HR Management & Compliance, Talent

How to Empower Employees

Empowered employees are a great asset to any organization. These workers feel they have the resources and ability to handle any situation that arises—and do so without involving upper management for every little issue. Empowering employees to be able to make effective decisions independently can not only help with employee satisfaction and retention but also improve customer relations, as these employees can get customer issues resolved quickly and efficiently. Managers will have more time to lead their teams when they’re freed from having to address smaller issues that empowered employees are well-equipped to handle.

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Empowering Employees 101

Given these benefits, employers should find ways to ensure employees feel empowered in their day-to-day work. Here are some ways employers can do exactly that:

  • Train management to trust their team members, which means no micromanagement. Micromanaging employees is the opposite of empowering them, so this point is critical.
  • Create an organizational culture where innovation is celebrated—even if it ultimately fails. Trying and failing is one step toward trying and succeeding, and if employees fear they will be reprimanded for ideas that don’t pan out, they’ll be less likely to try new things.
  • Create an employee development program that has a self-service component or an individual customization to it. This can allow employees to explore new things they’re interested in, even if they don’t perfectly align with their current role, and help them feel more confident to try something new.
  • Ensure the management team sets clear expectations. While this may seem counterintuitive to encouraging empowerment, some employees don’t take chances simply because they’re not clear on whether that would be OK. Setting clear expectations can open up possibilities for employees when they understand the boundaries.
  • Communicate the organizational vision, mission, objectives, and values to employees. Ensure they know how their role fits within this framework. When an employee understands the big picture, he or she can more easily see how certain actions will or won’t help achieve the desired end result. If employees know they’re acting on organizational objectives, they may be more likely to do so—even if it’s not something that is typically part of their job.
  • Train leadership to set end goals but to give employees flexibility on how they’re achieved. This is a powerful step that shows employees they’re trusted and lets them complete the work in a way that makes the most sense to them.
  • Give employees the tools to do their job well, such as access to data, software, processes, or actual tools. In other words, don’t allow employees’ lacking what they need be the reason they can’t be as effective and empowered as possible.

What else would you add to this list? What other steps have you taken to empower employees?

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