If asked, most managers would probably answer that they believe their staff feels empowered.
However, what does that really mean? In order to be empowered, managers have to share the power they have with their staff.
According to ASQ, when bosses give their team members the power to make decisions, and then provide them with tools to make correct decisions, the results “are heightened productivity and a better quality of work life.”
The question remains, however, as to how to empower employees; we will offer three key concepts in this blog.
If you would like your staff to take on more decision making power upon themselves, you first need to make sure that they have the proper training on doing so.
For example, if you have customer service representatives that answer phones and currently come to you to get approval for any refunds or exchanges, you may consider allowing them to make that call themselves.
However, before doing that, you must train them on the company policies under which you would issue a refund or an exchange.
For example, anything under £20 is automatically refunded, but anything over that amount requires additional questions before making the decision.
The worst thing you can do is give your staff decision making power without equipping them with the skills needed to make the right decisions.
When empowering your team members, you should give them access to how decisions are made.
This can include their presence in meetings with upper management or simply a rundown of what happened in those meetings.
This will provide the individuals the understanding and insight as to how policies get made in your organisation, what the reasoning behind the policies are, and what the process for creating and implementing them includes.
Then, they will slowly be able to participate in the decision making process themselves.
While a boss plays an integral role in employee empowerment, the staff needs to be able and willing to participate.
An employee who doubts their own abilities to take on more responsibility will not be confident enough to take on more decision making power.
A manager can try to help the employee to instill confidence by pointing out strengths and showing their value to the company, but if they don’t belief in themselves, no amount of persuasion will do.
Therefore, managers need to pick self-assured and motivated people to empower.
Employee empowerment will create workers that are more willing and ready to take on additional responsibilities, fostering more efficiency at the office.
However, three key concepts listed above must be in place in order for the empowerment to work.
Head of Training and Development
Updated on: 10 November, 2015
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