I have always believed in empowering employees – whether they are front line employees to managers who I have supervised; simply because I believe that most employees want to do they can on a daily basis.
It has been defined in many different ways, but in essence it the process of allowing employees to have input and control over their work. They also have ability to openly share suggestions and ideas about their work and the organization as a whole. Overall, empowered employees are generally committed, loyal and conscientious. They are eager to share ideas and can serve as strong ambassadors for their organizations. When you show an employee you trust them, and give them timely information and the authority to find solutions, they will be able to solve problems and provide solutions more rapidly than someone without that empowerment. Keep in mind that empowering employees is also the ongoing process of providing the tools, training, resources; motivation and encouragement employees need to perform at the optimum level.
Empower employees and the following will happen:
- Employees will take on more accountability
- They will become problem solvers focusing on creating the best customer experience
- Creates a team focused environment vs. a singular person environment
- Employees will believe that they can and do make a difference not only for the customer a but also the company
- Employees will gain more pride in the work they do
- The employee is able to create a feeling of true customer service that ultimately yields much greater customer loyalty
- Best of all companies that give employees the freedom to make decisions on the spur of the moment, that may even sometimes fly in the face of established rules and protocol, often find that service to internal and external customers is improved
- Reduce costs and improve productivity
Tips for empowering the staff:
- Give power to those who have demonstrated the capacity to handle the responsibility
- Create a favorable environment in which people are encouraged to grow their skills
- Don’t second-guess others’ decisions and ideas unless it’s absolutely necessary. This only undermines their confidence and keeps them from sharing future ideas with you.
- Give people discretion and autonomy over their tasks and resources
- Set parameters for empowerment. Only if these parameters have to be crossed does the employee ask for your guidance.
- Do not be harsh when an empowered employee makes an error in judgement. Simply pull them aside and ask why that particular decision was made – what was the thought process. Only then do you advise the employee how you would have handled the situation in a calm manner.