The quote above very nicely sums up why employee empowerment is so important to the success of any company. More organizations are noticing the need to empower their employees if they hope to foster an environment of productivity and success - and this is great news! It can lead to higher levels of employee engagement, a happier workforce, and as a result, higher staff retention rates. A win-win for both sides.
But putting a people-centric strategy in place isn't something that happens overnight, it needs to be carefully thought out and implemented over time until your organization finds the recipe for success.
Why it’s so important to engage your employees
By engaging and empowering your employees, as well as providing them with support, regular feedback, and all the tools they need to do their job efficiently, they’re more likely to be committed and productive. This will also make them more likely to go the extra mile, have strong communication skills, be happy at work, and embrace any new changes. All of which is going to have a positive impact on the business. But if you're not sure where to begin, you should consider some, if not all, of the following steps:
1. Set out a clear development route
If you don't give your employees a clear development path, you might find they become complacent and start to get bored. After all, if nothing changes day in and day out, things can grow a little stagnant - and no one wants that.
Providing a clear path for employees to develop their career and continue to grow will make them more likely to stay within your organization for longer. It also shows that you care about their progression and will keep them driving forward and working hard. You can do this by setting monthly (or quarterly) targets and explaining to them what they need to do to take the next step in their role, or what they need to do to get a promotion.
2. Give regular feedback
Giving regular feedback is so important for employee success. It helps highlight their strengths and weaknesses and gives them actionable steps they can take to develop their career. As such, all managers need to make sure they are holding regular catch ups with their staff and giving clear, constructive feedback.
3. Listen to your employees
Feedback is not a one-way street. If you want to empower and engage your employees, you also need to listen carefully to their needs. This can be done through regular catch ups or workplace surveys, but should give all employees a chance to share their thoughts on the organization and let their superiors know if there are any problems. By listening to staff, you not only show you care about their wellbeing at work, but you can put real changes in place to improve the workplace for the future.
4. Believe in your employees
One of the most empowering things you can do is prove to your employees that you trust them and believe in them. This means no micromanaging or taking responsibilities away from them, and certainly no putting patronizing rules in place that make them feel like naughty school children.
Instead, encourage them to take control of their own workload and their future within the company. Push them to try new things and to really get involved with events or projects. This shows you have faith in their abilities, and you trust they’ll continue to do a good job.
5. Praise their good work
Whether it’s an ‘Employee of the Month’ scheme, an annual bonus or just an email to say well done, praising good work is important. Things move quickly in organizations and daily tasks and responsibilities become part of the grind, but you need to show staff their hard work isn't going unnoticed.
This is particularly true if they’ve recently taken on a new client, responsibility or project. By recognizing and rewarding staff, even if it’s just a pat on the back, they’ll feel valued and can see how their efforts are contributing to the wider business. This will keep them happy and driven to keep working hard in the future.
6. Set clear boundaries and best practices
Finally, it helps to make employees aware of the boundaries. Contrary to popular belief, boundaries aren't always there to restrict us. By setting out clear boundaries within which staff can work and by highlighting business best practices, employees can take responsibility for their own work and creativity, knowing how far they can push things and think outside the box, whilst still being supported by their team.
This gives them the freedom to take charge and do their job more effectively, feeling empowered in their decision making, all the while keeping within the boundaries set out by your organization. This can have a really positive impact on both individuals and the wider business.