Every organization knows that its most valuable asset is its employees.
They’re the ones who make your business run smoothly if kept happy, or slow it down when disempowered.
After all, when an employee hits a slump at work and doesn’t have the necessary resources, authority, and even a voice to reach their full potential, it might cause them to leave.
Thankfully, there is a way to keep your workers engaged and happy.
Through employee empowerment, you give your team members the autonomy to act and make their own decisions in a company, which often requires mutual trust and understanding.
Let’s tackle this term together and see why it’s essential for your business’s success.
What Is Employee Empowerment?
Employee empowerment is an ideology that grants employees autonomy to make their own decisions and act on them.
By giving employees control over their day-to-day activities, you make them feel that their decisions matter. As a result, you instill in your staff members the confidence to do anything and everything to succeed.
Aside from a simple resource allocation, companies who dabble with an empowerment strategy should:
- Give employees a voice by acting on feedback.
- Reward employees’ efforts frequently.
- Allow workers to grow through additional responsibilities, a new role, or more autonomy.
Remember that an empowered environment means senior leadership must take on new responsibilities and roles, as a fraction of the power normally held by the management transfers to the employees.
Doing this requires a certain level of trust and effort, even if you don’t relinquish all control and accountability. This way, your staff feels more comfortable taking risks while you establish clear expectations and boundaries.
Giving employees the power of decision-making might seem frightening, but it’s highly beneficial.
Let’s see why in the next section.
Why Is Employee Empowerment Important?
According to the Journal of Organizational Behavior, empowering leadership yields more creative and helpful workers while boosting trust and team performance.
There are other notable benefits of employee empowerment, however, so let’s take a closer look at them:
- Motivated employees: As Uncle Ben once said, “With great power comes great responsibility.” When you give employees more autonomy, you increase their job satisfaction levels and employee experience. They’re more motivated to work harder since they understand what you expect of them and have a greater incentive to do a better job and prove their worth.
- Higher levels of employee engagement: Empowering employees has a positive impact on employee engagement, as they feel more invested in their company’s objectives and mission. When there’s hard work afoot, these employees will step up to the challenge and focus on doing their best work.
- Improved creativity: This sense of autonomy stimulates creativity and innovation in your staff. It ingrains enthusiasm in your employees, driving business success and profitability. They’re also more likely to communicate with other departments, resulting in better collaboration.
- Better retention rates: Employee retention helps you keep your best employees. When you capitalize on what employees are good at and what they’re interested in, they’ll probably enjoy work more. In return, happier employees stick around with a company that recognizes their efforts and contributions.
- Trust in leadership: Trust is essential to employee empowerment. When an employee is trusted to fulfill a role to the best of their abilities, others in the company will have faith in them too. Because they feel recognized by their managers, employees feel they can count on the management to support them.
- Accelerated professional development: Managers who empower their workers by providing regular feedback and seeking new training opportunities feed an employee’s involvement in the organization. As a result, it creates a more skilled workforce while increasing employee satisfaction.
After clearing up the benefits, you probably want to help employees feel empowered and create a more pleasant work environment to maintain staff motivation.
You’re in luck!
We have the perfect tips to jump-start your empowerment strategy, so sneak a peek at the next section for more info.
How to Empower Employees in 5 Simple Ways
You can encourage your employees to do their best work with the following strategies.
1. Make them feel heard
Many businesses have annual engagement surveys but rarely act on them.
In addition, very few read the employee feedback and, even if they do, chances are they’ll start taking action when it’s too late to make a difference.
To empower workers, take the time to listen to them.
Encourage employees to provide honest feedback and actively change your business to fit their needs.
You can start by determining what methods work best for your team members to promote an open conversation between employees and management.
For example, using pulse surveys or an employee feedback platform can show in real time what drives an employee and areas where you can improve.
Author’s Tip: Make your employees feel heard right from their first day so they develop the habit of being open about their ideas, concerns, and suggestions.
2. Support their professional growth
When you know the ins and outs of your job, it’s hard to keep motivated to learn more.
That’s why all businesses must invest in an employee’s professional or personal development and encourage them to take on new responsibilities, attend industry events, and share their knowledge.
This way, you give your workers the power to learn while helping them take control of their own projects to fine-tune their critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
If you want to support your workers, you can do so by:
- Handing out a professional or personal development book.
- Holding a career planning session.
- Offering new employee development opportunities.
- Ensuring there are plenty of mentoring or coaching programs available, especially for new hires.
Author’s Tip: Guide your employees through the process of transforming their new knowledge into actionable steps that’ll push them toward completing their objectives.
3. Avoid micromanagement
Micromanagement is a management style characterized by excessive supervision and control over employees’ work, often avoiding passing the reins to others.
In a nutshell, it’s the opposite of employee empowerment.
Micromanagement is bad because it suffocates employees and sows the seeds of distrust among your subordinates.
A study revealed that 71% of employees feel like micromanagement interfered with their job performance and more than 36% left their jobs because of this.
Granting employees autonomy makes them happier and more motivated and produces better overall performance because you allow them to show you why you hired them in the first place.
4. Show recognition and appreciation
Recognition from all levels — from managers to peers — helps team members feel empowered and compelled to do their best.
This means you need to acknowledge their accomplishments through words of encouragement, support, and praise.
Moreover, it incentivizes them to keep doing what they’re doing and gives them the confidence to take positive risks.
Author’s Tip: Show your employees how much you appreciate them by offering them an amazing gift!
5. Make employee empowerment part of your culture
Employee empowerment creates a company culture that can deal with any challenge.
Even if it takes time and dedicated effort to change your organization’s culture so it focuses on empowerment, revitalizing it will set your business up for success.
You must practice listening to and praising your employees regularly to achieve this. Recognize behaviors that align with your company goals and culture and support your employees every step of the journey.
Now Over to You
Employee empowerment is a must in today’s business world, not merely an ideal everyone should strive for.
With so many companies embracing remote work, it’s even more critical to empower workers and put a contemporary focus on the employee experience to drive business success.
As a result, you can experience decreased overtime costs, reduced turnover rates, and 21% more profitability, which can greatly impact your bottom line.
Unleash the potential of an empowered workforce by exploring other human resource terms that can change the way you do business.
You can do so by checking out our HR glossary.