5 Steps To Unleash The Power Of Your People

Let’s be honest. A lot of people are unhappy at their jobs. They feel unfulfilled, unappreciated, stifled and just plain bored. And their performance reflects it.

Many of us have been there at some point in our work lives: crummy boss, lame culture (think logo mugs and posters riddled with “upbeat” clichés), and defeated colleagues who could pass for zombies in a pinch. Everybody loses in a situation like this: the organization limps along, and incredible amounts of employee potential are wasted.

But there are ways to banish zombieland and turn your company into a hive of happy employees bringing their best self to work everyday. The key is to unleash people’s inner intrapreneurship. This is the part of us that bubbles with ideas to improve (or create new) products, services, processes, and policies within the company we work for. Entrepreneurs, of course, create their own companies. The successful ones burn with passion, drive, and vision. Intrapreneurs bring that same energy to their current workplaces. With amazing results.

Here are 5 steps to creating a Workplace that buzzes with energy, creativity, passion, and happy intrapreneurs:

1) Get The Message Out. Leaders must start by stating it, plainly and simply: “We honor, welcome, even crave, your ideas, your creativity, your talents, your passions. Look around the company. If you have any ideas for improvement, or even whole new products or processes, let us know. The door is always open.” Find a thousand ways large and small to reinforce their intrapreneurial mindset. Solicit ideas – from everyone in the organization (sometimes amazing innovations come from unexpected places) – using social media, contests, recognition, etc.

2) Put Tools In Place To Turn Ideas Into Action. It’s no good to get lots of maybe-great ideas, and then just have them sit there. It’s all about action. You must have a mechanism in place (and this means allocating resources) that allows your intrapreneurs to model, prototype and test their ideas. Otherwise, your credibility is damaged and, more importantly, you’ll never know if the idea is good, great, or not viable. Never ever belittle or dismiss an idea out of hand. Give it a respectful hearing even if you feel it’s not viable.

3) Be Honest About The Challenges. Let everyone know where you need help, or where there is room for improvement. When that part-time assistant hears that there’s a bottleneck in inter-organizational communication (and that you welcome ideas for solving it), she may well go home, brew up a pot of coffee, and, using her front-line experience, come up with a brilliant idea for breaking the bottleneck. So stoke the fires of intrapreneurship by asking for help, framing your challenges as fascinating puzzles that ignite the imagination.

4) Offer Education And Career Enrichment. The more engaged in work and in life your people are, the more their intrapreneurial impulses will be encouraged and nurtured. When we engage in activities and learning that feed our passions, we bring that passion to work with us. So pay for courses, classes, and activities that spark curiosity, build confidence, and may well lead to ideas and innovations that will boost performance and profits.

5) Think Happy. I know, that sounds like one of the clichés I mocked earlier, but hear me out. I’m not talking about mindless happiness, smiley emoticons (it’s really time for those things to go the way of the Edsel), and forced cheer. I’m talking about the bone-deep sense of satisfaction that we all get when we’re working on projects that engage our talents, heart and soul. I’m talking about earned happiness. If you want to see what it looks like, check out any successful entrepreneur. Every single person in your organization should know that kind of happiness is within reach. When you see people who can’t wait to get to work in the morning, you’ll know you’ve created intrapreneurs who will radiate a highly contagious fulfillment and happiness. It’s a beautiful thing.

Talent is a terrible thing to waste. Most companies are using only a fraction of their employees’ potential. Intrapreneurship is all about unlocking and unleashing those vast reservoirs of talent in service of your organization. It won’t happen overnight, but if you get started today you’ll see an almost immediate boost in morale and energy. And before too long, one of your intrapreneurs may come up with an innovation that will transform your company. This is exciting stuff. Let’s get going.

A version of this post was first published on Forbes 08/25/2013


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3 Innovative Ways To Source New Talent

Getting the best staff is essential for businesses, whether you’re looking for a tech pro, a new manager, or even a secretary. Though you may know exactly who you need on your team, the best individuals are hard to find.

Attracting new talent is all about innovation. A cutting-edge recruitment strategy reflects a creative company, which in turn signals to potential candidates that this place has a good employee culture. These three innovative recruitment strategies are sure to get the right candidates through the door.

Social Networking

Social networking has become a necessary part of the hiring process. When it comes to sourcing new talent, LinkedIn is the big one. Nearly all graduates have uploaded their CV to LinkedIn, enabling employers to read through profiles and search for candidates in their niche. Over 1.9 million people connect with companies on LinkedIn making it a great site to network on. You can track job-hunters by searching for job-hunting keywords and targeting groups that have people relevant to your field.

Don’t just use the social networking sites that everyone has already heard of though. Innovative employees are also early adopters of new trends and using the latest sites. As well as the big name social media websites, there are specialist social media sites (such as Medium for writers and Doctors Hangout for doctors and medical students) that you can use to find a collection of candidates with specific skills.

Successfully sourcing talent on social media sites doesn’t just rely on your ability to search with the right keywords and approach potential employees with the right tact. You also need to have excellent, up-to-date social media accounts for your own company. People you connect with on these sites will be viewing your social media profiles, so make sure branding is strong and the updates reflect what a great employee culture your company has.

Niche Job Listings

Companies trying to recruit new talents have been using job listings for years, but they’re making one big mistake.

Many employers are signing up to the largest job boards, like Monster and Indeed. Those big name job boards may come with the largest candidate databases, but most of those candidates won’t be relevant for the position you’re looking to fill. Is getting your ad viewed a million times by the wrong people worth it? Probably not.

In this scenario, it’s much better to opt for a smaller, specialist job listings website to ensure your job ad targets the right people. There is a job site for nearly every niche these days, from Culintro for culinary jobs to Jobs4Medical for the healthcare industry. Experts have commented that niche job boards tend to result in applications from higher quality candidates with more relevant skill sets.

Viral Videos

If you want to go the extra mile, then a viral video is a great way to get excellent candidates and make sure that people are talking about your company at the same time.

Heineken got a lot of laughs with their latest video that showed real life applicants trying to talk their way into the job whilst the interviewer held their hand across the table. Viewers were invited to watch the video and vote for the best candidate, an excellent example of both content marketing and crowdsourcing the best results.

Even if you’re not planning on making a viral video, scraping those standard interview questions and opting for something a little more out of the box can be a great way for candidates to differentiate themselves. An old interviewer I knew liked to ask potential candidates to tell him what he had eaten for lunch, then judge from their reaction what percentage of their previous answers were lies. By challenging candidates to think on their feet, you’ll be able to see who has the right skills and abilities to work for your company.

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(About the Author: Ron Stewart has worked in the recruitment industry for 30 years, having owned companies in the IT, Construction and Medical sectors. He is currently running the Jobs4Group, and is CEO of Jobs4Medical. To connect with Ron, you can visit his website, follow him onTwitter @jobs4medical, like his Facebook page or connect with him on LinkedIn.)

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