The proliferation of the Fourth Industrial Revolution’s (4IR) changing technologies has firmly placed the workforce in quite a disruptive environment. It is estimated that as many as 375 million workers—or 14 percent of the global workforce—would have to switch occupations or acquire new skills by 2030 because of automation and artificial intelligence – McKinsey Global (2017).
Begging the question of what this means for organizations on how they can safeguard their teams to rapidly shift so as to achieve the vision, goals, and objectives that are set out.
It has been shared that, one of the ways touted to provide a long-term working blueprint for the future-of-work is: ‘upskilling the workforce entrepreneurial skills so they could survive this new era’, a statement shared by Eric Schmidt at Davos in 2014.
A lot has changed since then, and more so in the last year when remote working became embedded firmly in 21st century culture. Youth employment continues to be a key challenge in many countries and Africa’s high unemployment rate is one of the leading barriers to growing prosperity on the continent.
Entrepreneurship is being pushed as the best alternative for young people to be gainful in different economies by Governments in countries where unemployment rates were in the double digits and no immediate solutions are in sight.
The premise is that everyone can become an entrepreneur but not considering that not all are cut out to handle that level of risk, and pressure. Also, where will the vast majority of Youth expected to get an opportunity to learn these essential skillsets to become successful on their own?
Entrepreneurship is highly associated with individuals who set sail on their own business venture. It mostly refers to the ability to think outside the box, apply creative thinking when faced with a new challenge, embrace internal creativity, and build lateral thinking competencies.
These skillsets can also apply to teams within organizations, by encouraging the growth of Intrapreneurship. The term refers to a work culture system that allows a team member to act and apply entrepreneurial skillsets within the organization.
Intrapreneurs would be considered self-motivated, proactive, and action-oriented team members in pursuit of an innovative solution to a challenge being faced within the organization or by the customer.
Organizations that encourage and reward intrapreneurship have a great advantage when it comes to retaining the best talents which are equally important in today’s creative climate.
When teams are ambitious, creative, and forward-thinking in their day-to-day work, the organization gains valuable assets like accountability and innovation.
On the other hand, intrapreneurs have the best of both worlds. They have the comfort of leveraging the resources of a large organization while enjoying the freedom to pursue their entrepreneurial passions and learn while on the job.
Even with the support of a business behind them, it takes a great deal of hard work and practice to turn your team into accomplished intrapreneurs.
In today’s think piece, we explore a few ways that you can turn your team into highly engaged intrapreneurs to everyone’s benefit.
It’s not a matter of creating intrapreneurs but discovering them. There are probably intrapreneurs within your organization, and once you start encouraging them they’ll rise to the surface.
After identifying them, drive innovative thought by empowering teams to make decisions, take charge of projects, and solve problems.
Give them the resources and training they need, then set them free, letting them know the team believes in their capabilities.
Allow them to take online courses, attend seminars, and access tools that can make them even more effective.
The most important thing to remember is that you must let all your intrapreneurs make mistakes.
Simply having an idea is not enough, because a successful entrepreneur must also know how to present, and sell that idea.
Think about what range of innovation objectives can be achieved with your innovation capabilities, start evaluating your employee performance additionally according to their innovation capacities and skills, and provide those ready to take on the challenge with a support system.
Your employees will then be able to really create, develop and pitch their new ideas.
Sometimes the best ideas spark when least expected, such as during a good conversation or enjoyable interaction. Even when the team is running low on ideas, having positive working relationships with one another will be the fuel they need to persist. Help the team cultivate these strong relationships.
Schedule after-work activities in which employees can participate and get to know one another better. Exercise together, share meals, and play games to enhance team bonding.
When employees get an opportunity to take some time away from their everyday tasks, they can play around with possibilities and ideas. Many companies are already doing this, instead of making them focus strictly on the tasks at hand.
Encourage involvement in projects outside the day-to-day and allow them to job shadow someone in another department or help a team member with something new.
Meet with employees regularly to brainstorm new ideas and ensure strategies are aligned with organizational goals. Brainstorming sessions allow employees to share the load of innovation and encourages employees to work together respectfully and responsibly, to develop ideas, and create viable solutions to problems.
If these employees are from different sectors within a business, this also encourages inter-office staff to interact and share thoughts.
While brainstorming sessions can be a way to encourage creative thinking. Meet to discuss and address problems, company visions as well as goals, and make sure that new ideas are in tune with the main goals of your organization.
According to the New York Times, the connection between clean spaces and moral righteousness was made 50 years ago, by the anthropologist Mary Douglas.
Psychologists have, more recently, shown that the scent of cleaning products can affect people and raise their ethical standards. So, the question is, can we say that messiness can steer people away from conventions and toward new directions?
Yes, a messy room or workspace can encourage us to break convention, and that favors innovative thinking as its key component. People are inspired by different environments, so your employees should be free to create a workspace that sparks new ideas in them.
Sometimes, the most innovative ideas take time.
Listen to your team’s ideas, share an idea or two and allow employees to step away and take the focus off complicated challenges and issues when they hit a roadblock.
Then, unexpectedly, the right answer may come to them. Occasionally allow your employees to let go and come back to a problem, just to allow them time to let the idea incubate and produce the needed solution.
Acknowledgment is a powerful motivator, and by encouraging and rewarding your employees, you’ll see an increase in creative endeavors and contributions within the company.
Recognize your intrapreneurs, praise them and call them out to send a strong signal to other employees that activation and innovation are greatly valued by the organization.
Also, rewarding them with small things and interesting gifts will show them that you’re engaged in the whole process as well, which can help you develop a better relationship.
Allow your intrapreneurs to learn from failure and move on to other, better-planned attempts. Intrapreneurs shouldn’t feel like they’ll be punished if they fail.
Empowering them will have a direct, positive effect on their job performance.
Let them know that you believe in their capabilities, provide them with resources, and set them free.