Employee empowerment is a critical leadership tool that should be at the forefront of priorities for any successful business. After all, a company’s employees are its most valuable asset.
Employees’ successes and failures directly correlate to the successes and failures of their organization. In this way, employee empowerment has a significant impact on a company’s accomplishments and potential downfalls.
In fact, some of the largest and most successful organizations worldwide can attribute their success to the hard work of their empowered employees. That being said, employee empowerment is not just a topic for Fortune 500 companies.
All organizations should focus on empowering their teams because doing so will substantially benefit both the organization and its people on a collective and individual scale.
If you’re considering making a change in your company to better harness your employees’ full potential, then focusing on employee empowerment is an excellent place to start.
This article will discuss all aspects of employee empowerment, including its benefits and how you can start empowering your team today. Continue reading to learn more about:
What is Employee Empowerment?
Employee empowerment refers to an employee’s autonomy and ability to make decisions in the workplace.
Employees who are empowered have the freedom to make their own choices, set goals for themselves and manage their time, promoting a healthier, more positive employee morale.
One of the most critical factors of employee empowerment is that the employer trusts their employees’ decision-making and offers them the opportunity to make independent decisions.
Leaders who focus on empowerment in the workplace will ensure that their employees have sufficient authority and resources to manage their time and goals as well as make decisions on behalf of the company. If employees are given the appropriate tools to make decisions, and the opportunity to take leadership, then they are more likely to reach their full potential.
Employee empowerment can exist at several levels within an organization, including organizational, managerial and individual levels. In general, empowered organizations focus on teamwork.
Rather than a traditional hierarchy, with a single decision-maker at the top, empowered organizations share the decision making power with several people or groups by delegating the opportunity to manage goals, decisions, and outcomes.
At the managerial level, employee empowerment helps a team leader better manage and motivate their team. Management who are empowered has the authority to make crucial decisions on behalf of the company, allowing them to perform their job more effectively.
At the individual level, empowered individuals have the power and confidence to manage their work and make decisions, which often motivates them to do well.
Examples of Employee Empowerment
There are also various types of employee empowerment.
The ways in which organizations can empower employees include:
1. The Power to Contribute Suggestions
With suggestion empowerment, employees are encouraged to contribute ideas in the workplace.
While members of management may still make the ultimate decision, employees are involved in developing solutions and sharing their input.
Allowing team members to provide ideas and suggestions helps to build trust and ensures that they feel their opinions are valued.
2. Control Over Time Management
Time management empowerment is becoming very popular in organizations today, particularly in the tech industry.
When employees are empowered to manage their time, they are given the opportunity to determine when and where they work. They are responsible for meeting goals and deadlines and are held accountable for managing their time appropriately.
Organizations that promote time management empowerment often focus on goal-based work rather than the number of hours that are worked.
3. Decision-Making Power
Decision-making empowerment allows employees to make certain decisions without needing to consult management.
While the ability to make autonomous judgments in all circumstances may not be warranted, organizations that seek to empower their workforce in this way often give decision-making power for choices that relate directly to the employee’s role in the company.
For example, if a customer comes into a brick-and-mortar location with a problem, the employee receiving the feedback may be empowered to offer a solution, without the need for management intervention.
The employee may issue a refund, offer a free product or discount, in order to solve the problem.
4. The Ability to Make Financial Decisions
Some individuals within an organization may be presented with financial empowerment. This type of empowerment allows the employee to make financial decisions in their department, on behalf of the company.
For example, employees may be given the authority to determine how they spend their budget. This is common in marketing departments, where team members can determine how and where ad spend is allocated to reach the goals of the business.
These employees are held accountable not only for their decisions but also for the outcomes of these decisions.
5. High-Level Empowerment
High-level empowerment is all in the name. It allows employees to be involved in high-level decision making.
These types of decisions often relate to organizational level goals and other overarching strategies. With high-level empowerment, employees of all levels in the organization are involved in management decisions, giving them a feeling of involvement in the overall organization.
This variant of empowerment requires open and honest communication with employees about what is going on in the company. To motivate employees who are empowered in this way, many organizations will offer profit-sharing plans.
