When you’re an employer or manager who empowers your employees, there are benefits. An organization with empowered employees will be more competitive, more innovative, and more productive in almost all cases.
The following are some tips to help you empower your employees so your entire organization can reap the rewards.
Learning, Training, and Development
Whether it’s ongoing self-paced training or a corporate digital library, employees always need to be learning and growing in their careers to be empowered.
You want an educated workforce that doesn’t just make decisions but feels confident they’re making educated decisions.
When you promote training, learning, and development, you’re showing that you value those things as part of your corporate culture.
Plus, when an employee is knowledgeable, they can solve their own problems and answer their own questions without micromanagement.
Learning and development help inspire employees to think outside the box, which in turn contributes to innovation too.
When employees don’t feel like they’re well-trained or don’t have the knowledge to succeed in the organization, they’ll be hesitant to step outside the box.
Be Generous with Boundaries
Boundaries are important, but there’s a caveat to that. These boundaries need to be wide and generous.
Some employers have a hard time defining boundaries because they can’t get to that sweet spot middle ground.
You want to have some boundaries because that gives employees a comfort zone from which to work within.
However, those boundaries can’t be too restrictive. Employees need to be free to act when necessary.
Employers tend to search high and low for tips on empowering employees, but they forget the most important reserve of knowledge they have available—employees themselves.
Listening to employees, even if they have something to tell you that you don’t necessarily like, is critical to empower them.
First, employees need to feel heard to feel like they have control in the workplace.
There may also need to be areas where you shift your behavior or policies that can come out when you hear employees.
A Salesforce report found employees able to speak up are 4.6 times more likely to work at their peak level.
In facilitating communication with your employees, make sure you’re offering multiple avenues.
It’s not just a feel-good measure, either. Your culture needs to be one where you truly care about the opinions of your employees and they need to feel safe and comfortable expressing them.
It would be difficult for anyone to feel empowered in the workplace if their employer didn’t trust them.
It’s up to you to show your employees you trust them. Don’t just tell them. You have to make it clear.
You should also create an environment where people come together and provide support to one another, rather than making a workplace that’s too cutthroat.
Give Them Meaning
You may have a company mission, but is that clearly connected to meaning for your employees?
You want to build a bridge between the mission of your company and the meaning for your employees.
Many employees feel that doing meaningful work can be more important, even than making more money.
There have also been studies that have found there are significant associations between performance and meaningful work.
There’s a sense of personal connection that will help your employees find joy in their jobs if you facilitate the connection between mission and meaning.
Focus on Results
A manager who’s good at what they do doesn’t care so much about how employees reach a certain result. They just care that they get there.
That’s a tough lesson to learn as a boss or manager. You may tend to want to micromanage, but all you’re doing is diminishing the potential for employees to feel empowered.
You’re stifling all the things you want from your employees like creativity and innovation.
Don’t worry about the steps employees take to get to the point you need them to be. Just worry about making sure they’re there at the end of the process.
Be Clear with Expectations
Finally, this is somewhat in line with boundaries but also deserves mentioning on its own. You need to have clear expectations for every employee. If they don’t know what you expect of them, how can they be empowered to achieve?
When you have clear expectations, it’s easier to facilitate a focus on results, as was mentioned above.
The employee knows what said result is, and they can create their own path to get there.