How to inspire your employees to become intrapreneurs

Employee satisfaction, stagnation, and productivity woes can eat away at a business. Fortunately for business owners, the intrapreneurial mindset can save any struggling team by creating a culture of celebration and innovation. But what the heck is intrapreneurship anyway?

Intrapreneurship isn’t a “woo-woo” employee empowerment fad. It’s a culture you can build in your business to see real results. Unlike entrepreneurs, intrapreneurs are employed at a business, but they bring many entrepreneurial qualities to their work. These employees assert themselves and foster innovation within the company, leading to better, profitable outcomes.

Why intrapreneurship?

Nobody wants complacent, unhappy workers. Intrapreneurs contribute immensely to the success of your business, all while feeling productive and happy at work.

Intrapreneurs benefit your business because:

  1. Intrapreneurs take risks — They aren’t going to sit back in their chair and stay quiet if they see a problem. They have the grit and determination to stick it out and find a solution.
  2. Intrapreneurs are insanely productive — It stands to reason that a happy, engaged employee is going to check more items off her to-do list.
  3. Intrapreneurs innovate — Business is all about innovation. Like their entrepreneurial cousins, intrapreneurs look for solutions. They always look for ways to increase efficiency and speed, even if it means more risk or work.

Sounds great, right? Intrapreneurs truly are the foundation of successful businesses, but too often businesses aren’t sure how to encourage an intrapreneurial mindset.

How to build intrapreneurs in your business

You want employees to feel satisfied and productive at work, but sometimes it’s tough finding the right ways to motivate your workforce. To some businesses, money is a motivator. However, research shows that money is only a short-term fix for motivation woes.

The right approach is to build an intrapreneurial culture for increased employee motivation and satisfaction. This differs depending on your company’s climate, but it can involve everything from one-on-ones to public recognition.



When it comes to building intrapreneurs at ChicExecs, we’ve boiled it down to four practices:

  1. Set firm company values and use them to attract the right candidates during hiring.
  2. Sit down with every employee from the get go to listen to his or her ideas. This gives employees the opportunity to share their ideas for growth right from the beginning.
  3. Recognize employees weekly. This helps employees feel rewarded and valued.
  4. Hire from within. ChicExecs regularly promotes outstanding interns into full-time roles and allows them to grow with the company.

When it comes right down to it, you can build intrapreneurs by creating a culture of feedback, thoughtfulness, and growth that starts the day your employee walks through the door. For current employees, you can implement non-monetary recognition structures to acknowledge and exemplify hard work. Culture change doesn’t happen overnight, but it’s the single best way to foster innovation in your business.

The bottom line

Employees want to feel engaged and happy at work. It’s our duty as business owners to build a culture that encourages innovation and risk-taking. The rewards are well worth it, both for your bottom line and employee happiness.

Nikki Carlson and Kailynn Bowling are the founders of ChicExecs, a California-based public relations firm.

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