How to Empower Your Employees
Most modern day organisations appreciate the importance of empowering their employees. Why? Because research has shown that empowered employees step up, are more motivated, and as a result are more productive. However it is not that easy to empower a workforce, but we have 6 top tips to set you on the right path:
Mean it and back it
The mistake a lot of organisations make is thinking they can tell employees they have been given additional responsibilities but in reality management retain full control. It is essentially smoke and mirrors to make the workforce believe they have been empowered but it is not easy to fool people and they will quickly realise the falsification and become more demotivated than ever.
Encourage open communication
A quick way to make an employee feel uninvolved and disengaged is to keep them out of the loop and limit communication. There are still many organisations that have a culture of top-down communications and this typically makes employees feel that they do not have a voice. Of course it is important for there to be top-down communications from leaders and managers, but employees must feel that they have the ability to share their thoughts, feelings, and observations. If this is not already happening organically within the business, a good first step is to implement a structured process for employees to share easily without fear of reproach.
Shun a blame culture
Sometimes there will be failure within an organisation – employees will fail. If you want employees to accept empowerment which will inevitably bring them extra responsibility, you must shun a blame culture. A rational workforce will be reluctant to be empowered if failure will lead to recrimination.
By empowering your workforce you are likely to be asking them to do more and raise their productivity. When there is success it should be rewarded. Very often this does not need to be a promotion or a pay rise, more responsibility or open praise is typically preferential.
Provide infrastructure for success
The workforce will need tools and resources to succeed and these are usually within the control of the management team. This might include access to people, technology, information, and so on. In fact providing access to context which is often inside the heads of the management team who are delegating is incredibly important.
Don’t micromanage but insist upon openness
The point is that you give workers responsibility and the breathing room to deliver. However that does not mean that you do not require employees to keep management updated with progress. This is why it is important for the workforce to own their own portfolios of work but have regular one to ones, and know when they need to provide an update outside of that regular meeting.
For empowerment to provide the results that organisations desire, it must be authentic and backed up by the managers and leaders. Done right, that additional responsibility will undoubtedly increase workforce motivation and boost productivity.