How To Empower Employees: 4 Ways To Boost Morale
Empowering your employees is about more than just giving them a seat at the table. It’s about doing your part to make sure they have what they need to succeed. How do you do that, you ask? Here are four ways to empower your employees and boost morale and productivity. An employee who is empowered is one who understands their role in the company and is given the autonomy and trust to do their job correctly. In this article, we’ll explore four ways to help your employees feel empowered so that they can do their best work.
What is empowerment?
Most of us think of empowerment as a person who has the ability to make a change. But in actuality, empowerment is a philosophy. Instead of changing someone’s behavior, empowering them changes their mindset. We have seen how empowering a person means that they are in charge of their career and that they are supported in a way that allows them to take ownership of their choices and outcomes. The key to empowering your employees is twofold: giving them control and putting them in the driver’s seat. While an employee who is given control has control over their career, it’s also critical to empower them with an understanding of their role in the company, both in terms of what they’re doing and why.
“People want guidance, not rhetoric. They need to know what the plan of action is and how it will be implemented. They want to be given the responsibility to help solve the problem and the authority to act on it.”
~Howard Schultz, Starbucks
Why is empowering our employees important?
When employees feel empowered, they can do their jobs more effectively and help improve the productivity and success of the company. They’ll be more productive, more engaged, and they’ll stay in your company longer. We all know that feeling of doubt, anxiety, or fear we sometimes feel when we’re performing a specific task. It might be that your coworker is going to outrank you and take your spot. Or you might be feeling uncertain about a certain project you’re working on. The anxiety you feel can lead to a lack of confidence and, subsequently, to less effective work. When you feel confident, you feel motivated, more focused, and more engaged. And that translates to better work and better results. Giving your employees the ability to do their jobs effectively is empowering.
“It’s not the tools you have faith in–tools are just tools–they work, or they don’t work. It’s the people you have faith in or not.” ~Steve Jobs
How to empower our employees
How do you empower your employees? Here are some ideas:
1) Be clear about their roles
We all know that there is no point in asking your employees to do a task that’s outside of their job description if you aren’t clear about what their roles are. However, it can be hard for leaders to do this when they don’t understand what they should be doing. In order to gain clarity, it’s a good idea to attend a course like “Leading Teams: Habits of Highly Effective Leaders” and listen to the leaders present. During a recent seminar for Human Resource professional, I was surprised to learn that managers’ habit of getting in the way of their employees is a serious problem. But, it doesn’t have to be! It just takes a little time and effort to get clarity on what your employees’ roles should be.
2) Give them meaningful work
Maybe the number one thing you can do to empower your employees is to give them meaningful work to do. When you look at how tasks are assigned, they often get far too specific for their purpose. An employee may be given a to-do list to do one thing, but ends up spending hours doing something completely different. Or, they may be given a completely unrelated task, but is too hard to finish. Either way, it makes sense to keep tasks focused. It’s easy for an employee to feel powerless when they’re given tons of tasks to do. When you give them meaningful work, they’ll feel confident in their role and feel more empowered. Work together Empowerment is a two-way street. You can empower your employees by simply allowing them to do their job without micromanaging.
3) Give them autonomy
Giving your employees autonomy means that they are able to make their own decisions, work on projects they choose and complete tasks without being told what to do. If you assign your employees a specific job, then, they need to know how to do it. Therefore, you need to make sure that they understand exactly what their job is. Then, you need to let them get on with it. You must be willing to take responsibility if an employee makes a mistake. Some mistakes are inevitable; in the world of work, mistakes have been a part of human existence since the dawn of time. A mistake will happen when you assign someone a job that is beyond their understanding.
4) Trust them
There is an incredible amount of responsibility that comes with any job. In fact, there is almost too much to worry about as it is. But if you are a manager, you can take that pressure off of your employees and make sure that they know that you trust them to get the job done, one way or another. This means trusting your employees to do the right thing, to follow policies, and to do things that might otherwise make them uncomfortable or awkward. You can also help your employees understand how the work they do benefits the company. This also means trusting that your employees will do their part to help the business succeed. Sometimes the work of your employees may not be high-profile or involve significant resources.
Empowerment can be as simple as sitting down and talking with your employees about what they need to do in order to feel empowered. Letting them know that you understand how their jobs affect the entire company is the best way to motivate them to perform at their best. Building trust in the relationship between you and your employees is key to improving their performance. It will not only drive employee engagement and productivity but also create a sense of loyalty and ownership in your employees. By empowering your employees, you are able to set your employees up for success. As with anything else, this also involves communication and trust. It’s important to have these conversations with your employees so that they know that you will be open and transparent with them.