Last Saturday, I began teaching my latest class, the core entrepreneurship course in DePaul’s weekend MBA program. Typically, I have a couple students who are either entrepreneurs or work for small firms. This time around, however, I was surprised to hear that virtually every one of the 18 worked for a mid-sized or large company.
One works for a small, private college and two others work for mid-sized companies with $200 – $250 million in annual revenue. The others work for large corporations like Hospira, Motorola, Accenture, etc.
Later in the class session, we discussed the entrepreneurial revolution that has taken place over the past 20 years. When I asked the students why this revolution had taken place, they mentioned several driving factors including technology, changing lifestyle preferences, increased downsizing and, of course, lower employee loyalty.
I then asked how many are loyal to their employers. Only three raised their hands. When asked why, they said that either the company had treated them well or their current managers had treated them well. On the one hand, I was surprised the ratio was one out of six. On the other hand, I wasn’t at all.
And while this certainly wasn’t a scientific study (although it does reinforce the findings of one well-known scientific study), what really got me thinking was how this played right into the hands of entrepreneurs and second-stage companies.
The more I talk with them these days, the more I’m hearing how they continue to find amazing talent for less than they thought. And I’m also hearing that they’re keeping the good people who, in and after a recession, still have strong job prospects. So that tells me that these professionals who may have taken a pay cut to work for a smaller company are remaining loyal, at least for the present.
So chalk this up as another reason why people should start companies today, or push for growing their existing one. There’s not only great talent to be had but also a higher likelihood that you can hold onto that talent.