Ensuring that your employees feel empowered can help them not only to be able to successfully handle everyday quandaries that arise, but also to feel they’re more trusted and valued in the workplace.
Empowering employees can have a lot of positive benefits, and it can allow employees to work in ways that are most efficient. It can free up your managers’ time if they’re no longer dealing with day-to-day miscellaneous issues that employees feel they’re able to handle on their own.
Let’s take a look at some ways to empower employees.
Ways to Empower Employees
There are a lot of direct and indirect ways to ensure employees feel empowered to make their own decisions and do things without checking in at every step. Here are a few examples:
- Delegate. From an HR perspective, this may mean training your managers to delegate. Either way, delegating tasks can be a first step toward giving employees more responsibility while still being nearby to answer questions. If done well, it can show employees they’re trusted to handle bigger tasks.
- Encourage employees to try new things or to create their own ways of meeting the end goal. Consider giving employees leeway by allowing them to reach goals in the way they think is best, even if it’s not the way it’s been done before. Ensure they know they can still come to you with questions.
- Allow employees to fail without discipline, when appropriate. When encouraging employees to take new responsibilities, disciplining too quickly for mistakes can set everything back.
- Communicate often, and encourage communication across all levels of the organization. Communication provides context for employees. With context to the business’ working environment and objectives, they’ll feel more confident in making decisions that are in alignment with company goals.
- Share company goals and objectives. Just like the last point, it’s important everyone is on the same page in terms of what the overall goals are for the organization. If everyone is aware of the high-level objectives, it’s easier to see how their actions can positively contribute.
- Set clear expectations. Sometimes employees don’t feel they’re able to take risks because they’re not sure what their specific role is, or exactly how much responsibility you’d like them to take. When employers (and HR and managers alike) are clear in terms of role responsibilities and overall expectations, it sets the tone and lets employees know that there is room to make empowered decisions and choices within the framework that has been set.
- Praise effort when giving feedback. Sometimes employees who feel empowered to make decisions and take action will do so and it won’t turn out the way they had hoped. Nonetheless, it’s important to keep encouraging such actions. Train managers and others who give feedback to employees to praise and encourage employees who proactively take on these types of decisions—even when it doesn’t always work out. Employees need to feel secure that they’re trusted to make choices, even when those choices are not perfect 100% of the time.
- Allow employees to take training courses to improve their skills. This can let employees build confidence in trying new things.
- Show trust. Give employees small but meaningful tasks that show they’re trusted to take the next step. For example, have nonmanagers lead meetings or allow someone who is not typically client-facing to join a conversation with the client.
- Don’t micromanage. This can be a matter of training for supervisors and managers. Micromanaging does not show trust and does not encourage employees.
Many of these tasks are the responsibility of an employee’s direct manager or supervisor. From an HR perspective, this means that HR still needs to support a culture in which managers feel comfortable doing these things. HR can directly influence how managers interact with their team members, and can influence the way goals and objectives are set in the organization overall. HR team members can also influence the type of training that managers get. These are all ways HR can directly and indirectly be involved with the above tasks.