You’ve probably heard about the importance of employee engagement. Engaged employees are people who are invested in company goals and values, not because they’re paid to be there, but because they want to be there.
Employees who are more engaged also boost productivity of those around them, increase customer satisfaction and enhance company culture. To engage your employees, it’s vital to empower them to own their projects, the challenges that come with them, and the results.
What is Employee Empowerment?
Employee empowerment can mean a wide variety of things. It’s about trusting your employees and holding them accountable for the work they’re responsible for. It’s also about giving employees a certain degree of autonomy to make their own decisions.
Generally speaking, if employees feel empowered, they’re more willing to go the extra mile to reach company goals, drive innovative ideas and become advocates for the brand itself.
Empowered employees are more loyal, committed and potentially more productive. When people have the tools they need to successfully lead and manage their own projects, the benefits are tremendous.
Benefits of Empowerment
Positive impact on a company's bottom line
According to a 2017 study, more than 70 percent of executives believe that implementing employee empowerment in the workplace can lead to higher productivity and more than 2X the annual net income.
Retain top talent
Prioritizing professional growth for employees will help them have a positive association with your brand. Giving them autonomy helps them see their career growth trajectory and feel more invested in their work. It can also give people the opportunities to network and build thought leadership, which is good for both employees and the brand.
Quicker problem solving
Empowered employees are much more likely to respond faster to problems. These employees have a better understanding of the role they play in the company and the access to resources they have; as they are in control of decision making, empowered people are in a better place to spot issues and find efficient solutions.
Increased morale & productivity
Empowered employees who can do work without continued managerial oversight tend to feel more respected in the office. Obstacles are removed when people no longer need to have a supervisor’s approval before moving forward to the next stage. Improved employee performance can, indirectly, also lead to a boost in revenue and growth.
Lower levels of stress for managers
Empowering employees with more responsibility can allow managers to focus on business strategy, project planning and larger objectives; by removing their need to intervene in day-to-day tasks, managers have more opportunities to think and plan for the big picture.
Improved quality of work
When employees are given the autonomy to make a difference when it comes to products, they produce higher quality work. The finished product becomes a matter of personal pride for employees. That higher quality of work can lead to increased customer loyalty, which in turn leads to more revenue.
When employees have more confidence, they are more willing to share resources and best practices with others, which can improve team dynamics and performance. With great participation, comes great proactivity.
Ways to Empower Your People
It can be difficult for your managers to let go of the reins on every decision, but here are some quick tips to move your company towards a culture of empowered employees:
Set clear expectations
By setting clear expectations, employees know the boundaries that they are free to act within. You will be giving them express permission to make their own goals that are ultimately aligned with the company’s.
You can host department spotlights where each department gives presentations on the work they do and the issues they encounter. Or, introduce new hires to different departments and have them shadow each department to help build cross-functional experiences.
Sometimes, you can empower employees by simply asking them what they need. Soliciting feedback through surveys or in-person team meetings can help you determine what's working well and what needs improvement.
One of the best ways to empower the people you work with is to provide them with all the information they need, in a centralized location such as Google Drive. Put together how-to-guides and in-depth walkthroughs so employees can educate themselves.
Thank your employees for giving feedback, letting you shadow them or having them shadow you. Thanking people makes them feel respected and praise is a great form of motivation. Thanking colleagues for their feedback with a flexible, real time e-gift card can be a great way to show appreciation and build goodwill.
Part of empowering people is also recognizing where their limitations lie. Empowering employees and coworkers is also about supporting them and understanding that the same working style doesn't work for everyone.
Leaders vs. those who lead
Don’t try and solve your employees’ problems for them. While leaders are those in authority, those who lead provide advice and insight that employees can use to find their own solutions, which helps foster independence and cultivates confident risk-takers.
Find their wheelhouse and hand over the wheel
If you can identify the skills each one of your employees is best at within their roles, you can use it to your (and their) advantage by making them the go-to reference point in that area for the rest of the team.
Support their decision making
When you empower employees, you have a responsibility to support them and their decisions. That means helping them when they ask for assistance, giving them credit when they succeed and allowing them to make mistakes.
Using the strategies above will empower your employees and enhance your company culture. Employees who are allowed to take ownership of their projects, will take pride in their work, learn from what they do, and will work tirelessly to elevate your brand. Empowering your people will help you recruit, retain and make leaders out of the best people.
During these uncertain times, we noticed a lot of teams are currently needing to work from home, so next week we'll go through 10 Strategies to Help Remote Employees Work Efficiently. It will cover the following in detail:
- What is Remote Work?
- Strategies for Management
- Strategies for Employees
- Benefits of Remote Work
Hope you’ll join us for the discussion. Have something you want to learn more about? Let me know in the comments below or connect with me on LinkedIn.
Muucho Guusto :)