In my view, employee relations (ER) is an exacting discipline concerned with maintaining employer-employee relationships that contribute to satisfactory productivity, motivation, and morale. HR professionals deploy intrapreneurial thinking to enable effective ER.
The questions that HR professionals tend to ask me about intrapreneurship:
– what are the benefits of intrapreneurship
– how can it be deployed
– what actions do we need to take
– what is the impact of not doing it
Benefits of intrapreneurship – employee-relations
Intrapreneurship can be used purely as an employee engagement tool. There will be, in your organization, some truly talented individuals – people who are probably being under-utilized in the current role. You can see that they are coasting in their role and this may be either because a) they are finding the job too easy or b) they are not motivated.
As intrapreneurship encourages autonomy, creativity and innovation, the HR professional can work with key people to refocus their mind and to help apply their skills in different ways – in ways that are aligned to overarching corporate objectives.
People who have been in conflict in the business or considering leaving may be swayed by the opportunity to work on projects that hold personal interest for them.
Obviously, people who are motivated by a project that appeals to their personal values are going to be more productive and have higher morale – and, with the guidance of HR, can enthuse colleagues.
How it can be deployed
There are different ways to go about implementing sanctioned intrapreneurship – you can either introduce the full intrapreneur ecosystem in one go – an exercise that constitutes an organizational transformation program (and the high costs that come with it) or you can work with one small team at a time and develop a viral approach.
The incremental deployment enables HR to have a greater control of the roll-out – identifying people with the emotional intelligence (EQ) and collaborative intelligence (CQ) to create new ways of working.
By working with key individuals, HR can provide mentoring and advice as well as manage any conflict that may arise from having an ‘endorsed troublemaker’ rocking the boat.
Engage with leaders to understand strategic direction of organization
Agree with leaders suitable people to move onto the program
Define reward mechanisms
Begin mapping the ecosystem – know what you have to help these people
Explore personal values / motivators of potential applicants
Begin process of taking the talent along the intrapreneur pathway
What is the impact of not doing it
Employee Relations is critical to the business – you need motivated, enthusiastic and collaborative people. Not only do these attitudes reflect positively into the organization but are also seen by suppliers, partners and customers.
Disenchanted employees can be corrosive in any organization and the best thing to do would be to let them go. However, there are times when you may choose to keep this talent (or you cannot excise them from the business for various reasons) – so what happens with the unhappy employee?
Impact on colleagues – increased conflict
Harm to customers – growing number of complaints
Declining sales – lost sales, mis-selling, reduced revenue / profitability
Productivity – decline in their area and those in contact with them
Morale goes down
Motivation of the individual and their colleagues falls
Intrapreneurship can be used to attract and retain talent – and can also be used to effect performance turnaround on the unhappy / unmotivated employee.