Make Your Employees Feel Like the Founder Companies should teach employees that failure is good and successful ideas are not born overnight

By Aniisu K Verghese

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If you were to ask any organization about its idea of the perfect employee, a few of the following characteristics would be sure to feature – they should be passionate, proactive, innovative, risk takers and should treat the company's business goals as their own. These traits would make this employee a perfect entrepreneur.

Intrapreneurship recognizes the need to harness the talent and potential of employees. The approach allows employees to gain the stability and structure of working for a company with the rewards of working for oneself, with the support and mentoring available within. Intrapreneurs are an asset to any organization as they bring fresh perspectives and chart progressive initiatives.

History is filled with examples of successful intrapreneurs from the biggest companies. Often, organizations are willing to spin off the ideas into new businesses with these intrapreneurs leading growth and driving success. Such people have always worked with freedom and inspiration and their biggest strength is that they never lose courage even while facing failure. They see opportunity where the world sees a roadblock.

Deloitte Digital's five insights into intrapreneurship highlight that intrapreneurs are driven by changing the status quo to develop innovations in-house. This can be achieved by generating and feeling an immovable sense of ownership to convert employees to intrapreneurs.

Nurturing Intrapreneurs from Within

The term intrapreneurship was termed by Gifford Pinchot in 1978 when workers were beginning to take more initiative and enjoying more freedom. In order to boost business outcomes, they started expanding beyond hierarchical limitations and exploring outlets of creativity that met their personal aspirations. Intrapreneurship is about finding opportunities where none exist and treading a path where no one has gone before. Today, some organizations empower employees to take time off work and use company resources to fix any specific problem innovatively.

Companies should teach employees that failure is good and successful ideas are not born overnight. They can encourage such qualities by providing leadership, timely support, nurture talent and appreciate noteworthy contributions publicly. This involves getting to know employees personally and encouraging them to understand business problems better. From a leader's point of view, being transparent about key skills that employees can hone and giving them the time, place and opportunity to pursue these goals, will help boost confidence among the workforce.

For instance, if an organization finds an employee who likes public speaking, it can involve that person as a host for company events on a large scale. Not only does the organization get a passionate individual who knows the company to volunteer, it also saves resources and creates a sense of goodwill. The employee in turn gets a platform to shape their skills, feels appreciated and develops a stronger bond with the organization.

Tapping into the Millennial Generation

With the millennial generation joining the workplace in droves, organizations are struggling to cope with ways to engage and retain them. Providing autonomy, opportunities to gain mastery and giving clear direction and purpose are among ways to inspire and motivate these employees to go the extra mile. With entrepreneurship tools and resources at their disposal, all employees and not just millennials, can bring more of themselves to work. Companies need to tap into this aspect of their workforce's psyche and embrace the intrapreneurship model. Encouraging employees to join forums such as the League of Intrapreneurs is probably a great place to start.

For the 21st century employee, leading inventions and finding new ways to solve problems should be a priority and they should be allowed to look no further than their own organizations to achieve this. The beauty of intrapreneurship is that it enables employees with an entrepreneurial zeal to pursue innovation and leadership without bearing the risk of debt or scarce resources.

Organizations thus need to provide their in-built intrapreneurs with a conducive environment and the mentorship, resources and freedom to experiment and fail. After all, as the famous saying goes, only those bold enough to chase dreams are the ones who catch them.

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Aniisu K Verghese

Corporate Communications & CSR, Tesco Bengaluru

Aniisu K Verghese leads Corporate Communications & CSR at Tesco Bengaluru. Aniisu is the author of – Internal Communications – Insights, Practices and Models (Sage Publications, 2012). He is the recipient of the 2015 PR Hall of Fame Award at the 9th Global Communication Conclave of the Public Relations Council of India (PRCI) and has been authoring an internal communication blog – Intraskope since 2006.

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