The UrbanBlog

Find the Intrapreneurs in Your Company Before They Leave

Posted by Kinga Skowronek on Oct 21, 2014 2:57:00 PM

A healthy mixture of the right culture for your company should include the intrapreneurs. An Intrapreneur is defined as an individual within a large corporation who takes direct responsibility for turning an idea into a profitable finished product through assertive risk-taking and innovation. In short, intrapreneurs are the innovators, thought-leaders that want the opportunity to go against the grain and take things to the next leve. They are gems hidden inside your company that need to be nurtured and allowed to shine. They bring in a new way of thinking, ideas that have not been explored yet which can lead to new successes and a happier, more productive workforce.

intrapreneurs in your company

To put it into perspective, Richard Branson, Founder of Virgin Group, explains the importance of intrapreneurs and how they impacted his company’s success, “Many millions of people proudly claim the title "entrepreneur." On the other hand, a title that hasn't gotten nearly the amount of attention it deserves is entrepreneur's little brother, "intrapreneur": an employee who is given freedom and financial support to create new products, services and systems, who does not have to follow the company's usual routines or protocols." While it's true that every company needs an entrepreneur to get it underway, healthy growth requires a smattering of intrapreneurs who drive new projects and explore new and unexpected directions for business development. Virgin could never have grown into the group of more than 200 companies it is now, were it not for a steady stream of intrapreneurs who looked for and developed opportunities, often leading efforts that went against the grain.”

Create the Right Culture for Intrapreneurs

To find the intrapreneurs within your company it’s important to first have a culture of transparency and a work environment that is open. Identify and put a value on the opportunities your employees have for innovation and thought leadership. Inspire innovators and the creative thinkers to stand up and stand out, through resources, insights and best practices, but remember not everyone is the same. Employees with a more corporate mindset have a different way of going about their work and need to be handled differently. Keep in mind, your employees want to see results. They want to be able to know how they are doing and how the company in general is doing. 

Nourish an Intrapreneurial Environment

Once you find the intrapreneurs in the group, its paramount to establish a culture where they aren’t scared to share their innovative ideas and concepts otherwise there is a high chance that they will end up leaving. In Entrepreneur, Joel Bascall writes that it is important to remember that an employee with an entrepreneurial mind-set is different from employees with a corporate outlook. He offers the following advice on how to foster an intrapreneur at your company: 

  • Keep rules and guidelines to a bare minimum

  • Allow them to challenge things

  • Give them plenty of problems to solve

  • Help them bring their ideas to fruition

Scott Gerber, Founder of the Young Entrepreneur Council, points out that inn the 21st century, entrepreneurial thinking isn’t just for entrepreneurs. Adaptability, creativity and financial literacy are core skills for American employees and so-called intrapreneurs — innovators within larger organizations — as well. 

There is a lot to keep in mind when creating the optimal workplace and culture that will ultimately result in a successful company, but in the ends its worth it to put in the time to achieve the best practices to keep each type of employee happy and productive.



Topics: Company Culture

Sick and Tired of Being Sick and Tired: Is Presenteeism Hurting Your Company?

Posted by Ryne Inman on Oct 21, 2014 10:22:00 AM

I’m wearing a sweater and there’s a flu shot clinic in the UrbanBound office today (thanks to Brad's Deals!), which can only mean one thing: Winter is coming. With the shorter days and dropping temperatures comes commute-disrupting weather, crammed holiday schedules, an increased rate of illness, and employees who bring that illness to work with them. Basically, Winter means that there are a lot more reasons for people to be miserable, and this can affect your company in a very drastic way.

In the 1990s, “Presenteeism” became an issue for many businesses. At its core, Presenteeism is when an employee, though present at the office, suffers from decreased productivity. Ruth Simpson defined Presenteeism as "the tendency to stay at work beyond the time needed for effective performance on the job." Originally, this diminished output was solely linked to illness or chronic health problems, scholars now include factors such as fatigue from overworking, and fear of job loss due to absenteeism.

Employees coming to work sick should be troubling for businesses for several reasons. Aside from lost productivity (which would have been lost anyway if the employee Presenteeism diminishes productivity and hinders your company.had stayed home to nurse their illness), an office is essentially one giant shared surface. Phones, breakroom appliances, doorknobs and handles, faucets, and any other frequently-touched objects become germ magnets. One sick employee could spread illness to the rest of your employees. Now instead of a temporary loss of one employee’s time and productivity, you will face a cascading loss of productivity as sickness passes from one employee to the next over the course of weeks or months. It’s a greater threat in some industries than others. Consider, though you’d probably rather not, the effects of a nurse reporting for work while sick. Or, how many food service workers rely on each paycheck, but don’t receive sick days from their employer.

