What distinguishes a traditional corporate culture from one where intrapreneurship is encouraged? One is more creative, agile and efficient.
I'll let you guess which one!
The term "intrapreneurship" comes from the contraction of the words "internal" and "entrepreneurship". It is used to designate a movement that values the leadership and initiative of innovative employees within an organization.
By deploying an intrapreneurial culture internally, you encourage the development of intrapreneurs. These creative, curious and motivated employees become a vector of continuous innovation and real agents of change.
If you have never heard it, I invite you to read the famous story of the employee behind the invention of Post-it. While trying to produce a super adhesive glue, he mistakenly created the self-adhesive notepad. This anecdote is a great demonstration of an employee who knew how to transform a failure into a real gold mine! This would not have been possible in a too strict and procedural work environment.
Now, how do you integrate intrapreneurship into your business? What are the steps to get there?
Understanding the impact of intrapreneurship on your company
A company encourages intrapreneurial culture as a model of innovation to renew its position in a market or to conquer a new one. To do so, it must create an environment conducive to the development of new projects for its employees.
Intrapreneurship can generate the restructuring of teams, the creation of a new department or the addition of new products and services. One thing is certain, it is an initiative that contributes to the growth of the organization through the mobilization and creativity of your staff.
Intrapreneurship as a lever of commitment and creativity
The success of intrapreneurship depends on the often untapped needs, talents and resources of employees. When recruiting or developing a career plan, you have to discover your employee's entrepreneurial aspirations.
Intrapreneurs are often visionaries with the potential to start a business but prefer the security of a job. For them, the possibility of being creative within the company offers the perfect balance between comfort and ambition.
For the employee who agrees to participate in the experience, it is an opportunity for professional development. Indeed, the intrapreneur constantly challenges himself and, thus, can acquire new knowledge and skills.
Integrate intrapreneurship in your corporate culture
Paméla Bérubé, CHRP and President of PB Dimension RH, believes that companies have every interest in promoting the integration of intrapreneurship in the workplace.
With the advent of major transformations, it is essential for organizations to initiate an agile turn and initiate shared management within their work teams. A culture that will involve and empower each individual on several levels, according to their roles and responsibilities, will be fertile ground for present intrapreneurs and those to become!
It’s high management that determines what place intrapreneurship takes in the organization. Managers must clearly define the guidelines and communicate constantly favored behaviors.
To optimize their development, intrapreneurs must also receive support that is specific, personalized and adapted to their needs. Among the main skills to promote are agility, innovation, and leadership.
The challenges of managing intrapreneurs
Despite their role as innovators, intrapreneurs are often creative and rebellious minds, which can disrupt your teams. They will question traditional management and will tend to ignore the hierarchical structure.
It is therefore important that managers listen and find ways to bring the two cultures together. It is necessary to review the professional paths of the employees, but also of the executives who must adapt their management methods.
Success factors for intrapreneurship
Several factors influence the success of integrating an intrapreneurial culture into your organization. Here are a few to consider:
- Make intrapreneurship a business value.
- Focus on results rather than processes.
- Train management and staff in the intrapreneurial spirit.
- See intrapreneurship as a philosophy and not a goal.
- Recognize and empower employees with high creative potential.
- Recruit intrapreneurs to energize certain work teams.
- Encourage a sense of initiative and be flexible in the allocation of resources.
- Let go of standard procedures and trust the judgment of employees.
The most important thing is to always make sure that the organization and the staff have the same vision. If everyone's intention remains the growth of the business, it will be easier to collaborate on the road to success.
Developing the intrapreneurial spirit through online training
To organize the integration of intrapreneurship within your company, you should offer an online training program. In it, you can include 2 types of training: those intended for the adaptation of methods (change management) and those intended for the development of intrapreneurs.
While the first type should be mandatory, the second one is rather offered according to the employees' career plans. They can serve as an incentive for staff retention and allow for investment in talent internally. By giving access to these online training courses, each employee becomes responsible for their own progress, at their own pace.
Paméla Bérubé from PB Dimension RH tells us:
The deployment of the potential of each employee is optimized by a culture favoring the difference and the complementarity of all. Encouraging initiatives and establishing a learning culture are key factors for the transformation of organizations. Whether by return after a failure (post-mortem), a training program linked to a career plan or an internal learning community, the companies that will stand out will be the ones that will show kindness and uniqueness with their employees!
The key steps to developing intrapreneurship among your employees
1. Knowing your team
It is essential to know what your employees' needs are in order to be more fulfilled and involved. To recognize intrapreneurs, it is necessary to detect in a person strong creativity and a high sense of initiative.
The “ideal” intrapreneur is one who, beyond innovation, knows how to motivate and inspire his colleagues. He is an employee who likes to give meaning to his work and to have an impact.
2. Encourage autonomy
The more hierarchical levels and strict procedures, the more difficult it is for an employee to innovate. Although you must set a clear framework, giving maximum freedom facilitates the achievement of intrapreneurship objectives.
It is still advisable to give deadlines and deliverables to be able to assess the success of the process. However, inviting intrapreneurs to participate in the development of these criteria feeds their commitment and motivation towards the project.
Opportunities for advancement and growth within a business are powerful strategies for retaining staff. Trust your employees and give them the flexibility to use their own work methods.
Although he enjoys his job security, let the employee understand the impact of his actions. Explain to him the costs, risks, and results related to his work so that he can experience the reality of entrepreneurship more intimately.
4. Train your staff
There is no better way to develop internal expertise than training. Investing in the development of your employees shows them your encouragement and support. Motivation will be directly impacted!
Do not hesitate to establish personalized learning plans for each of your employees to involve them in their professional development.
5. Show appreciation
Be attentive to the needs of your employees in terms of their work environment. Introduce measures that facilitate schedule flexibility, comfort at work and reconciliation of personal and professional lives.
Regularly recognize and reward the efforts and achievements of your team! Offer your support in projects and highlight the good things in a personalized and sincere way.
Preparing the field for an intrapreneurial shift
Now that you know why encouraging intrapreneurship will benefit your organization, you can begin to prepare the field. On your online training platform, you can already publish content of interest for your future intrapreneurs.
To develop the leadership of your employees, it is necessary to strengthen their technical skills (hard skills), but especially their general skills (soft skills). These improve the ability of an individual to build relationships and manage a team, for example.
Several companies such as Boostalab offer simple tools for developing leaders. Among the soft skills that can be put forward, with the highest priority are:
- Decision making
- Teamwork and team management
- Problems and conflict management
- Emotional intelligence and empathy
- Project management (deadlines, budgets)
Whether you plan to adopt an intrapreneurial culture or not, training your employees for this skill set will not be lost! You will have staff better prepared to become competent leaders, therefore more likely to apply for internal offers.