average employee in today’s economy doesn't stay at a company longer than two (maybe three years), and only works in his or her field because of the earning potential. Right now I can’t count how many people I know who hate their jobs but stay because they love the money. The biggest problem I have found with hiring employees is their lack of passion and their unwillingness to make impactful contributions.
People who act and think like employees are always looking at what they can gain, rather than what they can contribute. In today’s climate where consumers are looking for brands that share their ideals, passion and value system, employees are the kiss of death. Organizations today can no longer afford to have employees (hazards) on the payroll. In order to be successful and remain successful, today’s organizations need brand fanatics and closet entrepreneurs who care about their mission, their customers, and their values.
“STATISTICS SAY THAT IN THE NEXT THREE YEARS, AS MANY AS 75% OF YOUR ORGANIZATIONS TOP PERFORMERS WILL LEAVE THE ORGANIZATION FOR GREENER PASTURES” -FORBES
The era of hiring employees is done. Today if you want your organization to remain competitive and maintain a deep connection with your customers, you need to start hiring fanatics or entrepreneurs. Apple, Google, Zappos, what do all these organizations have in common besides for great names and stellar sales records? Culture. The organizational cultures that are present in each of these companies are things of legend and envy. Google and their 20% time, Apple and their innovation processes, Zappos and their happiness philosophy. Powerful cultures create and sustain powerful brands. But what is the key ingredient needed to create a powerful culture today? The answer is simple, fanatics and entrepreneurs.
THE VALUE OF FANATICS
Fanatics, are people who are in love with the concept and values of a given brand. Right now if you were to stroll the halls of the Googleplex, I am 100% sure you would find fanatical people who live, breathe and sleep Google. It is these kinds of people who help brands excel in today’s cluttered marketplace. You don’t have to worry about finding incentives to energize fanatics.
“If people want to come for a few years and move on and build something great, that’s something we’re proud of.” - Forbes
They are extremely loyal and find their greatest enjoyment in being able to make contributions to the brand they love. For fanatics just being a part of the organization they champion is it’s own reward. Organizations who are able to recruit and retain fanatics will have greater output, stronger brand capital and less company turnover than organizations who rely on regular employees.
THE VALUE OF CLOSET ENTREPRENEURS
Entrepreneurs are a different breed. Driven purely by the journey and the opportunity to make their own dent in the universe. They’re not easily lead but are extremely passionate about introducing new ideas and processes. Companies like Facebook, with their 24 hour hacking sessions and Google with their 20% time use internal (or closet) entrepreneurship to power their brands.
“Since IPOing, Google employees have gone on to launch ~ 49 startups” - BusinessInsider
Legendary innovations like the Facebook Wall and Gmail were created by Facebook and Google employees who eventually went on to found their own startups. Organizations who want to edge out competition through innovation should focus on recruiting talent with strong entrepreneurial tendencies. This will help their brands stay fresh and competitive, eliminate the need for costly acquisitions and reduce costs for R&D. Make the startup culture part of your corporate culture!
THE REALITY & CONCLUSION
Like it or not there is shift taking place in American culture and business. The ideals and beliefs of the boomer and Gen X generations are fading away. Replaced and destroyed by the defiant and unpredictable values of startup kids (Millennials) and brand junkies (Gen Z’ers). Are regular plain Jane employees really killing American business? Whether I am right or wrong is debateable. What isn’t, is the disrupt or die reality organizations are facing daily in the marketplace. Everyone is not only fighting for market share, they're fighting for mindshare. For organizations to achieve greater output, brand exposure and market dominance, they will have to hire brand fanatics and closet entrepreneurs who care more about changing the world than pay raises, vacation time or 401(k) packages.