Why Are HR Managers Looking for People with Intrapreneurial Skills?

Why Are HR Managers Looking for People with Intrapreneurial Skills?

Learn why global recruitment firm Michael Page listed Intrapreneurship as the most wanted skill by hiring managers in 2020, and why being an intrapreneur can make yourself stand out from other candidates.

The world is changing faster and more unpredictably than ever, and in more ways than one. COVID-19 is set to trigger a staggering $28 trillion drop in global GDP over the next 20 months and the adoption of intelligent machines is set to displace up to 800 million jobs.

Corporate innovation and nurturing intrapreneurial talent will play a fundamental role in helping organisations implement agile solutions to navigate through stormy seas. Research shows organisations intend to focus 40% of their innovation measures on intrapreneurship between now and 2021.

Join us as we explore the importance of intrapreneurship and assess what qualities HR managers look for to build powerful teams of employees — equipped to tackle the challenges of the modern workplace.

What Do HR Managers Look For When Hiring?

An HR leader is responsible for coordinating an effective hiring process to attract the right talent for an organisation’s immediate and future needs.

While qualities such as taking initiative, demonstrating strong discipline, confident communication skills and a dependable work ethic remain highly-desirable, there’s a growing interest in the following three areas for today’s HR Managers:

  1. Intellectual agility. How does an individual engage with critical thinking to overcome new hurdles and thrive in highly-changeable environments?
  2. Growth mindset. Does the applicant demonstrate a desire to push the business forward, explore new avenues for growth and look beyond immediate barriers to pursue a long-term goal.
  3. Grit. Does the applicant have what it takes to work through the tough times and reach our ambitious goals?

Angela Duckworth’s New York Times bestseller, Grit, explores the power of passion and perseverance in the modern workplace — a critical attribute to support corporate innovation in challenging times. 

Hiring the right talent and building an organisational philosophy that encourages innovation is directly linked to a business’ ability to foster learning agility across teams.  

For many industries, adapting to change is a daily exercise that employees must embrace, not fight. Building knowledge-hungry teams with an appetite for learning through positive feedback loops and working in highly-adaptive environments is more important than ever.

Why Is Intrapreneurship Important for the Future of Work?

75% of HR professionals believe creative problem solving, communication and the ability to deal with complexity and ambiguity are critical skills to succeed in the future of work.

Assessing whether employees have what it takes to thrive in a workplace that supports continuous experimentation and embraces cutting-edge ideas is a #1 priority for many businesses. Specifically, as technological advancements in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and automation continue to challenge businesses to restructure their workforce, identifying employees with soft skills that machines are unable to mimic is essential.

The accelerated efficiency of repetitive and labour-intensive tasks via automation will free-up valuable time and resources for organisations to explore new revenue streams and opportunities to diversify their business model. Just as the invention of the printing press revolutionised the way we shared knowledge across academia, the rise of intelligent machines will open doors to new innovation opportunities for intrapreneurs.

Research shows that 50% of executives think creativity and entrepreneurial spirit are primary workforce requirements for their organisations to excel in today’s increasingly complex world.

Investing in intrapreneurial talent

“To upskill the workforce in entrepreneurial skills is critical to surviving through this new era.”
— Eric Schmidt, former CEO at Google

Google is a well-known example when referring to the concept of intrapreneurial work culture. Employees at the world’s fourth-largest technology company get a few hours per week dedicated to innovative projects of their choice. This approach represents a real investment into intrapreneurial behaviour and a key contributor to Google’s success. But it’s not the only example.

Whether they are organising talent and development programmes, innovation labs, corporate incubators, disruption labs or partnering with startups, more and more large organisations are launching initiatives to foster innovation and intrapreneurship. To the point that, according to Accenture, an increase in innovation investments to the tune of 1.8 times is expected in the next five years.

This is why in 2020 the global recruitment firm Michael Page has named intrapreneurship as the most desirable skill of the year, stating that “more and more companies are looking for Intrapreneurial traits in their next hires, so anyone who doesn’t yet reference this could be missing out and opportunity to make themselves stand out from other candidates“.

Building Supportive Environments for Creativity Thinkers

The Ex-VP of People at Sony Music Entertainment and Studio Zao’s People Talent and Culture Advisor Teresa Kotlicka, comments that “Individuals with strong entrepreneurial skills can gain a competitive edge by combining their passion with a transformation strategy.”

