According to a new study by Accenture, U.S. employees are eager to be entrepreneurial, but most think that their companies are not doing enough to support their efforts to generate ideas. Entitled “Corporate Innovation is Within Reach: Nurturing and Enabling an Entrepreneurial Culture,” the study revealed that 53 percent of employees think that their employers have improved their support of entrepreneurism over five years ago, but several obstacles remain. For example, 36 percent of polled employees feel that the biggest hurdle to entrepreneurship is that their current job keeps them too busy. Though a lack of support from management also ranked highly (20 percent) along with a dearth of incentives for devising entrepreneurial ideas (13 percent).
Over half of survey participants also said that their companies doesn’t support ideas from their entire workforces and 77 percent reported that new ideas are rewarded only once they are proven to work. Consequently, 27 percent have avoided generating such ideas for fear of negative consequences. Further, the study showed a pronounced risk to corporate America due to a lack of management support for entrepreneurialism.
Over two-thirds of employees think that large companies risk the loss of their entrepreneurial lead over foreign companies unless they begin to do much more to encourage entrepreneurial activity. A related Accenture survey of 200 self-employed workers found that 93 percent had pursued entrepreneurial ideas at their previous companies, but 57 percent said that they received no support for their ideas.
“Small start-ups are crucial to our economy, but so is corporate America and our large companies risk losing their global entrepreneurial lead if they fail to nurture new ideas within their organizations,” said Matt Reilly, managing director, Accenture Management Consulting, North America. “Rewarding only successful ideas developed by an elite group is no longer sufficient. Employees are better connected and more in tune with customers than ever before, so companies must encourage innovation throughout their entire workforces by incentivizing risk taking and rewarding efforts rather than just outcomes.”