Millennial intrapreneurs – what do they need to thrive?

February 15, 2017    Ann Clarke     ,

Accelerating innovation is key to winning the war for talent, for the process of innovation helps to attract and nurture the brightest and the best. And finding your ‘Intrapreneurs’ could well be the perfect starting place.

Intrapreneurs are internal entrepreneurs – they have drive, determination and an appetite to add value and support a business’s long-term goals. They live among your workforce already and, once found and harnessed properly, can deliver even greater value to your organisation.

Big corporates aren’t always renowned for being a hotbed of entrepreneurial spirit or for their ability to innovate and be nimble, but according to the CEO of American firm Rocket Space Inc, Michelle Mconomy, ‘the key is to either work with starts-ups, or like start-ups.” if you want the best talent in your organisation.

Although intrapreneurs are salaried and insulated from the risks usually associated with entrepreneurs, they crave autonomy, responsibility and purpose and are the engine room of business growth. They have an inherent need to solve problems and develop ideas and should be put to work in your organisation.

Businesses that aren’t naturally innovative often turn to acquisition as a means to achieve greater differentiation and growth, but the alternative is to harness the resource already in your business (for it will surely be there) and to create a company culture that celebrates commercial acumen and creative problem solving.

A survey of Millennials by Deloitte (2014) highlights the additional benefits of identifying and catering for Intrapreneurs. The survey revealed “70 percent of tomorrow’s future leaders might ‘reject’ what traditional organisations have to offer, preferring to work independently…in the long term.” In other words much of what Millennials are seeking can be found in businesses that embrace intrapreneurship.

Successfully finding and harnessing Intrapreneurs relies on keeping the right people and taking the time to seek out those people with the right skills in your current team. These employees will have the right blend of commercial acumen, appetite to learn, problem-solving mind-set, autonomy and drive.

Intrapreneurs thrive in collaborative environments that support how work is done and combine flexibility and mobility with both independent and team working. Give employees spaces to play, create and think, as well as the permission to innovate (which brings with it failure as well as success) and the intrapreneurs in your team will be clear for all to see.

We live in an age with an increasing appetite to contribute to wider society – both as individual employees and as businesses too. Social intrapreneurship is the name given to those people with a social conscience who want to use their enthusiasm and skills to solve wider social challenges, be that in relation to the environment, people, education or the communities they live in.

Launching a social intrapreneurship programme in your organisation will not only identify those employees with more to offer your business, but will improve brand image, support the bottom line and improve staff morale too.

Embrace the mentality of start-ups and give employees the opportunity to think freely and creativity. This is pivotal in attracting and perhaps more importantly, retaining the brightest and best.

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