Why do employees care about their jobs? What makes them loyal? What makes an employee engaged enough to go the extra mile?
If your employees' only motivation to show up and do good work is the paycheck coming, you're doing it wrong. The good news here is the best thing you can do for your employees is also the best thing for your company.
Foster and seek intrapreneurship. Intrapreneurship is the pathway to engaged employees. They'll care about the success of your company because they feel valued.
What's an Intrapreneur? You may Ask.
Intrapreneurs are people who work to create new processes, products, and innovations within the organization. They take on the responsibility of maintaining your adaptability, using your talents, and taking risks.
The term intrapreneur came about in 1978 by Gifford Pinchot II, a business school founder. He defined it as quite simply dreamers who do. He stated;
"Intrapreneurs are employees who do for corporate innovation what an entrepreneur does for his or her start-up."
An intrapreneur is supported by her company and given autonomy to explore new ideas and create new products for the benefit of the company. An intrapreneur is an entrepreneur as your employee.
Why's Intrapreneurship Necessary?
Change is the only constant in life. This is a cliched statement for a reason. Everything has a life cycle; everything is adapting and shifting or fading away. Fostering intrapreneurship helps keep your company agile, allowing you to supercharge growth and disrupt your entire industry.
In short, intrapreneurship is necessary as it increases your long-term sustainability. Leaning into intrapreneurship means drawing from a much larger pool of ideas with a variety of experience and individual talents. Fostering intrapreneurs means developing innovators, and innovation is where adaptability lives.
Value Your Employees and They'll Increase Company Value
Additionally, employers who see their employees as intrapreneurs are better able to engage their employees in the companies success. Creating space and providing resources for your employees to innovate speaks to trust and value their capabilities. This alone will motivate your creative thinkers far more effectively than their salary can get them. And outside of innovation, motivated and engaged employees are one of the biggest markers of a company's success.
Making intrapreneurship a way of life will breed innovation and push your company to its unthought-of potential.
Cautionary Tale of Kodiak
If you want to know what happens when you stomp out intrapreneurship from your company, look at pretty much any company that couldn't compete.
Kodiak is a perfect example. They went bankrupt because they were unable to compete with the digital camera market. This happened even though THEIR electrical engineer, Steven Sasson, invented the first digital camera. He presented his idea to the company, and they only saw a threat rather than an opportunity. They allowed him to develop the prototype but required him to keep his invention quiet, and the camera never went anywhere.
Where they could've had a leg up, they anchored themselves down.
How do You Actually Support Intrapreneurs?
Supporting intrapreneurs comes in all shapes and sizes.
DreamWorks offers free training for scriptwriting and pitching and will put their employees' ideas into development wherever they see promise.
Google gives employees hours during the week specifically to dedicate to innovative projects of their own choosing.
A good start is always valuing your employee's education, training, and career development. Many companies do this with stipends for higher education and/or sending employees to seminars and trainings. However, don't stop there. Create processes in which pitching ideas is easily accessible and plan on investing in the ideas of your employees. Show your employees you're prepared to follow through and support them in their innovation.
Need help creating an intrapreneur culture at your company? Give us a ring!