Combining resource-rich corporations with supportive environments for experimentation provides intrapreneurs with a creative playground to thrive. Instead of creating a void between large corporations and standalone entrepreneurs, organisations who bridge the gap by facilitating intrapreneurship can assimilate the agility of a cutting-edge startup, while maintaining market dominance as an established institution.

In the context of building intrapreneurial teams, this idea is echoed by the MENAT Head of Innovation at the global Bank HSBC, Pamela Attebery, who argues “Entrepreneurial skills, creativity, out-of-the-box thinking, and learning to deal with ambiguity are key skills” for large corporations.

Check out our recent webinar with Pamela where we discuss the role of technology during challenging times, the value of investing in capabilities for the future, and the pressing need for creative collaboration to differentiate from rivals.

How to unlock your Intrapreneurial talent to drive higher Return On Innovation?

Check out our Intrapreneurship White Paper 2022 and explore how established organisations can recognise and unlock intrapreneurs to drive successful innovation across the three innovation horizons and achieve higher innovation ROI.

Benefits of Intrapreneurs For HR Managers

Intrapreneurs have unique skills and characteristics — knowing how to spot intrapreneurial talent and how these traits can enhance your team will help you build powerful teams that are one step ahead of the competition.

So, what are the main benefits of intrapreneurs to support your transformation strategy?

Achieve Ambitious Goals

Organisations that support intrapreneurial traits create an environment where employees are empowered to think ‘outside the box’ and approach longstanding challenges with a unique perspective.

While traditional management structures focus on meeting targets in the here and now, intrapreneurs are conditioned to operate beyond the confines of what’s already possible and search for ambitious outcomes. Intrapreneurs broaden their scope to identify opportunities that are out of sight for rivals.

By building teams of lateral thinkers, HR managers can break away from their old ways, stay ahead of competitors, and take a proactive approach to satisfy changing customer demands.

Leverage Internal Resources

Intrapreneurs are empowered by their organisation’s skilled employees, trusted partners, technical resources, customer insights and financial support.

Corporates provide more regulatory cover, larger amounts of data and potentially easier routes to market — putting new ventures at a great advantage over startups that don’t have the backing of an established company.

Utilising untapped resources can give intrapreneurs the momentum they need to gain traction and pursue a promising venture.

Reframe Failure into Lessons

Harnessing the resilience of intrapreneurs and reframing ‘failures’ into positive lessons can inform the direction of innovation initiatives through constant experimentation. Instead of allowing invalidated assumptions to block ventures altogether, intrapreneurs are conditioned to adapt and improve subsequent experiments to access new knowledge.

Increase Accountability

Instead of limiting employees through rigid management structures, intrapreneurship requires individuals to take responsibility and accountability for their own actions to drive a business forward.

Once goals are set and responsibilities are defined, intrapreneurs can assume ownership of their actions within pre-defined boundaries. When employees are directly responsible and rewarded for the success of a project, they’re encouraged to deliver their best work.

What our clients say

Sony Music

“Working with Studio Zao was a real pleasure. Not only do they bring diverse and innovative strategic thinking but they also truly partnered with us, sharing insights and taking on feedback to co-create a great output. They also understand the importance of talent together with innovation.”

“I truly believe that this is a great experience, and the methodologies can be applied to many areas in Aptar to develop and think in a more agile way when delivering solutions.”

Studio Zao helped us identify consumer problems to solve in order to design and deliver a rapid innovation sprint followed by venture coaching 9 teams. They took us through a strategic and immersive venture building process. It was insightful to see how the teams’ propositions transformed through customer engagement and validation, with 3 propositions going forward into pilots and a number of entrepreneurial talents recognised in the business”

“Studio Zao’s program helped shape the direction of my career, opening my eyes to thinking like an entrepreneur and arming me with the tools & experience to create exciting business ventures”

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Pharma Supply ChainRemote Intrapreneurship Programme
Internal Innovation Advisory with Retail

Join our initiatives

Internal Innovation Summit Is Intrapreneurship the skill of the future? How can HR help build models of success? Forget moonshot labs — make every employee an intrapreneur Intrapreneurship: Inside Hustles A Chat With Davide Turi, Co-Founder at Innovation Studio: Studio Zao Innovating in the wake of crisis - Doing more with less The Intrapreneurship Challenge Powered by Studio Zao How to Drive Transformation through Intrapreneurship. The I.M.P.A.C.T. Framework Intrapreneurship and Ambidextrous Leadership to Drive Your Core Business.001lr Innovation Portfolios And Experimentation for Corporate Innovation Studio Zao

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