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What is intrapreneurship and why is it important?

Companies are no longer seen by employees only as a place they go to work. Work is a catalyst for constant learning. Employees are also looking for recognition and autonomy. Today, they are seeking meaning in their professional activities. Therefore, businesses must transform and reinvent themselves. They should disrupt their own model in order to continue to innovate and develop new projects.

One of organizations’ main objectives is also to unite their employees around common values, challenges, and culture. To achieve these goals, companies must be able to count on their employees, as they are the ones who know the company and its customers and processes the best.

To do so, the implementation of an intrapreneurship program within the organization can reveal hidden talents and stimulate the commitment of its employees, team cohesion, while being a lever for growth. 

Intrapreneurship: definition

Intrapreneurship is acting like an entrepreneur within an organization. The intrapreneur transforms their idea into a finished product, a service, or a profitable process for their employer.

An intrapreneurial approach encourages and promotes risk-taking, innovation, and employee motivation. Much like when corporate organizations with a startup, employees can carry out their initiative like a mini venture. 

What is an intrapreneur?

An intrapreneur is an individual within a company who takes on entrepreneurial qualities, such as innovation and risk-taking, to drive growth and achieve success within their organization. They often act as a catalyst for change, creating a new product, service, process or new business that drives the company forward. The goal of intrapreneurship is to bring an innovative spirit and drive entrepreneurship into established organizations. 

A comprehensive HR tool

Business continuity and operational efficiency have always been difficult topics to address. But with the recent times of crisis, they have been even more challenging. The need to build business resilience is greater than ever… So how do you do it? Through intrapreneurship, you value the emotional commitment employees have to their work and the company’s goals.

Statistics show that companies with high employee engagement tend to: 

  • Increase productivity
  • Have higher profits
  • Have lower turnover

Intrapreneurship at the service of a global strategy is a powerful tool that brings together :

  • Employee engagement through continuous learning, a common culture, which encourages their autonomy.
  • Operational efficiency thanks to a better knowledge of the company and its market as well as pro-activity and innovation.
  • Participative management uniting teams around common objectives and promotes trust and transparency.

What are the challenges of intrapreneurship in times of crisis?

In the aftermath of the coronavirus crisis, it became essential for companies to make strategic choices to reduce their costs and risks. This has to be done to maintain their economic balance. In such circumstances, effective crisis management practices must be put in place.

Companies that integrate crisis management into their strategy are able to reduce negative impacts on capital by 60%. On the contrary, companies that did not integrate these practices suffered capitalization losses of up to 11% and share price losses of 15%. Despite the obvious benefits of these practices, it has been shown that only 30% of organizations have crisis management plans.

In times of crisis, many make the mistake of focusing solely on resources external to the company. But the resilience of organizations lies in what they already have at their fingertips: their own ecosystems. No one knows your company better than your employees. People resilience is what structures an organization’s ability to weather a crisis and recover during and after it.

overcoming the unexpected with the help of your employees whitepaper cover

Whitepaper: Overcoming the unexpected with the help of your employees

How to encourage intrapreneurship?

You have a team of talented individuals with the potential to be intrapreneurs, ready to drive growth in your company. So, how do you identify them?

Fostering intrapreneurship involves listening to employee ideas and providing them with space to develop. However, you need a structured process in place to help these ideas reach their full potential.

Intrapreneurs: how to engage them?

Taking the perspective of intrapreneurs into consideration is crucial to boost employees’ engagement and ability to think outside the box. To them, a supportive intrapreneurial environment within your company is essential. 

When an intrapreneur feels that their idea is valued by their organization, it increases their motivation as they see the potential for a positive impact on the company’s future. Research indicates that 82% of employees have have thought of ways to improve the business.

Having access to company resources, as well as advisors and mentors, strengthens the bond between the employee and the organization. Additionally, being a successful intrapreneur offers financial rewards and opportunities for career advancement. The end result is that when an intrapreneurial idea comes to fruition, everyone benefits.

How to set up an intrapreneurial culture in your organization?

Before launching your intrapreneurship program, here are some best practices for HR managers:

Encourage collaboration & frequent communication with employees

Meaningful communication and collaboration will ensure transparency and cooperation among employees. This will help prevent any unexpected changes. Organizations can also be mobilized to actively design solutions. Successful intrapreneurship can only bring forward executable outcomes if there are frequent, structured touchpoints. 

Set clear priorities and encourage others to explore and implement solutions

Many ideas are better than one; being a leader does not mean you are alone. Leverage your collaborators – think of them as teammates and encourage others to come forward with their ideas. Set appropriate priorities and ensure that others are guided by them. It is important to make sure that time and resources are not wasted in difficult times. For intrapreneurship to flourish within an existing organization, the company as a whole must stand behind the priorities and form a culture of innovation. 

Protect your employees

Employees need to feel protected by their employer, especially during difficult times. Keep the system intact where their voice can be heard – that way they can contribute to changes in the company, and feel more engaged and secure. Give them the ability to adapt and evolve quickly to foreign situations or protocols. Large firms should select a group of employees who demonstrate leadership skills and have access to colleagues and broader teams to facilitate this protection through clear communication from management to employees and vice versa. 

What are the main benefits of intrapreneurship?

The extent to which employees will take initiative without being asked, largely depends on your ability to create an intrapreneurial culture within a business. While this is often considered a big undertaking, the benefits associated with intrapreneurship are motivational to say the least. 

