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Greg Kyle-Langley Headshot

Young People Should Be Entrepreneurial Within Corporations

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If organizations give their young employees influence and responsibility at an early age, they can unlock energy and loyalty they would otherwise never see.

Young employees have never been less loyal, with Millennials expecting to stay in each job less than three years.

The greatest aspiration of the most talented young businesspeople today is not to make the slow ascent up the corporate ladder to the C-suite, in fact the opposite -- they want to get out. They see those first few years within corporates as a necessary slog to earn the capital for their first start-up.

While a whole generation of aspiring entrepreneurs is great news for economic growth and innovation over the medium-term, it should be terrifying for the lumbering behemoths of the S&P and FTSE.

If these large organizations want to attract & hang on to the best young talent, they need to give them the opportunities to unleash their energy and creativity on the business from an early age.

But the responsibility for this approach doesn't lie solely with senior management. Young, ambitious employees shouldn't wait for an invitation -- they should step up to design, create and deliver projects above their pay grade.

I spoke recently at the One Young World summit in Pittsburgh, Pa., on the entrepreneurialism of leadership -- that you don't need to wait until you're contractually obliged to lead an organization; take an entrepreneurial approach to the firm you work within.

Where you see problems, rather than look for a new employer, find a solution that's easy for your target audience to adopt, put together a business plan and pitch it to the board. People don't say 'no' to good ideas.

Even better, do what we've done at my firm and create the structure for this to happen on a regular basis. Our Young Leaders' Forum (YLF) creates and delivers meaningful projects that have a real impact throughout our organization, right across the globe.

With a management of 20 employees below the age of 30, and another 200 members learning, inputting and helping to deliver, the YLF is rapidly changing the culture of our organisation to one where people feel empowered to change things for the better, regardless of their role.

And this was the founding goal behind its creation: to move from a situation where staff feel they are merely the employees of their employer -- the company paid them, they turned up for work -- to a relationship as members of an organization, in which the success and innovation of the firm is the responsibility and privilege of everyone.

It's important to recognize that this isn't some kind of youthful revolution -- this wouldn't be possible without the support of the board. However, there couldn't be more of a mutual interest here: the management get fresh ideas and release untapped energy, and younger employees get to show what they're really capable of.

I'm now working with some fellow One Young World Ambassadors to bring a similar approach to well-known organisations on both sides of the Atlantic. The more firms that unlock the energy, creativity and potential of their under-challenged young staff, the stronger we'll all drive economic growth.