How to Empower Your Employees Effectively
A company culture where employees are truly empowered to make a meaningful, measurable difference will become a key asset in any organization’s long-term success. Typically, when people feel empowered to make their own decisions and determine their own destiny, they enjoy their jobs more and they understand the significance of putting in extra work beyond their baseline responsibilities.
Here are a few strategies for empowering your employees the right way.
1. Remember that empowerment is not equal to freedom.
Many managers believe that empowerment equals freedom, and while that may be true for the most part, many leaders confuse freedom with lack of support, direction, guidance, or support. Employees should be directed in a way that gives them the knowledge and resources they need to succeed, while also giving them enough room to fulfill their responsibilities on their own terms. Finding this balance is an important part of the employee empowerment process. Denying your employees guidelines or help will leave them frustrated, confused, and ill-equipped to do their jobs.
2. Give the more information about their jobs.
By giving your employees more information about the work they’re doing and how it relates to the whole, you are giving them the power to make judgement calls about their responsibilities, which will help your employees feel more involved, give them a sense of ownership, and likely lead to a better result. Giving not enough information will fail to empower employees because when they only receive the basic information of their jobs, they may miss out on valuable opportunities to improve the finished product and do their work more efficiently.
3. Establish two-way communication practices.
Not allowing an open, timely dialogue that travels up and down the organization is another mistake that you should avoid. Employees on the front lines often have deep operational knowledge and valuable perspectives to share that are very different from that of employees higher up in the chain of command. Establishing better communication practices can help your employees feel empowered to grow and contribute to the big picture.
4. Keep your employees accountable
By consistently holding your employees accountable for their responsibilities, you are empowering them to take genuine ownership of their work. They are also more likely to put in extra effort and feel pride in the success they achieve. An example could be administering consequences, praising them for work well done, or providing incentives for improvement, all depending on your workforce’s circumstances.
Encouraging employees to give more of themselves to the business is important but you need to be careful when giving employees more freedom and responsibility, because employee empowerment can actually have some negative consequences if it’s implemented incorrectly.