By Claire West

Entrepreneurs need to champion “intrapreneurism” amongst employees

Businesses should give their employees the chance to be intrapreneurial to deal with staff retention issues and drive business growth, according to Orange and the Make Your Mark campaign.

A survey of 523 UK small businesses conducted for Enterprise Week 2007 revealed that 77 per cent have difficulty recruiting enterprising people and more than one in three consider it to be a major problem.

“With skills shortages a concern in many industries, small businesses in particular appear to be feeling the pressure,” said Martin Lyne, head of small business at Orange Business Services. “A first step towards addressing the problem is to think creatively about how to find and retain enterprising employees – people distinguished by their initiative and bold ideas.

Giving them the opportunity to channel their entrepreneurial skills back into the business can increase their loyalty and provide the x-factor to drive growth.”

The positive news is that small businesses clearly recognise that holding on to good people takes more than a hefty pay packet. 54 per cent of the businesses surveyed believe that “different challenges” and the “nature of the work” keep enterprising employees loyal, compared to only 12 per cent for pay.

The challenge for small businesses appears to be convincing their employees to resist the lure of larger companies. 46 per cent of the businesses surveyed say that their employees go to larger companies when they leave.

To help address these challenges and encourage a more intrapreneurial culture the Make Your Mark at Work toolkit is launching today as part of Enterprise Week.

Available online, the toolkit provides practical information and advice to employers of all sizes and sectors. It is designed to help them grow their businesses by fully engaging the creativity of their employees, for example by introducing ideas at work schemes or networking opportunities to encourage people across all levels of a business to connect and share ideas.

Harry Rich, Chief Executive of Make Your Mark, comments: “All kinds of employees have the potential to contribute a wealth of ideas, but they are not always given the opportunity. Businesses that release this potential encourage creativity and risk-taking, leading to improved recruitment and retention, a happier workforce and greater commercial success.”

The toolkit uses many of the insights drawn from the Orange Make Your Mark Graduate Panel, a forum created to recognise and develop the full talent of graduates in the workplace, and is supported by Orange Business Services.

The toolkit is available for download here: www.makeyourmark.org.uk/atwork