Leadership experts always encourage their managers to inspire their employees to take on responsibilities and do something different from the corporate experience. They support the culture, which gives enough support and freedom to be “intrapreneurs” within the organization. And that is where we get the concept of intrapreneurship coming in.
Definition of Intrapreneurship
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Intrapreneurship is when employees have an entrepreneurial spirit internally. It’s as if [each member of your] staff is running his or her own business. They can do it on their own or within [their department]. It’s all about having a good system in place.” said Phil Shawe, co-founder, and co-CEO of business language services firm TransPerfect.
When a business has an environment that enables its workers to be entrepreneurs within the boundaries of their business, it is intrapreneurship. In simple language, intrapreneurship is entrepreneurship in the corporate world. Such people self-motivated, proactive, and action-oriented, and any future failure does not affect them personally because it’s the business that absorbs all the losses.
Why is Intrapreneurship Important?
Intrapreneurship is vital for a lot of reasons. Some of them are-
1. Innovation and change
Organizations need to be continually innovating. But, innovation on its own is not enough. Organizations need to lay the foundations for innovation; the right people, the right processes, and the right environment. And it is intrapreneurship that offers that environment, encouraging and sustaining innovation over time. Thus, innovation and intrapreneurship are inter-related, and you need both of them to be successful.
Intrapreneurship aims to build the entrepreneurial spirit and infrastructure required to support growth and development. During a recession or slowdown, businesses find it critical to make smart investments in the business future. They know that they need to grow; they just don’t know how to improve. Intrapreneurship is the answer.
Once people are granted independence and real responsibilities, they are bound to feel empowered, perform better, and shine as true leaders. Therefore, Intrapreneurship fosters leadership skills across the organization. It is necessary to note that nurturing intrapreneurship applies to every level of an organization, and should not be restricted to senior positions solely.
4. Attracting and retaining the top talents
Organizations with a reputation for cultivating intrapreneurs continue to recruit individuals with the most competitive and ambitious skill set. They don’t merely obey instructions, but also love challenges, come up with practical solutions and work diligently to execute those resolutions.
5. Employee engagement
Intrapreneurship offers a forum to involve employees in research, get involved, and try out new stuff. Thus, intrapreneurship boosts employee engagement. Again, it is no wonder that that engagement often increases the company’s efficiency and competitiveness and boosts employees’ morale. It might be a challenging thing to do, but it is meaningful.
How To Foster Intrapreneurship In Your Organization
Intrapreneurship effort has a lot to do with your company culture, and it is not an overnight event. Here are a few tips that you can work on to create a new culture of intrapreneurship.
1. Redefine the job description
Jim Mulato, President Astronics Test Systems (ATS) in Irvine, California, says, “Hire people who will connect the dots and see beyond their personal duties.”
It would help if you made the job descriptions more thoughtful and without limitations. Instead of keeping those same old descriptions, it should include duties like taking on and solving significant issues, suggesting new product/service concepts, improving customer experience and finding ways to minimize costs and streamline operations. It will ensure that your business’s needs are met by a person who has the enthusiasm and the capacity to deliver results.
2. Offer personality tests
Personality tests during employee onboarding will provide a vital insight into the employee’s behaviors, desires, and abilities. It will give you the details about how they can succeed in the business in the long term.
3. Maintain transparency
Regardless of their individual positions, involving your employees in company-wide decisions will make them feel more engaged in day-to-day business activities. Thus, it is important to maintain transparency and to trust your employees with important company information.
4. Switch roles
If you see that your employees are not using their talents and passions in a particular job, you can transfer them into a new position that matches their skills. It will bring more value to the company. However, you should not do too many switch roles quickly, as it may have a reverse reaction on your soon-to-be intrapreneurs.
5. Reward intrapreneurial behaviors
Rewards and recognition make everyone feel special and boost both extrinsic and intrinsic motivation in the workplace. Leaders and managers should reward the pro-active behavior of the intrapreneurs who take responsibility and find ways to raise revenue, productivity, or product on their own.
6. Pay appropriately
Apart from rewards, a good pay structure will inspire hard work and commitment. It would be best if you considered all their efforts to go above and beyond their duties, that is, for both the quality and quantity of work they do.
7. Support intrapreneurs through their failure
When they make mistakes, they need to know that you have their backs. According to Wain Kellum, President Vonage Business Solutions, “We have found that we need to empower and give ownership to intrapreneurs, and that includes permission to mess up. When they make mistakes, we want them to let us know their thought process, and learn how to do better in the future. Often, mistakes are not intentional and can be used as teachable moments, not only for one employee but also possibly for the company as a whole. We don’t want the fear of failure to hold people back.” Well, this speaks a lot.
8. Encourage healthy competition
Intrapreneurs should have a healthy sense of competition to do the best job they can and produce results. As a result, it’s your responsibility to make sure that they know that their success is interconnected.