At every company—whether it’s a local business or a multi-million dollar corporation—there are intrapreneurs buzzing around, perhaps even going unnoticed by their employers.
It’s vitally important to spot these intrapreneurs and empower them so you can keep them on your team. Retaining and empowering intrapreneurs will allow you to dramatically boost the innovation occurring within your organization.
But first, what exactly is an intrapreneur?
An intrapreneur is someone within an organization who has an entrepreneurial spirit and focuses on the growth of an existing, established company. Intrapreneurs often portray a balance of creativity and the incredible ability to take action when necessary, bringing new and innovative ideas to life.
Utilizing the entrepreneurial mindset of current employees, employers are able to provide the resources needed to create a pioneering service or product for your organization. Just how an entrepreneur researches and tests their products or services, an intrapreneur has the similar freedom and independence within their organization to experiment and create. Intrapreneurship can involve creating and implementing new and innovative strategies to promote and help the organization grow and reach new heights.
But how do you identify those employees who will help grow your company in this way? Here are the five essential traits to look for to spot an intrapreneur.
1. They are passionate self-starters.
By definition, intrapreneurs are innovative and passionate self-starters. Self-starters are people ambitious enough to further their careers without the help of others. They are problem solvers who set goals for themselves and meet them. They are also not afraid to take calculated risks or promote themselves. For example, pay attention to employees who have passion projects or side hustles that they work on at home or in their free time. Employees like this will make great intrapreneurs for your company.
2. They are motivated by success and independence.
Though an intrapreneur may appreciate a monetary bonus, that’s not always necessarily what drives her or him to succeed. The more focus employees put on their intellectual curiosity and learning new skills, the better they’ll perform. Ultimately, intrapreneurs value the ability to implement their ideas into the business with full support from management.
3. They are proactive about gaining more knowledge and experience.
An intrapreneur is a life-long learner and always thirsty for knowledge. Employees who learn new skills are able to develop innovative and exciting ideas for your business. The more employees learn, the more they will be able to utilize that knowledge to their advantage and the advantage of the business.
When a business or organization promotes and encourages their employees to be creative and collaborate by sharing ideas, employees are more likely and able to capture new ideas, seek out challenging tasks, and broaden their knowledge. Whether that means continuing their education, or simply reading and listening to podcasts, intrapreneurs with increased creativity will be constantly generating new ideas.
4. They nurture their ideas.
An intrapreneur doesn’t just come up with an innovative idea and leave it at that. Rather, they nurture that idea through brainstorming, research, detailed planning, and creating a proposal. Be on the lookout for employees who not only have ideas, but who also have a strategy on how to put their plans into action.
5. They are adaptable problem-solvers.
Another characteristic of an intrapreneur is that they are adaptable and are not discouraged by failure. If they do fail, they’ll take that failure as a life lesson and use it moving forward. When they are given the opportunity to grow through failure, they’ll come back even stronger than before.
With these tips for how to spot an intrapreneur, you’ll be able to find the top talent in your organization. The key is to not only recognize them, but also to empower them by giving them opportunities to grow. For example, you can consider sending your intrapreneur to a conference or workshop so they can have the time and resources to be creative and accomplish beyond expectations. If they feel empowered in their position, they will be more likely to get involved and share their ideas, taking your business to the next level.