Innovating HR Through Intrapreneurship

September 16, 201410:30 am2712 views

Intrapreneurship is what occurs when employees within established firms are granted opportunities to collaborate together and develop new ventures, or projects designed to increase workplace efficiency and profitability.

Short profiles published by delves into the intrapreneurial methods and successes of 3MOwens Corning, and Google’s “Innovaton Time Off,” an in-house programme dedicated to sponsoring and growing intrapreneurially innovations within the company.

Some products that have emerged from Googles intrapreneurial programme include products like Google AdSense, Google News and Gmail. Innovative products have emerged from such intrapreneurial innovations, such as the Post-It Note by 3M, the Sony Playstation and the Java programming language, developed by employees at Sun Microsystems.

Smaller companies have the benefit of being able to constantly evolve and innovate, due to a lack of bureaucracy and small group size. In larger organisations with greater complexity, innovation is often inhibited by their size and organisational culture. Entrepreneurship isn’t confined to startups and SMEs but something that can be initiated either by innovative employees wishing or managers seeking fresh ideas.

But where does HR play a role in the innovative process?How does HR contribute to the growth of entrepreneurial attitudes within an organisation?

See: HR Management: Individual Talent vs a Talented Team

The HR Business Partner Model

Dave Ulrichs HR business partner model, originally published and explained in the book Human Resource Champions, outlines a method of HR structure that would separate HR roles into partners of the firm, who establish relationships with customers and develop organizational capacities. explained the aim of this model is:

…to help HR professionals integrate more thoroughly into business processes and to align their day-to-day work with business outcomes.

In 2009, Jibran Bashir and Sara Afzal published a study titled “Adding Intrapreneurial role in HR business partner model.” This study extended the business partner model, offering four methods in which HR can act to foster organisational intrapreneurship – entrepreneurship within organisations. The four principles underlying this are:

  1. “HR should become a partner with the top management to help in strategy execution by aligning HR Systems with business strategy.”
  2. “HR should add its expertise to achieve work excellence so that costs are cut and quality is maintained through efficient delivery of HR System.”
  3. “HR should represent the employees’ concerns to senior management as well as coordinate with employees to ensure their contribution through competence and commitment.”
  4. “HR professionals should act as change leaders by contributing to process change and help improve the organization’s capacity to do so.”

HR employees can transform into entrepreneurs, via the development of new systems for providing human resources to both customers and employees. This intrapreneurial role of HR can prove that it add values to HRs role in human capital, by being able to generate direct income, resulting in profits for organisations.

Many firms today are looking to boost their competitive advantage through intrapreneurship and structural innovation. When selected and/or motivated employees are granted the opportunity to develop new ventures, as well as the resources by senior management, HR professionals have the opportunity to impact their environment and create organisational change.

Credit: Mahrer, N. (2014).How HR Can Innovate Through Intrapreneurship. HR Talent & Management; Image Credit: Opinião RH

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