If you’re a small business owner or entrepreneur then you’ll understand the value of having a team of innovative, go-getters around you that take ownership of their work and have excellent problem-solving skills. Unlike employees who simply turn up to work and wait to be told what to do, these ‘intrapreneurs’ as they are called will add real value to your business. So how can you develop your employees into intrapreneurs? Here are five ways that you can foster that entrepreneurial spirit in your workforce.

1.       Empower your employees

Research suggests that empowering employees can have a positive effect on both job performance and job satisfaction. Empower the employees in your organisation by enabling and encouraging them to make decisions, take charge of projects, and solve problems. Make sure though that you give them the resources and training they need beforehand as well as the confidence and authority to get on with it.

2.       Foster a positive work environment

It will probably come as no surprise to learn that happy employees are also more innovative and productive. And so, fostering a positive work environment and a sense of camaraderie is essential for the budding intrapreneurs in your team. After-work activities, shared meals and team bonding exercises will contribute to developing a team environment in which good working relationships, innovation and creativity are nurtured and sustained.

3.       Encourage employees to have different experiences within the business

Performing the same old tasks day in and day out will not encourage creativity and innovation in the office; in fact, it’s likely to have the opposite effect.  Encourage employees to have experience of aspects of the business outside their usual sphere of influence. Cross-departmental project working, mentorship schemes and work shadowing are all ways to facilitate and promote new ways of working.

4.       Host team brainstorming sessions

A recent survey by the University of Phoenix found that companies which hosted regular team brainstorming sessions to address organisational issues or to develop business strategy were more innovative and creative than their counterparts. It seems as though creativity and innovation are infectious. What’s more, productive team brainstorming sessions also help to foster that sense of employee empowerment and a positive work environment that we mentioned earlier.

5.       Allow employees the necessary time and space

In today’s fast-paced and pressurised workplaces, employees are given very little time or space to consider possible courses of action and to make decisions – often it seems as though everything needs to be done by yesterday. However, research suggests that employees who are allowed to let go and then come back to a problem often end up making more effective decisions. So, whenever possible allow employees to step away from any complicated challenges and issues because you may well find that some space and the chance to reflect results in the right answer coming to them.

If you want a team of motivated, innovative problem-solving intrapreneurs around you, then use these tips to bring out the best in your employees.