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Updated by Hays UAE, October 2016

Could ‘intrapreneurship’ be the next buzz word of the corporate world? According to recruiting experts Hays, it’s gaining prominence as organisations look to their staff for innovations and make an entrepreneurial spirit part of their selection criteria when hiring new talent.

Intrapreneurship is the idea that individuals can, in some form, be encouraged to explore their own business ideas alongside their day jobs. It’s gaining prominence because many organisations are trying to improve internal innovation in order to compete with market disruptions, technology innovations and the impact of digital. It’s an issue explored in the Hays Journal Issue 12.

The advent of nimbler start-ups, particularly in the technology sector, that are capable of disrupting entire industries has forced organisations of all sizes to wake up to the need to develop new business lines and models. There’s also a growing realisation that such ideas might just emanate from staff themselves rather than being dreamt up across the boardroom table.

As well as the business benefits, intrapreneurship offers recruitment and retention advantages. Individuals are given the freedom to explore their own ideas without having to leave the organisation and are more engaged as a result. There’s also a strong attraction benefit, which can be hugely significant in sectors where talent is in demand.

How can an organisation encourage intrapreneurship?

Kenny Ching, Assistant Professor of Strategy at UCL School of Management, suggests three approaches in Hays Journal Issue 12:

  • Formally incorporate intrapreneurial activities as part of performance-review schemes;
  • Employ more flexible schemes that allow would-be intrapreneurs to spend time away to develop ideas;
  • Develop an informal culture that allows ideas to be safely discussed, with no repercussions on performance. For example, idea competitions. Above all though, an organisation needs a genuinely entrepreneurial culture that is embedded from the top down.