Benefits of Employee Empowerment
Benefits for Employees
Employees who feel empowered will experience an increased sense of autonomy and control, leading them to feel happier, more confident, fulfilled, and assuring that they have the tools necessary to effectively perform their job.
These factors then lead to an increase in overall job satisfaction where employees feel that they are in control of their time, goals and work, which will likely cause them to greater enjoy what they are doing.
Time management, in particular, is a powerful management style to foster employee empowerment. It allows employees to feel more in control because they can determine when and where they complete their work, creating more autonomy for a better work-life balance.
Employee empowerment also bolsters employee engagement by encouraging and supporting the sharing of ideas, responsibility and accountability, which will lead employees to feel more valued and appreciated for their contributions.
In this way, employees will also feel more of a personal connection to their organization and individual and collective goals, motivating them to work that much harder.
Employee engagement refers to how much employees are invested in their work and willing to go the extra mile to accomplish organizational goals. Discover “How to Foster Employee Engagement for Continued Success.”
Benefits for Employers
Employee empowerment directly correlates to employee morale and productivity, which is the backbone of any successful business.
In this way, ensuring that employees feel empowered is an effective method of directly influencing productivity levels. By ensuring that workers are happy, healthy and confident in their abilities and genuinely enjoy what they are doing, management can directly facilitate overall organizational success.
This increase in employee engagement will not only increase productivity but also serve to create a positive work environment and overall company culture. Creating these settings also helps facilitate improved teamwork and cohesion.
Empowered employees are more willing to share their ideas with coworkers and leadership openly, further promoting clear and honest communication across the board. This exchange of ideas will also lead to more creativity and innovation, which will add an element of originality and depth to help your business stay relevant and competitive.
Perhaps one of the most prominent notes in support of employee empowerment is that it provides staff with a feeling of loyalty and commitment to their organization. Providing workers with autonomy and control over work decisions causes them to become more invested in the outcomes and motivates them to work harder to achieve their goals.
In this way, employee empowerment can help curb or decrease the employee turnover rate within an organization by creating an environment where employees feel welcome, heard, and valued.
Above all, these benefits can lead to better quality products and services and therefore an increase in sales and revenue.
How to Empower Your Team
While it’s easy to see why leaders should empower their employees, doing so is not always an easy task.
Successfully empowering your team involves towing a fine line between coming across as a strong leader who offers employees the ability to take on leadership and a poor leader who is trying to delegate difficult decisions and detach themselves from responsibility and accountability.
Therefore, it is crucial that leaders establish trust with employees and, most importantly, that they don’t overwhelm their employees when promoting empowering opportunities.
Employers should develop strong and positive relationships with their employees to ensure that their empowerment techniques fall in line with what the employee is comfortable and capable of managing.
Thus, it is critical that these new responsibilities are clear and demonstrate a sense of trust, rather than come across as a delegation of hard decision making.
Employers can encourage employee empowerment in a multitude of ways, such as promoting autonomous decision making and actively listening to employees and encouraging them to share their thoughts, ideas, and solutions for issues that they may not otherwise have been aware of.
When delegating and supplying authority for employees to make informed decisions, employers must establish channels of clear and open communication for these new roles and responsibilities to ensure that employees are equipped with the appropriate tools to be successful.
One of the most effective ways of promoting employee empowerment is to offer professional development opportunities for employees looking to acquire new skills and take on increased levels of responsibility.
These initiatives also demonstrate to employees that the organization is invested in their growth and development.
Focusing on professional development helps both employees and businesses increase productivity and help ensure success. Learn more in “Professional Development – How Continual Learning Can Promote Success.”
Focusing on employee empowerment can help an organization succeed by improving employee productivity, and commitment, as well as fostering innovation and creativity.
In turn, employees who feel empowered at work will be more satisfied with their job and willing to go the extra mile to help reach company goals.
Leaders can help establish employee empowerment by building trust with their employees. This trust should be demonstrated by leaders in their support of autonomous decision-making by employees.
Employers need to ensure that they provide employees with the opportunity and resources to make work-related decisions, as well as hold them accountable for the outcomes of these decisions.
By doing so, they can create empowered employees, a better company culture and increased organizational success.