Attracting and Growing Talent: Skillpreneurs

Skillpreneurs – Your Company’s Secret Weapons

I’d like to make a proposition: let’s stop focusing on the Millennials and look at the bigger picture of people who have the potential and talent to make waves in business.

I’m talking about highly skilled, self-driven people of all ages – Skillpreneurs – who are simply not motivated by traditional employer value propositions. They’re people that have specific, unique skills and talent and will go to the highest bidder. It’s just not about the employer that pays the best, however, its also where they can build their reputation, make an impact, enhance their resume or just get excited about a new challenge. If you hook these supernovas for your company you’ll be able to harness their energy and slingshot your business ahead.

PWC published a paper, The Future of Work – A Journey to 2022 in which it talks about the “Orange World Concept”.

The Orange World desire for autonomy is strongest in China, especially among young people, indicating a generational shift towards greater freedom, entrepreneurship and specialist skills in this rapidly evolving economy. Over half of participants in China believe that traditional employment won’t be around in the future. Instead, people will have their own ‘brands’ and sell their skills to those who need them.

I believe that the same is true for other parts in Asia where people don’t believe in the Western concept of “cradle-to-grave” is that important to people when it comes to work. In these cultures, personal entrepreneurship is welcomed and encouraged.

What Is A Skillpreneur? 

Skillpreneurs are definitely not your low maintenance employees. Consider the following traits that they all have:

  • Value flexibility and autonomy
  • Prefer short-term, quick rewards – not necessarily money
  • Thrive with change
  • Get bored from daily, repetitive tasks
  • Need challenges to keep their thinking juices flowing

You can’t micromanage them which means you can’t keep telling them what to do. If you’re not one for thinking out of the box, you might want to reconsider having a Skillpreneur in your team. They can be quite challenging but when motivated correctly, provide great results for themselves and the team.

Why Are They So Valuable?

The value of a Skillpreneur may be boxed by the size of your company and the amount of red-tape that they need to go through to do something new. If you’re a small, relatively flat organizational hierarchy, your company is more likely to have more space for a Skillpreneur to make an impact. The larger the distance between the bottom and top of your org chart, the less value you’ll be able to extract from them.

So why does it matter anyway? All people are a piece of a large puzzle when it comes to any organization right? Kind of. But what if a single puzzle piece could branch off and create a puzzle of their own that connects to the original source? What if, rather than just solving your business solution, you have these hidden people who can solve other problems that could expand your business? Now that’s power. Power for a person, power for the company.

How Do You Find, Retain And Engage Them?

Like I said, they’re not low maintenance. They’re people who need challenges and opportunities to keep growing. They also take pride in the company they work at. Here are a few things you have to keep in mind if you’re going to get the most out of your Skillpreneurs:

  1. They value their company’s reputation so stay on top of your employer branding initiatives.
  2. They’re not going to be looking for opportunities on traditional job boards so tap into the networks that they hang out in.
  3. You need to attract them with just the right bait so strengthen your employer value proposition and be clear about what you offer them.
  4. They value the “Why” of a business so have a company vision that they can’t ignore. 
  5. Make sure your HR policies and processes aren’t going to suffocate them and provide the flexibility that they require.

It’s a fast changing world with incredible opportunities from which to gain advantage. I bet you’ve got some Skillpreneurs in your company that are just waiting for some freedom. Find them, use them, let them use your company resources and let the sky be the limit.