We know what it means to be an entrepreneur, but what’s an intrapraneur? Simply put, it’s when one takes on the task of innovating within the organizational hierarchy. And who better encapsulates the intrapreneurial mindset in the Future of Work than Gen Z? Generation Z wants to create new initiatives and pioneer novel approaches in order to catalyze societal advancement as a product of their participation in enterprise purpose-driven leadership. Therefore, as Gen Z appears more frequently in the labor market, intrapreneurial programs are more important now than they have ever been before, and companies must begin to implement intrapreneurial initiatives for Gen Z employees if they are to succeed in recruiting and retaining this demographic. And now, let’s talk about some key points.
Gen Z is the most entrepreneurial generation yet, and they show no signs of damping their grand ambitions even as employees. As per readwrite, “A Gallup study of Gen Zers found that nearly 80 percent of students want to eventually be their own bosses, while a Millennial Branding report found that more than half of college students are eager to start their own businesses — a number that’s even higher among high school students.” Even the younger echelons of Gen Z who are not yet past their mid-teens are interested in forging their own paths. Therefore, there will be an expectation from Gen Z that companies will embrace their innovative might and integrate it as part of daily workplace function and business dynamics. So what’s the way forward that companies should take with intrapreneurship and Gen Z? Here are my recommendations:
1. Implement innovation competitions:
Hackathons and innovation competitions are not only a great employee engagement mechanism, but are the secret sauce to discovering hidden employee talents that can be leveraged as part of the profit-making model. Engagement in the workplace is key for Gen Z, and hosting such events on a regular basis will help achieve their entrepreneurial ambitions within the corporate hierarchy. According to Tucker Matheson, a millennial and management consultant at PwC Advisory, “I’ve seen the value of having a voice. I think the organizations that listen and act on staff feedback and initiatives are the ones that are going to keep and maintain the leaders that they need at the end of the day.” Matheson also stated, ““I think the biggest hurdle for a corporate is this focus on capitalism to the max. I get it, earnings and the capital markets drive business activity, but I think only focusing on that hurts the organization in the long-term. You have to give your staff a voice and create an environment where they are heard, respected, and challenged to step up and be future leaders of the business.” Bottom line––give Gen Z a voice, give them a challenge in the form of a competition, and let em’ rip with the innovation.
2. Emphasize transparency with employees:
Everybody values transparency, and Gen Z is no exception. If companies have the goal to promote intrapreneurship, employees must be filled in on the latest enterprise developments if they are to successfully innovate. Information must be distributed throughout the workplace hierarchy, otherwise the quest to create new things fails because there is missing data that is necessary to complete the puzzle.
3. Provide the ability of ownership:
There is no better feeling than being able to say that you built something. It is recommended that enterprises enable Gen Z employees to experience pride of ownership at a level so that they understand how much their individual effort contributed to enterprise operations as a whole. This also serves as an important moral encouragement source that Gen Z will likely need from superiors––positive reinforcement is key to operating with this demographic.
4. Invest in tech resources that will boost efforts:
Last but not least, Gen Z is highly digital and AI oriented, meaning they will expect a significant level of enterprise digital maturity––especially when it comes to resources. According to What a Venture, an Intrapreneurial model called the Tool Centered Model encapsulates this sentiment. “Typically, intrapreneurship programs involve many human resources. The advantage of the tool centered model is that no mentors are needed as teams can work on their business idea while receiving crucial guidance (and feedback) by the tool.” By investing in entrepreneurial conducive technologies, companies will provide Gen Z with the ability to flawlessly innovate and save time (and money).
Gen Z-ers are intrapreneurs as much as they are entrepreneurs. By considering intrapreneurship as a key business function, companies will successfully recruit and retain Gen Z employees, and will greatly accelerate their future operations and endeavors.