1. Promotes employee loyalty and mental security

Launching an internal challenge will show employees that entrepreneurial behavior is supported in the company. It promotes an open culture where sharing ideas becomes common. When employees feel heard, their loyalty to the company is strengthened and contributes to their sense of protection. It also gives them the opportunity to express themselves, thus contributing to the company as an adaptive response to crises.

2. Develops learning by doing

It’s not enough to solicit ideas from experts; they must gather information, design solutions, implement them and refine them as they go. Active learning is the key to stimulating employees; humans are inherently drawn to knowledge acquisition and personal growth. 

3. Stimulates innovation and creativity

It is said that the type of innovation a company engages in determines its productive results. When faced with an internal innovation challenge, employees would actively collaborate with each other, share their knowledge, skills, and expertise. Expecting employees to undertake something new and take responsibility for creating new business opportunities, it will encourage employees to take the lead and generate innovative ideas. As a result, it will increase the overall productivity of the company.

4. Solve problems with a crowdsourcing approach

Your employees are one of your company’s most productive assets. Why reinvent the wheel when you can maximize the value of internal expertise within an existing business? When you facilitate intrapreneurship, you can solve problems using the internal resources and talents already at your disposal. 

Read also: Crowdsourcing Ideas from Employees

5. Break down silos

Experience has shown that the degree of complexity of a crisis makes it necessary to use experts from different fields. These experts are already in your company. Intrapreneurship creates opportunities to break down the silos, and can help in bridging the gap between different people and areas of expertise. 

The Rise of Intrapreneurs: Driving Innovation within Organizations

Intrapreneurship is a growing trend within organizations, as more companies seek to foster a culture of innovation and drive growth from within. As mentioned, an intrapreneur is an individual within a larger organization who exhibits entrepreneurial characteristics and behavior to bring new ideas to life. 

With access to the resources and support of a well-established company, intrapreneurs have a lower risk profile and the opportunity to make a significant impact on the business and its stakeholders. By promoting a culture of entrepreneurship and encouraging employees to think like business owners, organizations can tap into a powerful source of innovation and drive growth from within. The rise of intrapreneurs is a promising trend for both individuals and organizations alike.

For employees the main benefits to participate in an intrapreneurship program are:

  1. Access to resources: Intrapreneurship may get you access to the resources and support of a large organization, such as funding, personnel, technology, and established networks.
  2. Reduced risk: Intrapreneurs have a lower risk profile compared to traditional entrepreneurs, as they have the backing of a well-established company.
  3. Opportunities for professional growth: Being an intrapreneur provides opportunities for individuals to develop their leadership and management skills, as well as expand their networks and gain experience in new areas.
  4. Potential for impact: Intrapreneurs have the opportunity to drive meaningful change within their organizations and make a significant impact on the business and its stakeholders.

Read also: How to set up value-creating innovation processes

To conclude

The disruptions and uncertainty created by crisis remind us of what makes us human. Companies should learn to work with their diverse talents and empower them to meet these challenges. Of all the innovation principles and leadership strategies mentioned for fighting crises, the key qualities that help leaders and organizations remain resilient are engaging with your most productive assets in your business – your employees. 

To extract high-potential ideas and create a culture that promotes intrapreneurship within the firm, a structured solution that enables stakeholder collaboration and open communication is key. Set up your own idea and innovation management funnel with the help of advanced software and expertise by the Agorize team. We’ll be happy to support your intrapreneurial objectives and demonstrate how our platform accelerates innovation and growth. 

Ready to empower your team through an intrapreneurship program?

Sources:

1 MacLeod, David. “What Is Employee Engagement – Engage For Success”. Engage For Success, 2019

2 West, Mary Beth. “Crisis Management’s Real-Time Frontier: Using New Technology to Secure Critical Data.” The Public Relations Strategist : Issues and Trends That Affect Management 9.3 (2003)

3 2 Henry, Rene A. You’d Better Have A Hose If You Want To Put Out The Fire. Gollywobbler Productions, 2000.

FAQ

What is entrepreneurship?

Intrapreneurship involves acting like an entrepreneur within an organization. An intrapreneur is an individual within a company who exhibits entrepreneurial qualities such as innovation and risk-taking to drive growth and success within the organization.

How does intrapreneurship contribute to business continuity and operational efficiency?

Intrapreneurship contributes to business continuity and operational efficiency by leveraging the emotional commitment employees have to their work and the company’s goals. It encourages continuous learning, a common culture that promotes autonomy, and enhances operational efficiency through better knowledge of the company and its market, proactivity, and innovation.

What are the main benefits of intrapreneurship for organizations?

– Promoting employee loyalty and mental security.
– Developing learning by doing and fostering innovation and creativity.
– Solving problems with a crowdsourcing approach.
– Breaking down silos and promoting collaboration among experts from different fields within the organization.

How can organizations encourage intrapreneurship?

Organizations can encourage intrapreneurship by fostering a supportive environment for employee ideas. This involves listening to employee ideas, providing space for development, and implementing a structured process to help ideas reach their full potential. Engaging intrapreneurs with access to company resources, advisors, and mentors is crucial for success.

How to set up an intrapreneurial culture in an organization?

HR managers can set up an intrapreneurial culture by:
– Encouraging collaboration and frequent communication with employees.
– Setting clear priorities and encouraging exploration and implementation of solutions.
– Protecting employees by providing a platform for their voices and ensuring adaptability to changes.

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