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Cris Beswick

Author, Speaker + Strategic Advisor on Innovation

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To engage or not to engage? Your choice


Forget management buy-in, what about employee buy-in? Cris Beswick talks us through 'Hintrapreneurship'.
I'd like to issue a challenge to HR practitioners; actively start encouraging 'intrapreneurship'. There's no suggestion here that this isn't already being done but if it isn't please start and if it is, please turn up the volume. It's a term which we all know is being used more and more, but with good reason as frequently where we find intrapreneurship, we find innovation and that is something every organisation, public or private, should be focussing on - but how?
The truth to be drawn here, is that where we find intrapreneurship, we find a fantastic culture with high engagement but most interestingly, choice. It's a choice made by individuals to be engaged, a choice to perform well and use discretionary effort. It's a choice to be brave and to stand out.

What is choice engagement?

I think there are two types of people within this 'intrapreneurial zone'. There are your 'mavericks' and there are your 'ambassadors'. Outside this 'zone' there are also 'dependables', 'expendables' and 'robots'.
Ambassadors are already engaged, switched on and 'happening' people who've made a positive choice. Mavericks are still switched on but they pose a risk because their choice is usually for personal gain rather than organisational. This just means that their potential toxicity needs to be well managed. They need to be encouraged through the right leadership and culture so that they too choose to become ambassadors and be organisationally engaged. Robots and expendables are just the pay cheque cashers that tend to choose not to do anything extra whilst dependables are those solid performers upon who you can simply rely.
"Where there is choice, there is a root to engagement, which leads to more intrapreneurial potential."
What this demonstrates is that employees all have the ability to choose how they are engaged within an organisation. You can't force people to behave in a certain way, only create a culture with the right incentive to promote the choices you would like them to make.

How can HR work with choice engagement?

It is in the interest of HR practitioners to work with these intrapreneurs and for HR as well to be included in the intrapreneurship process. So you have to understand what the process is behind the thinking of intrapreneurs. That way you can understand the concept of choice allowing you to capitalise on it.
Where there is choice, there is a root to engagement, which leads to more intrapreneurial potential. Once you can unlock this it means that the intrapreneur can make bigger choices, increasing their engagement further leading to even more innovation, and so on.

Implementing the strategy

But building that environment doesn't deal with initiative alone – a certain amount of an emotional element is involved and this is where the 'three emotions of business' comes in. These are love, desire and envy.
In a choice environment these are applied to people who love what they do. Desire is then created in customers and partners and competitors who cannot figure out how you do what you do so will ultimately display envy.
So from an HR perspective, intrapreneurs are vital in creating a fantastic place to work and a progressive organisation. They embody engagement, innovation and deliver amazing customer experiences that make organisations grow and thrive – even become enviable. In an ideal world, HR should be instrumental in creating cultures that promote people to choose to be intrapreneurial and step up to the challenges face by their colleagues and the wider organisation.

HR + Intrapreneurship = Hintrapreneurship

My suggestion for the future is start using the term 'Hintrapreneurship' to merge the HR and Intrapreneur handles. My perspective is less about challenging this theory and more a statement of desire to inspire HR practitioners to crack on with this and make it happen. It's definitely an area which will continue to be a focus and offer fresh ideas and opportunities for the future of HR.
Cris is a successful entrepreneur, renowned speaker, author, industry judge and trusted advisor. His proven expertise and thinking in the field of innovation, culture change and employee engagement has led to his appointment as a member of the NHS Think-Tank for Leadership and Innovation. He is also a guest lecturer for Cranfield University and an expert associate for Henley Business School 

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Author Profile Picture
Cris Beswick

Author, Speaker + Strategic Advisor on Innovation

Read more from Cris Beswick

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