9 Empowerment Benefits in the Workplace & 5 Ways to Empower Employees
Core to any successful business is empowered employees. When leaders give everyone in the organization the chance to help improve systems and processes, when employees can lead initiatives and projects on their own, the whole company benefits.
Employee empowerment is a management philosophy, it is cultivated with intention, not by accident. Repeatedly, it is at the heart of stronger job performance, job satisfaction, and a commitment to the organization.
Read on to learn how to create an empowered work environment and what the organization stands to gain from it.
Table of Contents
You can expect higher productivity, better employee engagement, enhanced customer experience, and improved work culture with an empowered staff. While that can be hard to see it, it all translates into tangible aspects like increased profit and employee retention rates.
Let’s take a closer look at the eight benefits of employee empowerment for a company’s success.
Higher productivity and creativity
Empowerment aims to create an independent staff involved in decision-making.
Giving your employees more freedom to get creative and develop new ideas can improve employee confidence and cultivate a sense of accountability for the workflow around the office. Providing a certain degree of autonomy can also make employees more willing to put effort into their jobs. You might even encourage employees to up their game.
More motivated employees
Sure, good employees tend to look for a better way to do their job, but did you ever wonder what role you play here?
After all, a motivated employee can only do so much without adequate organizational support. Eventually, it can lead to a dimming enthusiasm and outright frustration.
That’s why empowering programs include checking that employees have the necessary tools and resources. This way, you can direct that motivation at clear goals.
Generally, empowered employees have high engagement levels, thanks to the effect of autonomy. And engaged employees are higher performers, they’re more productive, and they produce higher quality work.
Does this mean that unempowered and disengaged employees may cost your company money? Sadly, yes. One study points out that American companies lose between $450 to $550 billion annually because of low engagement.
Enhanced customer experience
Customers want to interact with employees who know what they’re doing. So, dealing with an operator or salesperson who always returns to the manager for approval is less than ideal, to say the least.
A business whose employees can handle customers’ complaints professionally is ahead of the game.
One way to do that is to empower your client-facing staff to tackle problems independently. With resources that can help them learn and troubleshoot, employees will take on more responsibility in handling customer complaints.
More empowered, more engaged employees are generally happier in their roles and thus more likely to think highly of and recommend your company.
Employees are the most valuable ambassadors for your brand. And they only get better when they understand and agree with the organization’s vision. They’re likely to talk about the value they find in their jobs in front of friends and even social media.
As a result, your company becomes a magnet for top talents, decreasing the amount of money you’ll spend on recruitment. Plus, it can help you retain current employees longer, thanks to the higher job satisfaction levels.
Higher trust in leadership
Trust between leadership and the staff can be rather fragile. It’ll outright vanish as soon as employees feel like their bosses are taking them for granted or taking advantage of their hard work.
These are all possible risks if the employees aren’t on board with all the major tasks and changes to the workflow. Employees might not trust the vision coming from senior leadership through immediate supervisors.
An empowering leadership style tackles this by making sure that all team members know the main goals they’re working toward and actively contribute to shaping them. It gives them a chance to give input and handle the delegated tasks with enough support along the way.
When leaders express appreciation and celebrate the employees’ accomplishments, they close the loop building mutual trust and creating a deeper sense of empowerment in the organization.
Dead time might not seem like much initially, but it can become a concern in large-scale businesses.
One of the main appeals of an empowered environment is that it can reduce this waste of time and resources. After all, empowerment is all about giving everyone a chance to take control of and responsibility for their day-to-day activities.
Employees can use their time productively when they know exactly what they need to do. This makes the whole organization much more productive.
Enriched work culture
Business owners who empower employees often notice raised morale and collaborative spirit. This favors a company culture where people take the initiative.
That’s because the workers know they’re capable of making decisions, so they embrace a “can-do” attitude.
Instead of waiting for their leader or boss to decide, empowered employees take action and propose solutions to problems.
Why does that matter?
Take what happened when the pandemic hit. Companies that empower their employees with an enriched company culture were able to get back on their feet quicker. An empowered workplace is a more resilient and supportive workplace.
You know the benefits of empowering employees, now let’s actually apply the concept to your organization.
Here are five simple tips for supporting employee empowerment:
Tip #1: Recognize hard effort from the workforce
Recognition is a simple concept, but it’s not always implemented.
Employees that feel recognized, especially for actions and achievements you empowered them to do while encourage empowerment more. Employees will feel more respected, more confident, and more determined to achieve an even stronger job performance.
Honest feedback is a part of empowerment, too. It will help employees problem-solve and learn from missteps or mistakes.
Tip #2: Communicate company goals
Empowerment doesn’t work until everyone is on the same page, vision-wise.
To get everyone to work toward the same goals, you must clearly define and communicate the company’s vision. Then, make sure that this echoes along the different managerial levels.
It’s also crucial to discuss job roles and duties. After all, you don’t want staff stepping on each other’s toes because they took the wrong kind of initiative or because you left roles ambiguous.
Tip #3: Promote problem-solving
Encourage your employees to take action and clear roadblocks. Keep tabs and always be open to support, but encourage employees to take a first crack at problem-solving when they get stuck on something. Just don’t micromanage.
Problem-solving is a skill that is continually improved especially when it is empowered. It’ll pay off nicely when you have workers who can handle hiccups effectively on their own.
Tip #4: Set up a flexible work environment
Being flexible with working schedules also contributes to building an empowered environment.
Try creating a schedule that allows employees to drive their kids to school in the morning. Similarly, you can enable employees taking care of a sick family member to work from home.
Even a simple accommodation can be a chance to show the staff that you balance empathy and accountability. All you need is to let employees figure out the best work setup for their needs.
Tip #5: Provide needed resources
Don’t expect empowering strategies to work magically. It would all be useless without offering the right resources.
This could mean mentorship and ongoing training from supervisors and HR professionals. It could mean offering company documents and wikis that guide employees through processes and systems. It could even mean giving employees the communication tools they need to connect with anyone in the office.
This is especially helpful to bring up during employee onboarding programs at your organization.
An employee empowerment strategy is a set of managerial initiatives designed to give more power and responsibility to employees in their work. This can include input into new or improved processes and systems.
There are few if any downsides to empowering your employees. Though one risk could be create a blurred chain of command. In such a situation, if something goes wrong, no one knows who to turn to. Employee empowerment should come with clear roles so everyone understands what it is they’re responsible for.
Some successful examples of employee empowerment include the following:
- Giving high-performing employees new responsibilities
- Providing managers’ training courses
- Encouraging continuous education for career growth and success
- Using recognition awards
- Prioritizing communication
- Letting front-line employees make decisions related to customer satisfaction
Overall, employee empowerment benefits can be both tangible and intangible. From boosts in profits to an enhanced customer experience, there’s a lot to gain along the way. The keys to any empowerment strategy are to recognize hard effort, show empathy, and build trust.
It’ll take time, but you’ll notice positive results throughout the workplace when your employees feel empowered.