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Are you neglecting your intrapreneurs?

Posted in Employers on Jun 26, 2017 by Keeley Edge

Intrapreneurship is being adopted by more and more forward-thinking companies and many see it as a vital part of their business development. Innovation and creativity are essential in the fast-paced world of business. New technologies are being developed on an almost daily basis and businesses that want to get ahead have to keep up with ever-changing demands.

Embracing intrapreneurship and utilising the talent and creativity within your team can help you stay ahead in your industry. 

What is an intrapreneur?

Intrapreneurship is not a new concept. The word was used as far back as the 1980s and companies like Google, Facebook and Sony actively encourage intrapreneurs.

The simple definition of an intrapreneur is an entrepreneur that works within an established company. Whereas an entrepreneur builds a new business or venture from conception, an intrapreneur develops new ideas, processes, products or services within an existing business.

Intrapreneurs will already have skills and knowledge that are directly applicable to the business that they are working in so are able to take more calculated risks.

In larger corporations, intrapreneurs are given the freedom and financial support to create and innovate without having to follow usual company protocol or routine. In smaller companies, there may be certain restraints.


Why you should embrace intrapreneurs

Companies need individuals who are innovative, driven and passionate. Their input can be invaluable and should wholeheartedly be embraced. Many of the best ideas for improving efficiency in companies have come from intrapreneurs. 

Employees who have their ideas suppressed or ignored will become increasingly frustrated. They will eventually stop generating ideas or simply leave your company to work for themselves or a competitor. Letting your employees use their talents and reach their potential will satisfy their urge to be in control without forcing them into a career change.

Not only will you improve employee retention, you will also attract more talent to your company. The more intrapreneurs you attract the more innovation and growth you will have in your business.

Virgin is a great example of a company that actively encourages intrapreneurship and they have identified nine ways in which it has changed the way they do business. Clearly, if done well, intrapreneurship offers many benefits.


How to recognise an intrapreneur

The good news is you probably already have intrapreneurs within your company and these should be relatively easy to identify.

They take initiative

Intrapreneurs will be the people in your business who solve problems effectively without constantly needing instruction. They show initiative and just get on with the job.

They are creative

Intrapreneurs are innovative and forward-thinking. They may have already come to you with suggestions and ideas for improving systems or processes.

They are curious

Intrapreneurs will ask questions. They’ll want to understand the bigger picture and will be keen to learn about all areas of the business.

They bring solutions not problems

Intrapreneurs will look for a way to resolve a problem before they bring it to you. Rather than ask you how to fix something, they will probably be seeking approval to go ahead with one of their own suggestions.

They put themselves forward

Intrapreneurs are driven and ambitious and will put themselves forward to organise or lead projects. They’ll always be looking for opportunities to grow and develop themselves and their ideas.


Empowering your intrapreneurs

Not everyone in your business will be an intrapreneur and it is important to have a full mix of personality types to make a business work. You can ensure you have a good balance by using psychometric testing in your recruitment.

Once you have identified your intrapreneurs then you need to give them a platform to innovate. Giving them the freedom to express and explore their ideas will allow them to unlock their full talent and potential.

The important thing to understand is that not every idea will work. Just as many start-up businesses fail, many start-up initiatives will fail. You need to allow for some element of risk and support your intrapreneurs in their failures.

Set budget expectations, trial ideas on a small scale before rolling them out and help your intrapreneurs refine ideas that aren’t quite working. The more ideas that are conceived, the more likely you are to find one that works.


At Key Appointments, we believe in helping our clients become better businesses that are more attractive to employees. We’ve partnered with a number of specialist companies that can help with business growth, employee engagement, training and development, and HR.

If you need professional advice on recruiting and retaining the best talent or would like us to put you in touch with any of our partners then contact us today.

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