Any HR leader who wants ideas on how to improve their organization’s culture would most likely do two things, i.e. look up the successful practices of competitors who are able to retain employees better or analyze the practices of companies like Google, Disney, or Virgin, etc. who have set the benchmark for employee engagement in their respective industries.
If you dig deeper, you’ll find that these companies are the stalwarts of employee engagement today because they go above and beyond to empower employees.
So what is employee empowerment? And how does it impact employee engagement?
Employee empowerment is all about enabling your employees to be autonomous, giving them the power to make decisions, and guiding them whenever they need help or support.
Based on research published by Forbes, employees who felt a low level of empowerment rated their engagement score at as low as 24%, whereas those with a high level of empowerment rated their engagement score at 79% in their organization.
But one should not confuse delegation with empowerment. The former often refers to getting work done by an employee by keeping a constant tab on them, while the latter is about enabling employees to do the task independently without any interference.
A common problem when it comes to empowering employees is that of micromanagement - even after giving responsibility to employees, some leaders don’t give up authority.
Note that that’s not how employee empowerment works.
The approach of micromanaging employees demoralizes them. They end up perceiving a lack of trust in their leader, a big and unavoidable red flag when it comes to employee empowerment.
To avoid micromanagement, a leader can, when handing over a task to an employee, proactively ask themselves, “What’s the worst that could happen if the employee makes a mistake?” This level of perspective should ease the tension for the manager, putting them in a better place to empower the engaged employee to deliver the task and guide them, only if necessary.
In short, the confidence that managers show in their engaged employees' work is what will motivate them to achieve greater things for the organization.
Table of contents:-
- What is employee empowerment?
- What is necessary for the success of employee empowerment?
- Empowering leaders effectively empower employees
- How to empower employees, and how does that improve employee engagement?
- Employee empowerment survey questions
What is employee empowerment?
Employee empowerment is a way of management approach that gives employees autonomy and more responsibility. It provides the employees with the space to make decisions that impact their job and take ownership of their work. So, empowered employees can think more innovatively and collaborate to create positive outcomes.
There are many forms to empower employees, and they may involve giving employees the freedom to determine how tasks are completed, allowing them to work independently and without constant supervision.
It may also involve allowing staff to take on new responsibilities or giving them the opportunity to participate in decision-making processes.
Employee empowerment has many benefits, as it can help to foster a sense of ownership in the workplace and increase morale. Empowered employees tend to be more creative, motivated, and engaged with their work.
What is necessary for the success of employee empowerment?
Employee empowerment requires a combination of trust, autonomy, support, and effective communication. People leaders must trust their employees with the resources, knowledge, and authority they need to succeed, along with autonomy by allowing employees to make decisions that align with the organization's goals and support them will all the feedback and guidance.
Organizations must ensure that employee empowerment is part of their company culture. This means fostering a culture of collaboration, where employees can work together on projects and ideas and where managers and employees are seen as equals.
It also involves encouraging employees to take the initiative and be proactive in their work and rewarding empowered employees for their efforts.
This means having managers and employees who are comfortable with the idea of making decisions and taking on additional responsibility, as well as ensuring that employees are given the tools and resources they need to succeed.
Empowering leaders effectively empower employees
It is no secret that empowered leaders play a crucial role in empowering employees, as they are the ones who set the tone in the workplace and create an environment that encourages employees to reach their full potential.
Leaders who empower their employees to recognize their strengths and weaknesses and provide support, guidance, and resources to help them succeed.
They also understand that everyone has something to contribute and are willing to listen and act on their employees' ideas. By doing so, they foster an organization's culture of collaboration, innovation, and creativity.
When empowering leaders put their employees at the forefront of their decisions, they are always looking for ways to provide employees with opportunities for advancement and growth.
By setting a positive example, they encourage their employees to reach their full potential and become the best versions of themselves. Empowered leaders truly have the power to transform a workplace and make it a place that employees are proud to be a part of.
How to empower employees, and how does that improve employee engagement?