It’s crucial not to define illness strictly as common physical ailments like the flu. Depression and unseen chronic ailments can affect employees, and in their desire to be dedicated and avoid the stigma of absenteeism, will come to the office not their whole self.

Healthy employees, too, can fall into Presenteeism by overtaxing their bodies and minds at work. Using bodybuilders as an example, studies show that after an hour of strenuous exercise, people begin seeing drastically diminished returns. That’s because muscles do all of their growth after a workout, during the healing phase. The same is true of our brains. After a while, our minds fatigue, our eyes strain, and we cease to reach our potential. In this state, we’re less efficient, prone to make more mistakes, and less likely to develop the creative links that lead to innovation.

Preventing Presenteeism can be difficult, as it has roots in America’s productivity-obsessed culture, but you can help stem the tide of productivity losses with a few simple initiatives:

  • Prevent illnesses by hosting a flu shot clinic. Not only will this keep your employees healthy through flu season, it will also prevent them from becoming vectors of the spread of the virus.
  • Reiterate your company’s policy on sick days. Encourage employees to remain at home if they are sick, and let them know they won’t be affected negatively for doing so.
  • Offer work from home privileges to employees. If they are able to complete the day-to-day tasks of their job from home, your office’s continuity can be maintained and the sick worker will feel less pressure from fear of falling behind. Commuting workers will also appreciate this perk, especially if major snow hits your area.

You can fight Presenteeism and minimize productivity losses, not just this winter, but year-round as well. Encourage your employees with preventative health programs and work-life balancing initiatives. Healthy, happy workers are the most productive, and can live up to the potential you saw in them when they were hired.

Topics: Human Resources, Well-Being, Company Culture

4 Things Giving Your Relocating Expatriates a Headache

Posted by Emily Halpern on Oct 20, 2014 11:26:00 AM

International relocations can seem very similar to domestic ones, but there are (unfortunately) a lot of things that can get left by the wayside. Without some easily forgotten essentials, international relocations can be a rocky road. Here are the 4 biggest logistical pieces of the puzzle that can hinder the success of your transferee:

Getting a Visa

It’s a longer process than most people realize and the steps vary depending on where the countries involved. It’s so important to provide plenty of time for your transferee to obtain all the necessary materials, which often include a letter from you, the employer. Being proactive about this process will help your company out in the long run.

Along with getting a visa comes to concern of the transferee’s passport. Is it valid? Will it be valid when they try to return? These are both things to consider. An expired passport while abroad can be a huge debacle that will complicate the entire repatriation process. 

Currency relocating internationally

Everyone relocating for a job has thought about the money. It is a job after all. But have they thought about the change of currency that can really throw everything for a loop? That’s where you come in. As an employer, you have to be very clear about financial matters regarding the currency exchange.

Will they maintain the same salary? Will they be paid in the original currency or the new one? Does the moving company need to be paid in the foreign or domestic currency? All of these things will fall on your plate because unexpected expenses will come back to bite you if the transferee is upset. Having these discussions before the relocation begins will prevent confusion and frustration in the long run.

Changing Phones

International calling charges are steep! Don’t let your transferee get caught unprepared. Talk to them about possible phone plans for their current cell phone or the possibility of getting an international phone.

Many cell phone companies have great coverage abroad with limited fees, but depending on the length of stay, it may be more economically responsible to get a new phone altogether. Once that is settled, figure out the best means of communication for you to communicate with your expatriate. Whether it is their new phone plan or a free online service like Skype, be clear about the best way to reach one another if need be.


Even though saying bye to your transferee seems dramatic and permanent, there is a high chance that they will return after a set period of time abroad. Keeping that in mind, it is important to remain in contact with your expatriate to that their return is as smooth as possible. Providing a constant link back home will be a valuable connection for them to have upon returning, which can potentially be more overwhelming than leaving.

The most important thing is for the expatriate to feel secure and ready to go so they can make the transition itself as smooth as possible. If all of these things are taken care of with plenty of time and information to do so, you should be well on your way to preparing your transferee for a very successful relocation!

Topics: International Relocations

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