Why Your Company Should Start Hiring Intrapreneurs

Intrapreneurs are like internal entrepreneurs

Companies big and small want to have entrepreneurial spirit running through their veins.

The determined, fast-moving creative drive that defines entrepreneurial spirit is something that can — and should — be cultivated.

Young startups should not take this dynamic productivity as a given, and large enterprises should not dismiss it as out of reach. What they should do is find the right employees who embody the entrepreneurial spirit while being able to work within a corporate environment.

Today, companies are able to reconcile that dissonance thanks to the new employee – the intrapreneur.

Companies big and small want to have entrepreneurial spirit running through their veins. Click To Tweet

Since Forbes defined an intrapreneur as an “internal entrepreneur,” the it has become heralded as the ideal employee for companies looking to grow and retain market share in the increasingly competitive corporate space, and the ideal position for people looking to grow professionally in a large organization.

See why intrapreneurship is on the rise, and why companies of all sizes and verticals should grow their intrapreneur community.

What Does an Intrapreneur Do (and How Does It Differ from an Entrepreneur)?

While entrepreneurs must be able to envision and manage a company-wide strategy, intrapreneurs only need to focus on a particular idea or project within an the company.

Oftentimes intrapreneurs will focus on a single problem within the company, yet have the flexibility and responsibility of an entrepreneur within their domain.

Intrapreneurs are equally different from traditional employees in the way they perceive problems within a company and approach their solutions. Because an intrapreneur is expected to think outside the box and push boundaries, they are not limited by the traditional confines of their job title.

Instead, they are able to take calculated risks within the company.

A corporate culture that encourages intrapreneurship champions innovation and cultivates ideas within the company that otherwise would have been stifled.

Why Companies Should Hire Intrapreneurs

Having a great product is not enough for a company to thrive. It is imperative to have a great team, and that starts from the early hires and continues on through the integration of intrapreneurs who continuously bring forward creative ideas.

Healey Cypher, an eBay employee who realized that 75% of consumer purchases happen within 15 miles of a physical store, used this information to bring the CEO of eBay an idea about how the ecommerce giant could improve the retail experience.

The eBay CEO recognized this intrapreneurial spirit and let Cypher assemble a team and come up with a solution – one that was quickly integrated into TOMS, Sony, Toys “R” Us and many more stores. Without the leeway to think creatively and the nurturing environment cultivated by eBay, Cypher would have never offered this idea and the company would be missing out on a huge opportunity.

Bottom line: Hire intrapreneurs

Intrapreneurs are expected to be able to see the big picture, at least in terms of their relative domain, and as a result they are able to facilitate the overall growth of the company and push it forward.

This makes them the ideal employees for large companies looking to embody the startup spirit.

Since intrapreneurs think like entrepreneurs, they often shake up the workplace environment and instill a new energy in their fellow employees. Intrapreneurs are also expected to be agile in their domain and therefore have the freedom to react quickly and pivot when necessary.

One of the key aspects that drive forward entrepreneurs is the passion they have for what they do, and with intrapreneurs it is no different. Despite not being the founder or owner of a company, intrapreneurs often have deep pride and passion for their position. They put their heart and soul into their role, granting themselves a strong sense of professional satisfaction.

Encouraging intrapreneurship cultivates ideas that otherwise would have been stifled. Click To Tweet

Ultimately intrapreneurs are trailblazers in their domain and, as Steve Jobs said, companies need to recognize the intelligence in the people they bring in and let them leverage that to grow the company and take it to new heights.

How Intrapreneurs Change the Hiring Process

While recruitment and HR processes are increasingly integrating more innovation, the hiring process for intrapreneurs has changed the rules of the game.

Today, companies looking to grow and retain a competitive edge must include intrapreneurs in their company and accept failure as part of the road to innovation. Simultaneously, success needs to be rewarded and not expected of intrapreneurs. In addition to giving positive reinforcement, rewarding success increases the sense of ownership and connection to the company.

The Future of Intraprenurship

The ability to think creatively and bring forward new ideas to a company is something that needs to be cultivated on a large level. Organizations that nurture intrapreneurship see a higher rate of innovation.

In Sweden, 28% of adults were involved in intraprenurial activity within the last three years, whereas in the U.S that number is just 11.7%. When looking at the number of startups per capita, that intraprenurial spirit directly translates into a higher number of billion-dollar companies, showing the difference intrapreneurs make in the workplace.

As companies continually evolve in today’s environment, so will their ability to hire, integrate and nurture intrapreneurs.

To learn more about how to build the best team, read about The New Chiefs of Disruption.

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