Are intrapreneurs the secret to success?

The term ‘intrapreneurship’ is growing traction and represents the importance of acknowledging entrepreneurial tendencies even among individuals who don’t go on to launch their own business. Intrapreneurship refers to employees who engage in entrepreneurial activity, for the benefit of the business they work for, rather than their own business pursuits.

Australia has been ranked first among 50 global economise for intrapreneurship, with 8.3% of Australians involved in entrepreneurial employee activity according to the 2019/20 Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM).

Forbes claims that an entrepreneurially minded employee is the most valuable type of employee a business can have, but their tenure is often brief as many businesses fail to adequately manage and nurture these types of people. Intrapreneurial people do not respond well to micro-management and need the freedom to explore their creative ideas with room to continually grow, develop and take on responsibility.

It is alarming to learn that businesses are driving away the very best of their talent pool, but what can be done to avoid this? Not only must we learn how to adequately nurture these individuals, but most importantly, we must be able to identify them in the first instance. 

The defining characteristic that sets entrepreneurs apart is their ability to innovate[1]. Additional skills of highly entrepreneurial individuals are creativity and adaptability, all three of which are defined and measured under the Human Capability Framework.

The ability to identify an entrepreneurial mind by examining these core capabilities, regarded by many as the hallmark of a top-performing employee, is critical to attract these individuals and ensure that those among your workforce are adequately managed to maximise their potential.

This is where the Human Capabilities Framework becomes invaluable; it provides a verified benchmark to measure and communicate these capabilities that signal a great employee. When comparing candidates with the same skillset, the ability to differentiate candidates based on these attributes that contribute to success will help employers craft a successful workforce. What’s more, verifying courses and training programs that are targeted towards building these skills makes them more attractive to individuals looking to upskill and a useful tool in employee development programs.

[1] Nair, K., & Pandey, A. (2006). The Journal of Entrepreneurship, 15 (1): 47-61