The whole purpose of employee empowerment is to free your staff from excessive and unnecessary control and bureaucracy from the senior leadership and, in turn, enable them to take up responsibilities and show ownership of tasks assigned to them.
A manager needs to create a company culture of empowerment where people are taking action independently without excessive dependencies. But this can only happen when the top leadership team commits to a set of practices that enables employee autonomy.
Here are a few things leaders can implement to empower employees in their organization:
Demonstrate that employee feedback matters
Conduct employee surveys. Hold one-on-one meetings. Listen to what employees have to say as often as you can. And then act on it.
As a leader, you must demonstrate that an employee’s voice is being heard by proactively acknowledging their problems and taking action to resolve their issues at a faster rate.
When employees feel empowered and heard, they feel valued, which will make them feel empowered.
Leaders who recognize the right behavior and traits give employees clarity on what is expected of them, empowering employees to behave in a way that is consistent with the organization’s expectations.
Such a leader who appreciates the support and trusts their employees boosts employee engagement and productivity.
Giving employees opportunities for professional growth
As a manager, you must instill confidence in your workforce that there will be enough growth, learning, and development opportunities for your employees, and you should facilitate it for them.
One should constantly assess their employees' performance, character, and risk-taking ability to identify their strengths and weaknesses and delegate them the right tasks.
Ideally, a decentralized team approach would enable employees to take up authority and wider responsibilities, making them feel empowered and acting as a catalyst for them to become great leaders in the future.
Impart purpose and build a trust system
To get the best out of people, a manager should not micromanage their employees, as it will signal a lack of trust in the leadership and will further make the employees overly dependent on the team member.
That is why you need to act as a mentor and often have an open conversation with your employees.
Once you establish a mutually beneficial relationship with your employees, it will enable them to believe in you as a leader who genuinely cares about them, at the same time, will help you as a leader to find out what you can do better to empower your employees and align them to their purpose.
Offer meaningful recognition for employee successes
When employees are recognized for their successes, it shows them that their efforts are appreciated and have an impact on the organization's success. This can lead to greater employee engagement, motivation and loyalty.
And recognition can inspire employees to strive for team goals, engagement and achievements, leading to increased productivity and creativity.
Provide autonomy and trust in decision-making
This creates an environment where employees feel they have the freedom to make decisions and take action on their own, which leads to increased motivation, job satisfaction, and a sense of ownership and pride in their work.
It can also create a more productive workplace culture, as employees are more likely to take the initiative and come up with creative solutions to problems.
Create an open and inclusive work environment
When an organization fosters an environment of acceptance and inclusion, it can create a sense of psychological safety for employees, which allows them to take risks and experiment with innovative solutions without fear of repercussions.
Offer flexible work schedules and remote work options.
Employee empowerment survey questions
Since investing in the autonomy of your employees is of paramount importance for you to attract and retain top talent in your organization, you need to know what helps your employees feel that they are in an empowered environment.
To get a 360-degree view of how you can improve the empowerment of your employees, you need to initiate a genuine two-way conversation with them to assess how your empowerment plan aligns with their needs.
This is where an employee feedback platform like CultureMonkey comes in handy, which lets you send targeted employee pulse surveys to assess the empowerment needs of your employees and lets you act on their anonymous feedback at a faster pace.
With that said, here are some of the employee empowerment survey questions that we think you should include in your next employee survey:
- Do you believe that your manager shows genuine interest in your career aspirations?
- Do you have enough freedom and flexibility to do your assigned tasks?
- Are the timelines allotted for task completion by your manager manageable?
- Do you have access to learning and development tools to improve your skills at work?
- How would you rate the support from your manager in completing tasks assigned to you? (Rating scale: 1-5)
- Do you believe you have complete control over the job you do?
- Do you feel you have the freedom to be creative while solving problems in your own projects?
- Do you believe the organization provides you with enough opportunities to grow in your career?
- I have the flexibility to make my own decisions about things that impact my work.
- Do you have all the tools/resources needed to do your job?