In the war for the best talent Purposeful Intrapreneurship can make the difference.

In addition to many industry-specific issues, there is one economy-wide challenge that has increased dramatically in recent years and is presenting many companies with the same problems: The war for talent is getting tougher and tougher, and it is becoming increasingly difficult to find, engage and retain the right people. Experts believe that more than 85 million jobs could go unfilled due to a deficit in sufficiently qualified people¹. Thus, in addition to attracting new talent, retaining good employees is becoming increasingly important. This is proving challenging however, as current data shows that dissatisfaction in jobs is growing and that for most employees, leaving is at least an option².

Moreover, the younger generation beginning to enter the workforce are placing higher value on having a sense of purpose in their job. Research shows that Gen Z prioritizes³:

  1. Enjoying the work they do
  2. Being the best at what they do
  3. Making a difference in the world
When asked to rank their ideal career traits, Gen Z respondents show further signs of entrepreneurial aspiration. Gen Z respondents ranked "original thought and ideas", "interaction with people from around the world", and "opportunity to solve complex problems" as the top three most valued career traits. Additionally, more than 65% of current Gen Z employees plan to have their own business over the next 10 years⁴.

The message is clear: To attract and retain great talent, companies need to rethink and transform their HR strategies. In this article, we show how:

  • The concept of intrapreneurship can foster entrepreneurial collaboration, leading to tangible opportunities and a higher degree of freedom while maintaining accountability and clear rules.
  • Purposeful Intrapreneurship provides employees with good reasons to join and stay with a company.

Purposeful intrapreneurship is a competitive advantage

Meta (Facebook), SAP, Alphabet (Google), Amazon, Airbus and many other companies which practice the concept of corporate entrepreneurship (intrapreneurship) have traditionally led the rankings of best employers.

Purposeful Intrapreneurship provides a framework that helps employees find more meaning in their work by enabling:

  • Sustainable development (opportunities to change the world for the better)
  • Self-organization (leading to proactive employee self-involvement)
  • Entrepreneurship (the opportunity to develop their own business with minimal risk, with the resources of a large company and the opportunity to share in the distribution of profits)

Targeted intrapreneurship can act as the core of a unique competitive advantage for an employer, and as such the companies listed above benefit from stronger employee engagement in multiple ways. This is because:

  1. A concrete but visionary purpose it is a powerful magnet for attracting young talents and stimulates existing employees to connect to the business of the company sincerely and deeply.
  2. Employees, in addition to values-based motivation, have a financial interest as they can participate in profit distribution from the implementation of successful ideas. This helps to further strengthen tangible connections between the personal goals of the employee and those of the company.
  3. Intrapreneurship offers unique career opportunities, because the areas of effort and development of innovators are limited only by the strategic focus of the company. Any employee gets the opportunity to prove, proactively and practically, their readiness for the next career step and, for example, to lead a project for the development of a new product or even a business. Participation in the innovation process guarantees faster professional development and accelerates readiness for a person's next career step

How employee engagement and innovation go hand in hand

In addition to employee engagement, innovativeness is another benefit of purposeful intrapreneurship. Here, every employee can initiate improvements or innovations at any time, unlike in other companies where only specialized functionaries are authorized to do so. Due to the proactive nature of intrapreneurship, a company can permanently improve its innovation efficiency and strengthen its competitiveness by harnessing the talents of all its employees.

The approach fits very well into new management methods, according to which more and more companies are striving to deliver long-term value for all of their stakeholders – customers, employees, suppliers, the communities in which they operate, and shareholders.

10 Success Factors for the implementation of intrapreneurial ways of working

  1. Define your organization's purpose and make your employees' contributions to that purpose measurable.
  2. Establish clear rules of the intrapreneurial ways of working for employees and implement a strong governance model
  3. Create an atmosphere of safety and trust
  4. Practice a 'bottom-up' and 'top-down' approach simultaneously
  5. Lead by example and follow the same rules as everyone in the organization
  6. Make progress visible for everyone and celebrate your achievements regularly
  7. Focus on solving actual business challenges and transform you organization step by step
  8. Provide guidance in the beginning and bring in an experienced partner to start building your own capabilities
  9. Allocate internal resources to run the program
  10. Share and learn from your mistakes

*1 Korn Ferry: 2030: The Very Human Future Of Work (2022)
*2 ManpowerGroup – THE 2022 GLOBAL TALENT SHORTAGE (2022)
*3 E&Y – Gen Z Survey (2021)
*4 E&Y – Gen Z Survey (2021)