Employee empowerment – this two-word phrase has a lot of strength and power in it. In simple words, it is a strategy and philosophy of an organization that gives its employees leverage to make decisions in their respective roles. It is a powerful strategy for an organization to achieve its overall goal of growth by making their employees responsible for their own work and its outcome. For a company to rise and shine, employee empowerment is of utmost priority.
Huffpost reports that more than 70% of executives realize that employee engagement at the workplace is the key to organizational success, resulting in 22% higher productivity and more than twice as much annual net income. Companies spend more than $750 million a year in attempts to boost employee engagement. Yet employees are not engaged at their workplace.
With companies spending so much on engagement, what is the key factor that is missing? The answer is empowerment. Researchers have found that employees are 26% more satisfied with their work when they hold a position of power. Seven in 10 employees rank empowerment as an important element of their engagement. In one study, highly empowered employees showed engagement levels in the 79th percentile, whereas disempowered workers rated in the 24th percentile for engagement.
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Having employees that are empowered means:
- Satisfied employees
- Better output
- Fostering collaboration at work
- Increased productivity
- Reduced cost for the company as attrition rate comes down
- Healthy and competitive work environment
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How to empower employees
As we discussed already, when employee empowerment is harnessed within an organization, it creates a sense of responsibility among the employees for their actions. Loyalty and productivity are the two direct outcomes of employee empowerment when it is done right. But how to harness employee empowerment? Do you need to spend millions to achieve your goal? Not really! Here we discuss a few techniques that can help you to make your employees more empowered.
- Coaching: Coaching is an important technique that you may want to leverage to empower your employees. Let them identify and implement solutions to problems proactively. Appreciate them with not just a reward but with a greater sense of investment in the company. According to John Powers, writing as an Employee Satisfaction Specialist for Nextel Communications, Inc., “managers must express willingness and ability to adapt from supervisory roles to coaching roles.” Indulge in motivation, questioning and adapting the management style as per the employee’s ability level. Provide an optimum environment so that he/she can give her best. For example, if you need to speed up a process, start by communication on the problem and then build on it. Keep motivating and provide in-depth knowledge. Understand how you can offer help for the employee to perform better.
- Value your people: No matter which level your employee is in, respect them equally through facial expression, body language, and how communication no matter how he/she performs at work. This will build a sense of respect and eventually empower them to take action for their work.
- Give freedom: Micro-management is parse. Instead, try to give freedom to your employees to do their best.
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Other important techniques to harness empowerment:
- Share the goals and direction of the company
- Trust your people
- Delegate authority and not just some extra work
- Provide frequent feedback. Don’t wait for the annual appraisal
- Solve problems instead of pinpointing the falter
- Develop the art of listening to your people
- Help employees rewarded for their positive actions
- Share the leadership vision of the company
- Last but not least, maintain an open communication policy at your workplace