A big thinker, a risk taker and a high performer; innovative, optimistic, experimental and agile. Do any of your employees fit this description? If so, it may be that they are “intrapreneurs”. Although employed full-time, these unique individuals have an entrepreneurial mentality. They’re motivated by more than just money, so chances are that if they’re freelancing on the side it’s for the enjoyment of it.
Given their drive and forward-thinking nature, they might not always be the easiest team members to manage. They thrive on opportunity and don’t like to feel stifled. Don’t be disillusioned, though. These employees are tremendously valuable to your company. In fact, if nurtured and given the right platforms to share their insights, they have the ability to positively impact how work is done.
Here are a couple of the ways intrapreneurs have the potential to make waves in all the right ways:
1. They challenge the status quo
Intrapreneurs bring fresh perspective and encourage companies to look at opportunities or challenges through an entrepreneurial lens. This is particularly valuable in today’s work world as new trends, technology and processes continue to emerge at a tremendous pace.
2. They’re forward-thinking and have ‘start-up work ethic’
Tying in with the previous point, intrapreneurs look ahead and quickly navigate smart ways of doing business. They’re willing to take risks to reach a goal and their determined work ethic helps carry them through.
3. They’re experimental
Intrapreneurs have curious minds. They enjoy exploring unknown avenues and trying new things. While some prefer to stay in a safe zone, where they know things won’t go wrong, intrapreneurs prefer to let their optimism lead the way.
4. They’re agile and persistent
When challenges arise, as they inevitably do, these individuals aren’t easily deterred. They adapt, find a solution and continue moving forward. They have a goal to reach, after all.
5. They’re naturally customer centric
Entrepreneurs aren’t strangers to liaising with clients, suppliers and other contacts directly. Intrapreneurs, similarly, see the value in bridging the gap between customers and the company. They know how important it is to hear the customer’s voice and to offer excellent customer service, and they act on this.
Knowing how valuable these employees are, you might be wondering how to avoid losing them. Here are a few tips:
1. Understand what really motivates them
As we said earlier, it’s not all about money. In our blog on intrinsic motivation we explore three effective motivators: autonomy, mastery and purpose. It’s highly likely that intrapreneurs will be far more driven by internal rewards and satisfaction than external rewards.
2. Engage with them
These individuals want to be involved. Engage with them to understand their concepts and proposed solutions and then give them a vision. This will enable them to work towards a goal or to carry out tasks with purpose and with their entrepreneurial drive switched on.
3. Give them the opportunity to grow
As mentioned, intrapreneurs don’t like to feel stifled. What you really want to do to attract and keep these employees on board is to foster their entrepreneurial spirits. Allow them to take on stimulating work gigs internally, perhaps even in other departments. Encourage internal mobility and agility with a platform like our gig technology – we’ve made it easy for you.
4. Create a safe space for vulnerability
To be a pioneer, an innovator and a risk taker is not always easy even though these qualities tend to come naturally to intrapreneurs; it takes courage and vulnerability. Brené Brown expands on the notion of vulnerability in one of the world’s most viewed TED Talks and subsequently in her Netflix special The Call to Courage. As bold as they are, intrapreneurs still make themselves vulnerable for the sake of innovation. Create a safe space for them in your company where they know they can take risks even if they fail.
Let your intrapreneurs soar, and you may see your company do the same.