How Can a Business Encourage Intrapreneurship?
We talk a lot about intrapreneurship and its benefits. It's kind of our thing, but how can a business encourage intrapreneurship? Not everyone is used to taking risks on new ideas, especially at a company with defined roles and procedures. But by encouraging intrapreneurship, both your staff and your business can benefit. Today we’ll look at five ways a business can encourage intrapreneurship and reap all the benefits it provides.
1. Be Open to New Ideas
First of all, people need to feel safe and supported when approaching new ideas. It may sound obvious, but if employees don’t feel like management listens to them and is open to change, it doesn’t matter how many great ideas they have—you won’t hear any of them. When employees feel like they aren’t being heard, they’ll stop speaking.
All levels of management need to understand the importance of open-mindedness to create a culture where employees are comfortable bringing ideas forward. Be open to criticism and feedback, accept that there may be problems you aren’t aware of, and trust employees to come up with ideas that you may never have thought of.
Small companies with just two or three managers may be able to build a culture of trust between employees and management without the need for an intrapreneurship program. Larger companies, however, should have an idea management system where anyone can share ideas easily, and all ideas are given careful consideration. This tells all your employees, regardless of their position in the company and their relationship with their managers, that their ideas are welcome.
2. Make Time and Space for Intrapreneurship
Just making employees feel comfortable sharing ideas isn’t enough—you need to give them the time and space to come up with ideas and develop them. If people see intrapreneurship as something extra on top of their regular jobs, they’re not going to put effort into innovation.
Dedicate time to idea generation, brainstorming, and problem-solving. This can be in the form of workshops or bootcamps, or you can just allot a certain amount of time in the workweek for intrapreneurship. However you do it, make sure to respect your employees’ time and workload. If you want your business to encourage employee-driven innovation, you may need to take other tasks off employees’ plates to keep them from getting overloaded.
A dedicated space for creativity and innovation is also important—and the stuffy conference room you use for morning meetings doesn’t cut it. Create a pleasant, comfortable space for intrapreneurship that can be shared by people across departments. It’s important to provide a safe, casual, social setting so employees can really open their minds.
3. Allow Ownership of Ideas
Autonomy gives people a sense of accountability and ownership of their work. Empower your team by letting them own their ideas, make decisions, and take charge of projects.
Giving ownership doesn’t mean cutting support, though. For this strategy to work, you have to ensure employees have the resources and training needed to drive projects from idea to implementation. They should have access to coaching and advice—for example, through an innovation ecosystem, but let them take charge, knowing the business believes in them.
4. Reward Intrapreneurial Thinking
Nothing works quite like good old-fashioned positive reinforcement when encouraging any kind of behavior. So, offer incentives for successful ideas or for just participating in the intrapreneurship program, whether this is monetary or praise and recognition. For example, when an employee comes up with a great idea, give them credit and kudos in front of their fellow team members, and reward them with small tokens like gift cards or comp time to thank them for their hard work and to show them their efforts are appreciated. Keep track of successes and ideas within your HR software and use these notes to plan new initiatives and track which employees already work outside of their job descriptions.
5. Encourage Risk and Embrace Failure
Finally, for a business to encourage intrapreneurship, it’s essential to be prepared to fail. No intrapreneurship program has a 100 percent success rate—after all, innovation is inherently risky. If employees fear failure, they'll take fewer risks—meaning less innovative ideas. The worst thing for intrapreneurship is a “blame culture” that makes employees afraid to fail.
Part of intrapreneurship is learning from both successful and unsuccessful projects. When you encourage employees to try new things and assure them that they will not be penalized for failure, it takes the pressure off and lets them flourish.
Learn More About How a Business Can Encourage Intrapreneurship With rready
rready helps businesses encourage intrapreneurship by building innovative, supportive work environments that harness intrapreneurship from the bottom up. Based on a proven methodology used by more than a thousand companies globally, the KICKBOX program can help you encourage intrapreneurship from idea generation to implementation.
Let rready help you give your team the tools to harness intrapreneurship’s benefits for business. We hope that we have answered your question, "How can a business encourage intrapreneurship." So, if you're rready to motivate your employees and transform your business, contact us today.Get started today