When businesses set up an intrapreneurial environment (an environment that encourages risk-taking and innovation), employees are more likely to help build long term value for the company. In a Q+A session, Steve Strauss tackles how to create a more entrepreneurial environment, even if your company is over 10 years old:
1. Provide an employee with the time and resources, and they’ll be more likely to flesh out and launch their best ideas.
2. Encourage employees to take risks by making it OK for them to fail.
3. Create a culture of fun by implementing creative thinking workshops, classes or retreats.
4. Recognize employees for all that they do, even if it’s as small as giving them a prize for dropping the best idea into a suggestion box.
5. Reward employees financially to fuel passion in an ongoing project and motivate and ensure its success.
Learning to help empower employees to think and act entrepreneurially means thinking about what it takes to get your staff motivated and involved to ultimately benefit your business. If done right, intrapreneurship can do three things: increase employee retention rates, boost productivity, and foster an exceptional culture.
Several legendary entrepreneurs of our time have supported the idea of intrapreneurship (Richard Branson, Steve Jobs) and Google already employs them by offering the 20 percent time program. Google allows its employees to use up to 20 percent of their work week at Google to pursue special projects. That means for every standard work week, employees can take a full day to work on a project unrelated to their normal workload. After getting feedback from co-workers, a project proposal and timeline is submitted and the intrapreneur must describe how he or she plans to go about evaluating the success of the project. Once an outstanding project has been selected, the project is monitored, analyzed and implemented. Google claims that many of their products in Google Labs (Gmail, AdSense, Orkut) started out as pet projects in the 20 percent time program.