Why it's time to enable your intrapreneurs

There has been much talk lately about whether or not people should be allowed to work remotely – is it a good idea to trust people to do their jobs from home?

You are reading an article from the rise of flexible working series, to read more about this you can visit the series homepage.

At companies such as Yahoo the introduction of systems like stacked ranking as a way to drive performance, coupled with the removal of homeworking, seems very counter-intuitive. Many of the companies relying on these working practices are still relatively young businesses in the new media and technology space – yet their corporate policies sound positively prehistoric!

In a time when we need to be encouraging our staff and colleagues to be innovative, intrapreneurial if you will, we see some high profile organizations effectively saying that they don’t trust their employees to do a great job. Instead, let’s take a look at Google and Virgin – both organizations who actively encourage intrapreneurship; they advocate self-determination and the main measurement is output as opposed to input.

Maybe the perceived problem with some companies isn’t their staff... instead CEOs need to be taking a long, hard look at directors and managers.  Effective performance comes from clearly-defined objectives and well-articulated values and if the leadership can’t communicate this, then any subsequent performance management will fail. 

So many organizations are striving to create start-up cultures within their business and guess what?  Start-up organizations start at home – not in a grandiose office.  When I worked within a corporate environment, my advice to my team was, “it’s not enough to be productive, you have to be seen to be doing it” – they had to be in an office, in a suit, at a desk... otherwise senior managers assumed that they were slacking (even when hitting 100% of their target).

If your organization wants to compete in the new world of smarter customers, demanding clients, diminishing budgets and keener competitors well then you know what to do – don’t build your business old-school, get out there and build a start-up culture like Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

Every CEO would like a flexible, agile workforce, so why not enable that to happen by taking advantage of the many positive aspects of the rise of flexible working? These practices need to be embedded into the company foundations from the start, that way any employee joining the workforce will understand and respect the culture they are trusted to work in.

Give your people time to think, show them that you trust them, reward them for failure (proving something doesn’t work), recognize their contributions and give them better leaders instead of blaming the workforce for someone else’s failings.

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