What is employee empowerment? It is a culture where employees show initiative by taking on and completing tasks with little guidance.
Sounds great doesn't it? Employees simply getting on with their jobs and making decisions in the interests of the business so you can focus on bigger and more important things.
But the biggest hurdle to empowerment is leadership. Often leaders have not instilled a culture of empowerment and instead send the opposite message by micro-managing their employees.
So how do you create this culture of empowerment in your business? Here are some ideas....
1. Open Communication.
The traditional organisational hierarchy of upper management and silos needs to go. For empowerment to work effectively, employees need to feel they can express their thoughts, ideas and business concerns at any level of the business. Doing this will encourage employees to think for themselves and push ideas and directions for the business as they know their feedback and ideas will be respected and listened to. Ensure you acknowledge their input, even in situations where the company decides to go in another direction.
Businesses seeking a culture of employee engagement need to focus resources and time on growing their employees. Regularly sit down with employees to review their performance and job satisfaction and set clear goals and plans. This process will make your employees very grateful and give them the confidence to show extra initiative in the business on a daily basis.
3. Failure is OK.
Most employees fear failure at work due to consequences. As long as the costs are not too high and the business risks are minimal, encourage employees to take risks and try new approaches under observation. This process will encourage your employees to think like an entrepreneur as well as an employee.
4. Share Information.
It's impossible to get a culture of empowerment if management shares little information with employees on the bigger picture. If everything is confidential, employees will simply focus in the safety of the job at hand and not take the time to think outside the box. Consider sharing financial information, business plans and strategies with your team to make sure everyone is on the same page.
5. Roles and Responsibilities.
Many organisation have 'cloudy' roles and responsibilities across their business. The result is employees don't really know where they stand and as a result tend to play it safe to avoid stepping on the toes of others. Creating really clear roles and responsibilities will give employees the confidence to show more and more initiative in their area of responsibility.
Make your employees totally accountable for goals and targets set in the business. They will then own these goals, strive harder and think more laterally about how their achievements can contribute to the company in a more global way.
7. Hands Off.
Don't babysit your employees or constantly look over their shoulder. Agree on goals, strategy, time frames, etc. and then let them get on with it. If they stumble, make sure they know it can be a great opportunity to learn and grow.
People don't just work for money. When a job is well done, publicly recognise it. Even better, when true initiative is shown in your business, make extra noise and highlight it to all employees as a example for everyone in the company of what can be achieved.
This may seem like a big list, but taking the time to create a culture of empowerment in your business will give you more time to focus on the big things, improve employee morale and grow the bottom line.
Get to it....