Employee Empowerment - Build Great Companies Through Empowerment

employee empowerment

Employee empowerment simply means the level of authority given to employees to act independent of their bosses.

Why would bosses allow employees to act independent of them?

The reason is simple . . . employees are human. That means they are intelligent, smart, and have limitless capacity for ingenuity.

The fact that employees are human also means that they like to be treated as human. They want to be respected, valued, recognized. They want to be treated as humans and not as tools.

So, in simple terms . . . Employee empowerment is a recognition of employees' intrinsic value.

When the organization implements a policy of people involvement in decision making and runs a system that empowers subordinates to get involved in decision making, employee morale is high. And employees naturally come to work with their brains and contribute beyond the imagination of the organization's leaders.

Some have argued that employee empowerment is not something management gives the employee but rather something the employee displays by acting in empowered ways.

I disagree with this. And for good reasons.

For starters, employees cannot act in ways contrary to the organization's guidelines. Employees that do will be appropriately sanctioned.

Second, employees' behaviour is often a response to how they are treated by management or the organizational culture promoted by the leadership of the organization.

For example, in some organizations, everything tends to grind to a halt when the CEO is on a business trip or on vacation. Why?

The reason is often because many CEOs act as sole proprietors. Every document that goes out of the organization must carry their signature. So, when they're not around, business slows down terribly.

Let me share with you my personal experience.

I am head of team, Production Manager, for the cocoa-based beverage manufacturing unit of my company. My team runs a 3-shift four-gang system with each shift having a shift operations manager.

Initially, I required the shift operations manager to pass the annual leave forms for employees in their shift through my office for final endorsement after they have given their approval. In a couple of weeks, my table was filled with requests for annual leave.

The result?

I spent valuable time counter signing annual leave forms . . . time I could have spent on value adding activities for the business. So, I decided to reverse that by using the power of employee motivation.

I provided a guideline for annual leave approval, section by section. And then empowered my subordinates, the shift operations managers, to approve annual leave for staff based on these guidelines. Once they gave approval and signed off, the document went to HR team. I didn't have to see it.

This has been the procedure for over a year and there has not been any problems. Now my table is free of piles of documents waiting to be signed. Besides, employees' annual leave are processed on time resulting in tension free workplace.

Employee empowerment is key to unfettered growth.

So, look for new ways to empower your employees. Employees know much more than you think they know. If you give them wings to fly, they will surprise you.

In summary, employee empowerment has two key benefits.

1. It's a sign that you trust your employees and that you believe in them. This leads to high morale.

2. It benefits the organization because decisions are taken on the spot. Thus, the organization is agile and competitive.

The role of management is to create an enabling environment for employees to exhibit their skill, professionalism, and creativity. Empower employees and your organization will grow beyond your dreams.

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