How to build a team of intrapreneurs 

The fastest way to build a team of intrapreneurs – i.e. entrepreneurial types who operate within an organisation they don’t own – is through a recruitment process that doesn’t involve phoning referees listed on CVs.

When you’re recruiting, calling a listed referee on a CV will be a waste of time as they will always give a glowing reference. Employers are better informed by doing their own detective work and ringing a former workplace to speak to a supervisor.

You can learn so much more about potential hires if you are just a little more detailed in your approach, and it’s worth the effort when you consider 50%of new hires fail within the first 18 months.

Attitude is the biggest reason why staff fail and the best way to find out whether they are going to create problems for you or be a productive intrapreneur is to seek out their old boss and colleagues.

Building a team of intrapreneurs is the best way to boost business growth and profits because they are creative, organized and have the ability to conceptualise, implement ideas and make decisions quickly.

Attracting intrapreneurs isn’t an easy task they are not attracted to the typical job ad.

Write your advertisement as a piece of marketing material designed specifically for the person you’re looking for so when they read it, they think “Wow… that sounds like me!”

The best way to do that is to ask questions in the ad, rather than tell the person what they “need to have” in terms of experience.

It takes 18 months for a person to be fully inducted into your business, so the reality is that anyone whose past work history shows lots of roles with less than two years experience is unlikely to stick around.

Employers who micromanage staff will struggle to build a team of intrapreneurs.

Your best bet is to hire them and get out of their way so they can solve the problems you’d like them to.

This involves delegation, trusting someone else to do the job but if you believe that if you want something done, you have to do it yourself, then intrapreneurs won’t stick around.

Here are four ways to build a team of intrapreneurs:

  1. Hire for Attitude: Great intrapreneurs are good team players. They support the team they work with, they’re honest and bring out the best in others.
  2. Delegate : Make sure they know how to produce the result you’d like, and then get out of their way.
  3. Provide Support : Ensure they have the support necessary to produce the results. This may be support in terms of human resources (admin support, etc), financial support, or most commonly it’s the support to know they are able to make decisions and mistakes.
  4. Measure Results : Make sure you know what they are producing, and make sure you know what they are doing that is producing that. While there is a lot of value in what gets created, there is more value in documenting how it’s done, so that it can be replicated.

About the author

Mike Irving is a recruitment consultant and runs two day leadership accelerator courses across the country. For more information visit

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