The term “employee empowerment” has been regarded by critics as an exercise to change the attitudes of workers, so they can work harder rather than giving them any real power. In other words, empowerment was linked to “attitudinal shaping.” However, recent research suggests that people empowerment is a key element contributing to employee engagement and well-being.
Empowerment is a global term which includes many ideas regarding employee power and responsibility; but in general, it means giving employees the power to do their job better. It is providing the right motivation at the right moment, giving the employees the necessary alignment to the organizational goals, and make them feel that their work is important.
Does higher employee empowerment improve productivity?
The answer is yes. Empowerment = motivation = action = results! There are 4 factors that should be considered in order to generate and maintain empowerment among employees:
- Strong leadership and accountability
This starts with the executive leadership and extends to all management levels, supervisors and people that work for them. If all members of the organization play by the same rules and to achieve aligned goals can only be a positive end result .
- Trust and communication
Management must develop trust and good communication with employees. High levels of trust and communication are the strongest signs of employee empowerment.
- Create the right work environment
It is responsibility of the company’s management to create the environment for employee empowerment. If employees are in an environment where “joy” is part of the formula, motivation and retention will increase dramatically.
It has been said, “that you can lead a horse to water but you cannot make him drink.” The same can be said for employee empowerment. Once leadership takes action to encourage empowerment, it is up to the employees to take the opportunity.
To truly motivate your employees to perform at their peak, you must provide an adequate level of:
- Personal and professional growth
- Ability to be creative
- Recognition and rewards
If you want to measure the level of commitment your organization has to develop employee empowerment, just survey employees as to how well they think you are doing in the above 5 areas. If you score poorly in more than two items then you have a lot of opportunity to increase organizational performance.
Remember, management has the obligation to create the environment that fosters employee empowerment and employees have the duty to accept the opportunity.