It’s every manager's dream to have proactive and engaged employees. Ones who show initiative, who just get on with the task without much guidance, ones who spot opportunities and approach you with their ideas on how to grow the business. It may seem like these types of employees are hard to come by, but what if we told you it might not be as difficult as you think? You may already have these employees working for you. In fact, the problem might not be employees, it might be the management and the employer.
As we said, it’s every manager's dream to have empowered employees but are you creating an empowering working environment or one that creates strict working practices and an atmosphere of mistrust. Poor management training and lack of time to focus on empowerment are just two of the reasons why in many cases the latter is true.
So what can employers do to empower employees?
Share the vision and define success
Have you outlined your vision for the business and what success looks like? For many business owners, these things are held close to the chest, only to be divulged to a chosen few. But this can cause confusion amongst staff as everyone may have a slightly different view of what they are trying to achieve.
When staff have these differing views it leads to disharmony and discourages people from taking any initiative as it may not be the right thing to do for the good of the business. So if you want to empower staff you need to fully communicate your vision of the business and what success factors you want to see. This gives employees the confidence to take the initiative and to go above and beyond in pursuit of this success.
Get them involved in business decisions
When you have a say in decisions you become invested in the outcome. However, when it comes to businesses it’s safe to say most of the decisions come from the top down, with little or no consultation with the employees who do most of the leg work. It’s no wonder people aren't empowered if decisions are just thrust upon them. So why not get people involved more at the decision making stage?
Of course, there are some decisions that need to be made ‘higher up’ however there are many that can include everyone. The direction and creation of the latest marketing campaign, what the office environment should be like, where the next office social should be. By including staff on such decisions you empower them to take ownership, you encourage more ideas and people will go above and beyond to make it a success.
Trust and support independence
Do you trust your workers to get on with the job you hired them to do? If not you have a problem on your hands. Mistrust leads managers to micromanage, to monitor employees work and to constantly check up on progress. This sort of environment stifles empowerment, forcing staff members to tow the line, to just do enough and discourages them from having any initiative. Not to mention taking management time away from more important things.
It is therefore important to trust workers to get on with the job you hired them to do and to resist the temptation to over manage them. By doing so workers will feel a sense of pride in their work, will want to be proactive and as a result will be empowered.
Recognition plays a vital part in creating an empowering environment and it’s easy to see why. If you fail to recognise your employee's hard work and initiative then your employees will soon lose the motivation, however, if you reward positive behaviours staff will be more motivated and empowered to keep up the good work. Pretty simple really. So why don’t more workplaces utilise the power of recognition?
Recognising employees contributions could be a simple as an informal ‘thanks for doing an amazing job’ or could be as elaborate as a formal recognition and reward system. Whatever you choose it’s important to recognise recognition.
Let employees take some control
Business owners and managers are busy people and chasing after employee information is surely the last thing you want to be doing with your time. But why should you be responsible for these things, do you not trust employees to update their own information? Well, with software such as BrightHR employees have the power to update and control their own personal details, as well as the ability to book holidays from work without the outdated and overcomplicated paper based process. When you empower staff with this sort of self-service it saves you time and effort, as well as empowering staff who now take control.
Interested in empowering your employees? Why not see how our brilliant people management software can help both managers and employees make your work a more empowered place.