Employee empowerment is an odd phrase in that while it suggests giving frontline workers more freedom and ownership over their jobs, it can only come about if it's supported by upper management. It's about executives and business leaders trusting their employees enough to let them take control of their work.
Thus, in order for workers to truly become empowered, an organization's management must make a strong and lasting commitment to employees. Although many business owners want to foster an environment that supports engagement, this ultimately comes from the individual. There are steps that leaders and executives can take to create this type of work culture, but they also need their employees to meet them halfway.
“In fact, companies that seek to empower employees demand stronger leadership and accountability,” explains Credit Union Times. “This begins with executive leadership, through all management levels and includes frontline supervisors. Successful employee empowerment initiatives require the entire organization to work together as a team in order for the benefits to be realized.”
Creating an empowered workplace
There is a variety of strategies that businesses can use to develop an empowered workforce. The important thing to realize is that traditional top-down management hinders employee engagement. Managers shouldn't be direction- and order-givers, but leaders – they shouldÂ give employees the tools they need to do their jobs, and let them take ownership of their own work.
Many businesses get caught up in the notion that the only way to empower employees is by giving them more money or other financial perks. In reality, helping employees develop via continuous improvement is often enough motivation in and of itself. By becoming a leader, management effectively acts as a facilitator,Â giving employees independence while also maintaining a productive workplace.
Traditional top-down management stifles worker productivity and innovation because it's frequently condescending. Employees aren't treated like free-functioning individuals and are expected to follow programs and processes instated by management. This leads to disengagement.
Employee empowerment helps cultivate a sense of self confidence and allows individual employees to convey their ingenuity by tackling problems in the way that best suits them. In turn, this creates a workplace that actually cares about workers as individuals, and bolsters empowerment as a result.