Here is How Companies Can Promote Intrapreneurship
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Entrepreneurship is not about leaving your 9-5 jobs and starting your company. It is a passion – to solve problems and then scaling the project up in the right direction. Which is why we believe, there is an entrepreneur in each one of us – we just need to find our problems to take the idea up.
Here is when the concept of intrapreneur emerges. According to Investopedia, an intrapreneur is an inside entrepreneur, or an entrepreneur within a large firm, who uses entrepreneurial skills without incurring the risks associated with those activities.
In simple words, employees who work on the innovative projects and solution within a company are generally known as intrapreneurs. The key difference between both the sets is – while entrepreneurs are on their own, intrapreneurs have company’s resources at their disposal.
One of the classic examples of an intrapreneur is Paul Buchheit, the man behind our mailbox – Google's Gmail, which in the early 2000s was in the news for its innovation in search and storage solutions. Buchheit is also known for his work on Google AdSense during his tenure at the internet company.
Considering the growing trend to promote intrapreneurship withing organizations, Pratish Nair - the MD and Founder at Prahlad Kakar School Of Branding and Entrepreneurship (PKSBE) in a conversation with Entrepreneur India shares how companies can promote entrepreneurship:
Stop Treating Them as Employees
After recruiting the employee, most employers demonstrate a ‘Boss and Slave’ attitude which often looks at treating the employee like a person working for the boss and not the company. In order to maintain a healthy working environment, it is paramount to not impose duties on your workforce.
Instead, Nair suggests the promoters to make their employees believe that they are an essential part of the company by giving them the freedom to work on tasks their way within the allocated deadline.
Most of the managers constantly administer and micro-manage each action undertaken by the employees.
“During the training period, supervision is essential but post that every employee should be granted with the opportunity of completing a task through their preferred approach. Therefore to explore the potential of the hired employee, managers & employers need to refrain from constant supervision,” he adds.
Let Them Free
It is important to understand that if your personnel is always controlled, they will be robotic. Therefore, Nair feels making an employee the best asset of your company, it is essential to grant them with freedom of making their own choices.
The key is to make your employees leaders since leaders are the ones who make decisions. This will not only enable the employees to feel empowered but also make them better crisis managers.
Move Over KRA
The monotonous routine of sending MIS reports to the company managers disable the employees to make the most of their potential since the focus is to merely accomplish the daily task.
“An alternative approach to tracking progress and performance can be conducting personal interactions with the people on a regular basis,” he shares while adding that, “This approach helps the managers to understand the untapped potential of the employees and also encourage them to undertake tasks beyond the areas already assigned to them.”
Let Them Take Risk
Trust is the best feeling a company can award to their employees. It is true that money and appraisals hold importance, but there is no bigger motivation than knowing that the company manager/employer stands by its employees regardless of the risks involved in it.
A gift of this kind makes the employee feel like an owner. Nair says, “Intrapreneurs make mistakes on a daily basis hence it is crucial for managers to support the decisions made by the employees and solve them collaboratively in case it fails to provide forecasted results.”
Back in the time, India amongst other countries did not pay due respect to the dignity of labour which to a certain level introduced the system of hierarchy in organizations.
But today that thought process has evolved over time and new organizations do not see a hierarchy system rather they have open discussions and there is comfort between the boss and the employee.
“When titles and hierarchies are abolished every member of the company becomes the owner which evokes a sense of empowerment and leadership within the organization,” he concluded.