Intrapreneurship Takes Prominence: Why Employers Prefer Hiring Innovators?

October 24, 201610:38 am475 views

Could ‘intrapreneurship’ be the next buzz word of the corporate world? According to recruiting experts Hays, it’s gaining prominence as organisations look to their staff for innovations and make an entrepreneurial spirit part of their selection criteria when hiring new talent.

Intrapreneurship is the idea that individuals can, in some form, be encouraged to explore their own business ideas alongside their day jobs. It’s gaining prominence because many organisations are trying to improve internal innovation in order to compete with market disruptions, technology innovations and the impact of digital.

“The advent of nimbler start-ups, particularly in the technology sector, that are capable of disrupting entire industries has forced organisations of all sizes to wake up to the need to develop new business lines and models,” says Dean Stallard, Regional Director of Hays in Hong Kong.

“There’s also a growing realisation that such ideas might just emanate from staff themselves rather than being dreamt up across the boardroom table.”

Along with business benefits, Intrapreneurship offers recruitment and retention advantages. Individuals are given the freedom to explore their own ideas without having to leave the organisation and are more engaged as a result. There’s also a strong attraction benefit, which can be hugely significant in sectors where talent is in demand.

How can an organisation encourage Intrapreneurship?

Kenny Ching, Assistant Professor of Strategy at UCL School of Management, suggests three approaches:

  • Formally incorporate Intrapreneurial activities as part of performance-review schemes
  • Employ more flexible schemes that allow would-be Intrapreneurs to spend time away to develop ideas
  • Develop an informal culture that allows ideas to be safely discussed, with no repercussions on performance. For example, idea competitions.

An Intrapreneurship culture still struggles to thrive in some organisations for a number of reasons, according to Ching they could be:

  • Large corporations are generally designed around efficiency and exploitation of discovered and established market opportunities, so intrapreneurship runs in conflict with that.
  • Second, large organizations tend to be hierarchical and top down, while intrapreneurial initiatives should be bottom-up in nature.
  • Intrapreneurship is also very difficult for employees to embrace as it often entails them having to challenge the existing corporate culture or activities within the organization.

“It is only by having a genuine leadership commitment with the backing of other stakeholders that such a culture can develop.”

Dr Mark Kennedy, Associate Professor of Strategy and Organisational Behaviour, and Director of the KPMG Centre for Advanced Business Analytics at Imperial College Business School believes, “HR needs to think about how to manage the person’s transition between their everyday job role and their work on new ideas, and coach them on how to deal with failure and not to be downcast. Intrapreneurship is more likely to be successful when these strategies are in place.”



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