StartUp Traits

Within your company, there may just be “intrapreneurs” carrying on unnoticed by you. But don’t let them carry on unnoticed too long: Instead, you need to spot these people, empower them and retain them — before you lose them forever.

Related: 6 Steps for Turning Your Employees Into Intrapreneurs

Of course, you first have to know what you’re looking for. What is an intrapreneur anyway?

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Quite simply, the term refers to someone within an organization who has the entrepreneurial spirit. These employees show the ability to balance daydreaming and doing. They’re the type who’ll spend time coming up with innovative new ideas for your business as well as putting in the effort to bring those new ideas to life.

So, you may understand why it’s so important to spot these intrapreneurs and empower them — because retaining and empowering intrapreneurs will allow you to dramatically boost the innovation happening within your company.

But how do you identify those employees who will help grow your company in this way? Here are the five essential traits to look for to spot an “intrapreneur.”

Passionate self-starters

Intrapreneurs are by definition innovative, but if they haven’t shared their innovative ideas with you yet, they can be hard to spot. That’s why you should look out for employees who are passionate self-starters. Self-starters are people ambitious enough to further their careers without the help of others. They set goals for themselves and meet them, they initiate problem-solving and they’re not afraid to take calculated risks or promote themselves.

Pay attention to employees who have side hustles and passion projects they work on at home, as well. Employees who have side hustles will typically be innovative intrapreneurs for your organization.

Not strictly money-motivated

Another trait of an intrapreneur is that they’re not money-motivated. An intrapreneur might appreciate a monetary bonus but it’s not what drives him or her to succeed. In fact, according to a study reported in the Harvard Business Review, the more people focus on their salaries, the less they focus on satisfying their intellectual curiosity or learning new skills, which can decrease their job performance overall.

Watch out, then, for employees who are not strictly motivated by money. Intrapreneurs are more driven by “influence with freedom.” This means they value having the ability to implement their ideas into the business with full support from management.