Many organizations are pretty successful, but to help your organization leave its competitors in the dust, you need to focus on your employees.
As a leader, this means building a company culture where employees are truly empowered to make a meaningful, measurable difference. Leaders who empower their team create unity that will become a key asset in any organization’s long-term success.
Typically, people enjoy their jobs more and take more initiative when they feel empowered to make their own decisions and determine their own destiny.
A lack of employee empowerment in a business often leads to disengaged employees who can’t understand why they should bother to put in any extra work beyond their baseline job responsibilities.
These employees view their roles as purely transactional: work for pay, and nothing more.
How to Empower Employees the Right Way
Encouraging employees to give more of themselves to the business is important, but it comes with a caveat: you need to be careful when giving employees more freedom and responsibility, because employee empowerment can actually have some negative consequences if it’s implemented incorrectly.
Strategies for Employee Empowerment
How do you empower employees? While there are many methods of employee empowerment, here are a few strategies for empowering your employees the right way.
1. Empowerment Does Not Mean Removing Structure
Many managers believe that empowerment equals freedom, and while that may be true for the most part, many leaders confuse freedom with lack of support, direction, guidance, or support.
Denying your employees guidelines or help will leave them frustrated, confused, and ill-equipped to do their jobs.
Supervisors are responsible for directing employees in a way that gives them the knowledge and resources they need to succeed, while also allowing them enough room to fulfill their responsibilities on their own terms. Finding this balance is an important part of the employee empowerment process.
2. Give More Information
Many employees receive only the basics when it comes to the information they need to do their jobs.
While this is pretty commonplace, it fails to empower employees because they don’t have enough information to truly make their own decisions.
For example, if employees don’t know what the end goal is of a given project, they may miss out on valuable opportunities to improve the finished product, do their work more efficiently, or give certain aspects of the project priority over others.
Giving your employees more information about the work they’re doing and how it relates to the whole gives them the power to make judgement calls about their responsibilities, which will help your employees feel more involved, give them a sense of ownership, and likely lead to a better result.
3. Encourage Two-Way Communication
Another mistake that many business leaders make is not allowing for open, timely dialogue that travels up and down the organization.
Communication often comes only from the top down, leaving lower-level employees powerless to influence their work environment.
Establishing better communication practices can help your employees feel empowered to grow and contribute to the big picture.
In addition, employees on the front lines often have deep operational knowledge and valuable perspectives to share that are very different from that of employees higher up in the chain of command.
4. Keep Your Employees Accountable
While it may seem contrary to empowerment, consistently holding your employees accountable for their responsibilities will empower them to take genuine ownership of their work.
Depending on your workforce’s circumstances, this could mean administering consequences, praising them for work well done, or providing incentives for improvement.
When people take ownership of their work, they are more likely to put in extra effort and feel pride in the success they achieve.
If you’re struggling with employee empowerment in your business, it may be time to call in the experts.
CMOE’s Design Team is comprised of individuals with diverse and complementary strengths, talents, education, and experience who have come together to bring a unique service to CMOE’s clients. Our team has a rich depth of knowledge, holding advanced degrees in areas such as business management, psychology, communication, human resource management, organizational development, and sociology.
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