We all know the market is shifting. New trends in employer branding and human resources are coming up on how to keep employers happy and more productive. One of those trends is empowerment.
Empowerment is a managing practice that literally empowers employees with decision making authority so they can take initiative and solve problems. It works by providing employees the necessary resources, authority and opportunities and teaching them the skills they need to learn in order to bring those initiatives to a good end.
Why should you empower employees?
It has been proven that employees develop a sense of pride and ownership over the work they do when they’re empowered. They become more committed to the company’s vision and objectives and are positively involved in change & innovation initiatives.
Giving your employees authority to start initiatives and manage their own tasks and projects shows that you trust them which leads to higher job satisfaction. Employees are more engaged in their work, doing their absolute best. By finding their own way through doing and feedback they will learn faster.
Distributing decision making power allows employees to make decisions without constantly reporting or asking for permission which saves both staff, management and possibly clients a lot of time.
Ultimately empowerment of employees provides you insights in your business from a different perspective. Giving employees the power to take problems in their own hands and find solutions has proven to be faster than when management has to jump in every time.
How can you empower your team?
To empower employees you have to give trust but also establish the necessary boundaries. Empowerment doesn’t work without structure. Therefore some frameworks need to be set up in order for your employees to lead initiatives. Make sure it is clear what falls under their responsibilities and what doesn’t. Always leave your door open for questions or allow some form of coaching.
First and foremost you have to listen to your employees. Lots of them have great ideas for the organization but don’t have the authority to execute them. These are initiatives you should encourage and even reward. Acknowledge the work your employees put into their projects and praise the outcome.
Your job is to facilitate the process. Meaning you provide resources, make sure the needed skills are at hand and trust your team members with the decision making power to make their projects succeed.
Be aware that transparent communication is a must! To get employees involved you need to involve them first. Don’t hide certain information from them. Rather talk to them on how your company is doing, what the challenges are and what the objectives are. Communicate your vision and objectives clearly and motivate employees to take part in achieving those objectives as a team.
Lastly, with great power comes great responsibility. Hold your employees responsible for their work and decisions. Not to blame them when something goes wrong but to re-evaluate and give feedback so they can continuously improve. The same goes for projects that are rounded well, accredit your employees for the effort they put in, they’ve earned to feel proud!
The barriers to empowerment
Empowerment can’t work in a bureaucracy. It demotivates employees tot start initiatives because of the time-consuming paperwork that comes with it. Narrow down your administration to the essence by tracking set goals and direct influences. Maybe create a weekly report template or hold a weekly meeting to track progress.
- Lack of skills
Delegation of larger tasks and projects is the best way to start empowerment. Although you can’t expect employees to know everything. Make sure they have enough knowledge and that you are willing to provide them with it when necessary.
- Lack of authority
When your employees want to start and run their own initiatives you need to give them trust. If they have to get confirmation for every step of the project they won’t feel in charge. Trust your employees with sufficient decision-making power to carry out their projects independently.
- Lack of systems
In order for your employees to run their own projects, there need to be some fundamental systems. Let’s say you hire a new sales person but you don’t have a defined way to do sales. In that case your new employee will barely know how to begin and you probably won’t get the results you desired to achieve.
Empowerment is not just a practice to use when you need someone to take initiative on a project. It’s a continuous process of learning and motivating employees to take action. Help them grow beyond their job functions by providing them the tools and authority they need to leave their mark on your company. After all, a happy employee is a good employee.