Over the past decade, intrapreneurship has been on the rise and SMEs need to take notice. Here, Federico Re explains how hiring entrepreneurial employees can help your business remain competitive and ensure long-term survival.
Businesses need employees with entrepreneurial characteristics and habits to fuel growth and innovation. Over the past decade, intrapreneurship has been on the rise across global markets, particularly in the US and UK. In Australia, the surprising reality is that the term ‘intrapreneur’ is still a word that most people have not even heard of before.
More alarmingly, SME business owners are often questioning the relevance and importance of entrepreneurship (and intrapreneurship for that matter) within their own venture. The common and ignorant question asked is, “How can an intrapreneur add value to my business without causing disruption or headaches to the management team?”
The origins of the word
Let’s quickly look at the history and meaning of ‘intrapreneurship’. The simple fact is that the word 'intrapreneur' has been in the dictionaries since the 1990s. Essentially, 'intrapreneurship' is the practice of applying entrepreneurial skills and habits within an organisation by the employee.Intrapreneurship allows for innovative progress and development to occur in a speedier way within an organisation.
The key advantage of intrapreneurship is that the intrapreneur can leverage on the support and resources of the organisation itself that would otherwise not be available if that person was an entrepreneur working on their own business venture.
The role of an intrapreneur is more than just thinking outside the box or having a good idea. Intrapreneurs should also engage in operational work that leads to successful implementation and exploitation of ideas. Delivery of a new product or service into the marketplace requires the successful individual or team to proceed with persistence and determination throughout the process, regardless of the obstacles that lay in their path. Essentially, an intrapreneur would adopt the mindset, behaviour, and habits of a typical entrepreneur, taking into account the overall wellbeing of the company.
The future trend of intrapreneurship
It is becoming a known fact around the world that intrapreneurship is on the rise. More and more companies are embracing innovation and entrepreneurial habits within their organisation to fuel growth and increase the competitiveness of their business practice.
With the continued proliferation of new technology, social media, and fast changing consumer trends, we are witnessing a new generation of people entering the workforce, who possess the intrapreneurial spirit and desire to change the status quo and the way they work.
Why is intrapreneurship vital to an employee?
In today’s economic environment, businesses need more employees who regularly demonstrate ‘entrepreneurial’ characteristics and work habits to fuel growth. The success of an employee lies in their ability to manage short-term priorities, but equally maintain a strategic ‘entrepreneurial’ approach to their work on a daily basis.
Essentially, an entrepreneurial employee, or intrapreneur, will add value to the organisation beyond what is expected within their role, to set themselves apart from other employees. If you are a manager, executive, leader, or business professional working within a competitive, fast-paced, and complex business environment, intrapreneurship is a vital ingredient to the success of the individual, as well as for the long-term growth and survival of the organisation as a whole.
How to determine if an employee is entrepreneurially minded
- Do they think of your workplace as an environment to actualise their creativity?
- Do they get excited talking to other employees or like-minded colleagues about their creative and innovative ideas?
- Do they find the lifestyle or risk associated with running their own business venture unappealing?
- Do they wish to put their mark, or make a difference, on the company they work for?
- Do they consider themselves a steward of the business they work in?
If they have answered ‘yes’ to one or more of the questions above, they’re more likely to behave and perform like an intrapreneur.
Federico Re is an Entrepreneurial Coach.
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