Empowerment is not about being flexible in one’s management style, but building a culture that encourages decision making. Deodutta Kurane lists five ways that an organisation can use to empower its employees
Empowering your employees is the best way of recognising their efforts. They should be allowed to take initiative and lead regardless of whether they are in a formal position of authority or not. Research has proved that empowered employees complete tasks with little guidance. However, organisations have a tendency to express ‘commitment to empowerment’, without making it a part of their work culture. Promoting empowerment leads to employees being creative rather than merely adhering to guidelines or protocols.
5 ways of empowering your employees:
Purpose, Ownership, Wins, Entrust and Recognition (POWER)
Empower with Purpose
Organisations need to be clear about their business vision. Employees who understand the vision, values, purpose and direction of the organisation understand their job role’s purpose and take appropriate decisions. However, in a few companies, employees don't get the complete information and tend to work on orders from higher-ups. Successful organisations find innovative ways of cascading important information in a structured and consistent manner. Management should break the information barriers and ensure that their employees know the purpose of their role and how their contribution relates back to the general success of their department and overall success of the company.
Empower with Ownership
Leaders should let their people take ownership, and responsibility when they are ready, and they should know when the time is right to do so. Empowered employees take pride in their ownership when they know that they can exercise independent judgment when necessary. When leaders transfer ownership they build teams that embrace change and are willing to go the extra-mile—At our bank we call this ‘Professional Entrepreneurship’. In an entrepreneurial culture employees are motivated to suggest new ideas, build a capability to achieve ‘speed to market’ with new products and services, flex, grow, re-invent themselves.
Empower with Wins
Companies need to create a work environment which is positive, productive and promotes success. Happy employees are self motivated and perform better. Citing achievements in meetings and congratulating employees on a task done well creates an atmosphere conducive to consistent good work. While ability to do and succeed in challenging, stimulating and varied work makes few employees feel empowered, making a meaningful impact to the success of the organisation matters more for few others.
Empower with Entrust
Trust your employees to do the right thing and make the right choices. The best way to show trust in a team is by delegating and letting the team manage their task having an overview and intervening only when absolutely necessary. Another way of building trust is by openly communicating. It is imperative to have an authentic and transparent communication in the organisation. While successful work is often a result of intensive effort and focus, it is also a result of the trust, freedom and resources that leaders empower employees with.
Empower with Recognition
Employees who take initiative should be rewarded/ recognised appropriately. Employees respond positively to appreciation as it confirms that their work is valued. Their satisfaction and productivity rises, as they are motivated to maintain/ improve their good work. Awarding an employee's exceptional contribution can also work wonders on their performance and dedication to the job and organisation.
The author is Group President, Human Capital Management, YES Bank