Smart business managers know they cannot have a successful company without the support of their staff. Research shows that employee happiness is correlated to business success. If done right, employee empowerment can be the greatest factor to business growth and operational efficiency.
…and let it go. One of the foundational attitudes of employee empowerment is that some of the power and responsibility flows from the boss to the employee. Common in smaller companies, entrepreneurships and nonprofits, the inability of founding members of management to let go of the reigns can limit the progress of the company. Called Founder’s Syndrome or founderitis, it is hallmarked by an inability to let go of the old ways, citing that they worked in the past, thus stifling new efficient procedures and marketing channels. Bit by bit, give over responsibility to your employees so your business can flourish.
Modern management vocabulary has moved from talking about human resources to identifying human capital. The new mindset is that the greatest capital asset that a company can have is its employees. Empowerment then becomes a function of recognizing the capital value of each of your staff and placing them in the position that best fits their abilities and the company’s goals. Feel free to switch up job duties. Be certain to let your employee know why you are making the change. This is the nature of true empowerment.
Having acknowledged the value of your assets, capitalize on them by giving them training. Job-specific training can be good for newer employees but education that is more overarching of the company’s business will be better for seasoned employees. Corporate credit seminars or quality assurance education gives your employees a global look at the business, allowing them to strategize new operational procedures that will flow throughout the organization.
The goal of employee empowerment is to encourage innovative ideas, either to open new business channels or to streamline operations. Research shows that empowerment can lead to innovation if done organically. A team approach with accommodations for those that have taken a leadership role go a long way to creating an innovative environment. Link bonuses to the overall success of the business so that the staff is ingrained in the structure of the company.
Studies on the banking industry, which is highly competitive in product differentiation, found that consumers’ perception of a business is interconnected to the front-line recognition and satisfaction. Put simply, happy employees are the best advertisers. Plaques, pins and photos distinguishing high-achieving staff are simple ways to boost morale and let the consumer know the value of the employees.
Honesty is a foundational component of empowerment. There is no plaque big enough to convey respect if the person giving the award does not believe it. An authentic respect for your staff leads to self-leadership attributes. According to self-leadership theory, truthful empowerment leads to self-efficacy, the internal belief that a person is capable of a task. This in turn leads to a willingness to take on more responsibility and a distribution of empowerment communication to other employees. Make each of your staff a leader in their own business community and let them grow their own environment.