Answer: The Budding "Intrapreneur"
As a whole, the millennial generation skews entrepreneurial. According to the latest Deloitte Millennial Survey, 70 percent of Millennials see themselves working independently in the future, rather than being employed by a traditional corporation. Fast Company notes that the reason is that millennials want things companies aren’t currently giving them, namely, autonomy, creativity, and meaning.
Talentism is the New Capitalism
Every day, I see amazing talent showing up to work at a new, budding startup on the RocketSpace campus — many of them made the leap from larger, established corporations. What does this mean for a modern day corporation? By 2020, Millennials will make up an estimated 50 percent of the workforce. In a world where talentism is the new capitalism, attracting top talent and retaining that talent, in a world where independence, autonomy, and creativity are embraced is the only way to win.
Enter the Word “Intrapreneur”
Intrapreneurs are valuable employees who behave entrepreneurially. Often they’re millennials. They want the ability to pursue their passions and ideas inside a modern day corporation. It would seem that these intrapreneurs would prefer working at, if not founding, a startup. However, some want and feel they can make a meaningful impact (read: innovate) inside an established corporation, without having to contend with the lack of structure and/or resource-strapped nature of a newer venture. The startup siren song, however, can be a tough contender for corporations. For instance, at the WPP-hosted event Stream in Cannes this year, Airbnb and Marriott shared a panel to discuss the future of hospitality in a milieu where they now share the same market valuation despite vastly varying company histories.
Culture Trumps Everything
Corporations increasingly face the fight to retain top talent and empower employees to be more entrepreneurial. Cultivating a culture that fosters engagement, productivity, customer service and profitability can make, or break, whether or not an employee continues to work for you. So how can corporations retain this talent? How can companies fulfill the needs and passions of intrapreneurs while motivating them and keeping them connected to the company? How are best-in-class corporations staying ahead of the curve via the power of intrapreneurs? It’s all about creating a corporate culture that encourages autonomy, accessibility, and flexibility.
Autonomy and independence rank at the top of the list of factors that lead to job satisfaction. It would take more than a simple terrible day in the office to make someone want to abandon his or her own company, right? The ability for an employee to control his or her own day-to-day happens when management provides clear direction, but gives room to breathe. By giving these employees ownership of their silos within the corporation, you’re more likely to harness their talent to help your company succeed. Ask yourself this: Are you empowering your team to take their work to the next level? Or are you micromanaging?
We live in an on-demand world and millennials, in particular, are looking for convenience and quick access in all facets of their lives; from new networks of people, to skills and capabilities, and even food! Providing access to workshops, classes, conferences, and trade shows are just the tip of the iceberg for entrepreneurial-minded millennials when it comes to quenching their thirst for knowledge and experiences. Food and laundry service at work? Yes, please. Google was first to get it right. Providing access to food, beverages, gyms, yoga classes, and onsite medical care is incredibly attractive to millennials. All things being equal, money still talks, so think about what conveniences and access your company can offer this talent pool that demonstrates a commitment to their happiness both in, and outside of, the office.
We’re hardly working in the Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. world of generations past. Today’s workforce needs more freedom to escape the oppressive confines of obligatory face-time. Work-life balance is impossible to achieve with only two weeks of paid vacation a year. How is that reasonable when most of us are checking email late at night, before we get out of bed in the morning, on weekends and even while on vacation. In our increasingly connected society, employees can (and do) check-in from virtually anywhere, making unlimited vacation days a viable reality, provided deadlines are met and coverage is arranged beforehand. Executives at Birchbox, a New York-based beauty subscription service, instituted an unlimited vacation policy in 2011. Output “was more important to us than how many hours you are sitting at your desk,” says manager of people and culture Nicole Fealey. Thrillist, ZocDoc, ModCloth, and Foursquare also offer unlimited sick and vacation days. Not only that, it’s becoming increasingly more common to incentivize employees to take vacation. Evernote offers $1,000 as an added incentive for people to travel. CEO Phil Libin believes that the more refreshed they are, the more productive they are — I know that’s true for our team here at RocketSpace.
These challenges are certainly not the only obstacles corporations face when it comes to innovation, but the cultural ones are significant. Is autonomy, access or flexibility the biggest cultural challenge for you and your organization? Which is the lowest hanging fruit? Share your thoughts.
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