Research shows nearly three-quarters of us are entrepreneurs in the making – something UK plc needs to better utilise
Clearly, Britain has no shortage of entrepreneurial talent. Indeed, if there was a shortage, it would make our publication something of an exercise in futility. However, it would obviously be reductive to assume that the only entrepreneurial talent lies outside mainstream UK plc. Recent trends toward recognising intrapreneurialism show that plenty of larger enterprises are starting to see that innovation doesn’t just come from disruptive start-ups; the same power can be found within their own workforces. And this is something enterprises ignore at their peril.
In their rundown of the state of the UK workforce, beauty giants L’Oréal have revealed just how vital it is to make use of the innovation that comes from within. According to their research, almost three-quarters of British people were more worried about having their contributions valued than they were about salary or benefits packages. Meanwhile, more than a third of people wanted the opportunity to have their ideas heard by their employer.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem that this is something often being utilised by employers. The report reveals that 71% of companies have no platform in place to make use of employee contributions and strategies. As a result, 27% of the employees spoken to are sitting on ideas that they think will be beneficial to the business, simply because they have no recourse to draw these ideas to the attention of decision-makers.
Reinforcing the idea that innovation is the domain of small- to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), nearly three-quarters of staff felt that you could only really show creative and entrepreneurial initiative in smaller companies. And a rather alarming nine out of ten employees said they felt uninspired by their own managers, thus having to look externally to entrepreneurs for inspiration. This has left over a quarter of staff feeling undervalued and nearly a third feeling they were unable to fulfil their potential unless they moved on to another firm. When looking for a new employer, 35% said they’d look for companies that nurtured staff ideas and 33% would seek employers that encouraged innovation and creative thinking.
Commenting on the findings, L’Oréal’s UK&I country manager Jeremy Schwartz said: “The research gives a powerful insight into today’s employees, and shows how strongly Brits want to have their ideas heard and be involved in company strategy.”
Evidently, it’s not just us who feel strongly about the creative freedom and innovation that start-ups offer. And whilst larger organisations are beginning to see that it’s not just smaller organisations that can learn from their larger brethren, it seems there is still a way to go for large firms looking to make use of all the budding entrepreneurial talent at their disposal.