With the advent of new technologies that allow great mobility and decentralisation in a workforce -- and more efficient deployment of talent -- more and more executives are required to work with greater independence and/or direct satellite teams.
To fulfill these roles, companies increasingly seek intrapreneurs, or entrepreneurs who will perform within a large organization as they would within an independent company in order to establish an entity, to accompany restructuring, realize innovation projects, etc.
Attracting intrapreneurs: an achievable challenge
Attracting a real intrapreneur to join a team is not an easy task. It can be frustrating to see that coveted candidates, full of motivation and brilliant ideas lean towards favouring creation of their own company to exploit their entrepreneurial skills. How can one get hold of entrepreneurs who are willing to roll up their sleeves for the challenges of an entity for which they are not CEOs?
As a starting point:
• Try to understand what motivates them
• Define and deploy a customised strategy
• Dare to use a different approach
Here it is necessary to switch to thinking outside the box. In other words, you will have to be imaginative. After all, is there any better way than innovating in order to attract the attention of a person who thrives on innovative projects?
Traditional recruitment avenues may also not really be suited to these situations. It is better to develop a communication strategy that is relevant to the target profile. To be effective, aim directly at entrepreneurs' spheres, namely events, associations, groups, websites for entrepreneurship, social media and others. There are several possible options for each sector.
To maximize your chances, ask around about what seems to work best for your sector and if possible, test your approach and employer brand among intrapreneurs who are already in your circle. Their comments and recommendations will undoubtedly get you closer to their profiles. If your recruiting strategy attracted the interest of good potential candidates then the next step is to present a job description.
Beware of pitfalls that could cost you the best talent! And dare to use a different approach by writing a description for an "Intrapreneurship Opportunity." Here are three suggestions to help you.
1. Describe the context you are recruiting for
Describing why you are recruiting will give you an opportunity to stimulate initial interest. A new division needs to be established, a new line of business must be integrated into the organization, or a new office has to be opened abroad -- these are just a few of the examples that can be put forward to motivate genuine entrepreneurs.
2. Forget the role and responsibilities and highlight the mission and objectives
Numerous job descriptions are comprised of a long list of boring underlying responsibilities for "ABC" role under the supervision of "XYZ." This practice should be avoided at all costs if you want to attract the attention of a self-motivated intrapreneur who thrives on exciting challenges. Instead, emphasize what the main mission of the position is, or the ultimate goal, or the desired objectives.
As the roles of intrapreneurs often encompass managing resources such as human, material, financial and others to complete a project, these details must be provided. In assessing whether a challenge is feasible and deciding "I could go for that," an intrapreneur will appreciate that resources are available for them to accomplish their mission(s).
Furthermore, each mission should also be accompanied by qualifiable and quantifiable objectives. Although entrepreneurs working within your organization must have the flexibility to accomplish their mission, the fact remains that the risks taken are closely linked to consequences which ultimately remain the responsibility of the organization. It is therefore essential to communicate clearly and comprehensively what the risks are, and where intrapreneurial responsibilities lie.
3. Introduce requirements as acquired and desirable values
Depending on the position, you will obviously want to make sure that the technical, academic and specializations requirements are met. To these you will have to add your desired mix of other essential qualities such as leadership, motivation, autonomy, communication, boldness, tenacity and courage (to name only a few). How do you ensure these qualities truly belong to the list of strengths you envisage in your potential candidate?
Here are two suggestions:
• Review the list based on past experiences
The past experience of an individual can depict behaviors and traits linked to leadership, innovation, creativity, self-motivation and risk management. Can you find several examples of entrepreneurship such as the set up a student radio, the creation of a community project, the launch of a new product or business service? Successful entrepreneurs are often serial entrepreneurs so pay attention to their past endeavour.
• Listen carefully what the candidate says
It is also possible to identify the entrepreneurial spirit through what is said in an interview. The language of an entrepreneur may well look like this "I have set up," "my goal was to build," "by innovating I knew I was taking risks," "my experience enabled me to create a new," "I had the idea to launch," etc.
If you remain indecisive, psychometric tests may also be used to help you uncover desired characteristics and personality traits of each candidate.
The essential involvement of the organization
Finally, keep in mind that recruiting ambitious intrapreneurs is not an end in itself. The corporate culture must also be ready for it. The organization must maintain a flexible work environment and make available to intrapreneurs all necessary resources for project implementation.
Moreover, to keep intrapreneurs you will need to promote them in your organization while regularly feeding them new challenges. But this is a different theme which will be the subject of a new article. Meanwhile, dare to take risks, get noticed by intrapreneurs and take that opportunity to recruit the best talent for your organisation to thrive!
This article is also available in French
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