Engagement at work: what if intrapreneurship was a solution?

The pandemic is not far from over, and already the damage on employment is considerable. Layoffs are now commonplace, and the vast majority of employees are wary about the possibility to join the growing list of job seekers.
January 13, 2021

Article by:

Patrick Vieljeux
CEO, Causedirect

3min read


The pandemic is not yet over and already the damage on employment is considerable. Economic layoffs are now commonplace, and the vast majority of employees are anxious to join the growing list of job seekers. While some will be able to adapt, it is likely that a large proportion of them will not be able to do so. Should we nevertheless experience this crisis as inevitable? What if there are solutions to overcome it and that these solutions have been before our eyes for a long time?

Work-related disruption and impact on well-being

According to a World Economic Forum-Ipsos survey, stress, anxiety and loneliness have increased among employees. More than half of the working adults have experienced job security anxiety and stress due to changes in their work habits. This change of work habits and routines that we are talking about today was in fact predicted long before COVID spread across the globe. The virus has only accelerated it.

This change of how we work is rooted on a vision of the enterprise centered on short-term performance and profitability, and sustained at the expense of its main resource, without which an enterprise cannot function: the women and men who make it up. The idea that, as Milton Friedman advocated, the company must first of all serve its shareholders, has failed miserably and tragically. So much so that the damage caused by the pandemic is in plain sight.

It seems more constructive to find solutions to heal the wounds that society is suffering from today – and, in particular, to improve working conditions. Some of these have been listed in previous articles, such as empowering your teams, recognizing their work, and giving them a space where they can express themselves, or encouraging solidarity actions both within and outside the company. It can also be organizing online training seminars or challenges to strengthen collaboration and the cohesion of employees by using platforms such as Causedirect.

There is a solution that can be interesting in that it brings them all together at the same time: intrapreneurship.

How can intrapreneurship be a solution?

And how can it generate a win-win situation for the company and the intrapreneur?

Intrapreneurship allows a company’s employees to carry out an innovative project from start to finish within their company, while keeping their status as employees.

Intrapreneurship fosters engagement at work by giving those who wish to do so the opportunity to carry out projects that they could develop elsewhere, or to regain a motivation that is undermined by a reorganization of work that is often confusing or perceived as brutal.

Intrapreneurship encourages innovation

Management knows in advance that whoever embarks on intrapreneurship, s/he will challenge the status quo and design a project that will serve the company’s vision and strengthen its competitiveness in the marketplace.

Intrapreneurship contributes to the company’s growth

By unleashing creativity and innovation, intrapreneurship offers new growth opportunities for the company by seeking new ideas from employees who are willing to get involved in its (sustainable) strategy.

It attracts and retains talent, by allowing employees to develop and thrive by multiplying experiences. Increasingly, the company is perceived more than just a place to work: a space where employees can learn continuously.

Intrapreneurship encourages collaboration and teamwork

Today more than ever, employees feel the need to give meaning to their work. They want to be able to give their opinions and share their ideas.

It is rewarding when they succeed, both for the intrapreneur and for the company that made it possible,

It suits a new form of organization that is increasingly in vogue today, more horizontal and more empowering, in which everyone can contribute in a logic of parity regardless of their position. (On this subject, see the excellent book by Frédéric Laloux, Reinventing organizations.)

Last but not least, in these times of crisis and mass layoffs, intrapreneurship can encourage voluntary departures and give those who do it a new life, more in line with their aspirations.

What are the keys to success?

It is imperative that the company’s raison d’être is clearly defined and understood at all levels, and that employees know why they do what they do, so that intrapreneurship becomes part of the company’s culture.

It is also important for the company to play the game and accept that the intrapreneur may one day be “freed” from its authority. After all, that’s the natural cycle of life.


Patrick Vieljeux



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