Employee Empowerment

Employee Empowerment: What is it and why is it important?

4 min read
Lynsey May Sutherland
Lynsey Sutherland

If empowering your employees isn’t already a part of your agenda for creating a high-performing team, this is your signal to make it one. Save time and resources, boost engagement and confidence, and give your business a new path to thrive by embracing ways to empower your employees. 

What is employee empowerment?

Employee empowerment is a strategy that encourages individuals’ accountability, responsibility, and independence. It is the antithesis of micromanagement and allows employees to grow, make mistakes and develop their own judgement.

Why employee empowerment should be your priority

When you think about the amount of time wasted on checking in for permission to take action or trawling through unneeded bureaucracy, you can quickly see the benefits of increased autonomy for employees. 

A Productivity in The Workplace report found that 60% of employees spent at least half a day a week on tasks they thought were a waste of time and that admin and micromanagement were among the top five office time wasters.  

More concerning is that Forbes reports that micromanaging could be a form of bullying. Even if that’s unintentional, failing to give employees the freedom they need to do their job correctly can drain their enthusiasm. 

Empowering employees can also help boost their motivation and engagement, which can do wonders for everything from retention rates to profitability. 

Employee empowerment, engagement and satisfaction – what’s the difference?

While empowerment, engagement and satisfaction can go hand in hand, they are all slightly different: 

  • Empowered employees know they are supported to make their own choices and decisions. 
  • Engaged employees feel motivated and inspired to do their job to the best of their abilities. 
  • Satisfied employees feel pride and contentment in their role, work, and place in the organisation. 

Benefits of employee empowerment 

Empowering employees can help boost your company’s performance in many ways. 

It can improve retention 

McKinsey found that 31% of employees quit their previous jobs due to a lack of meaningful work. By empowering employees to plough their furrows, you can help ensure their work remains meaningful. 

It can create greater connections 

Allowing employees to voice their opinions and take responsibility for their choices can improve communication and create a level playing field for colleagues to connect and share. 

It can create new, faster workflows

When employees are empowered to move forward with projects or make decisions without always having to check in, they can generally be more agile and improve workflows. This can be especially useful when working with large, international teams, where time differences can be a real sticking point. 

It can boost your Employee Value Proposition 

Your EVP is the unique offerings you provide for your employees in return for their skills. Increasing autonomy and employee freedom is one way of making your organisation more attractive. 

How to empower employees in the workplace

Like the sound of empowering your employees? Here are a few ways to get started. 

Create space for employees to step into 

If you want employees to be empowered, you need to make a space for them to fill. This can be scary initially, especially if relinquishing control is difficult, but it’s necessary. 

For employees to become empowered, they must be free to make decisions and delegate tasks at their own discretion. They also need to be permitted to fail or make mistakes – and create opportunities to learn from those situations and move on. 

Support empowerment in words and action 

By the same token, leaders and managers must show employees that they support them to experiment and take action. To kick things off, this might mean holding regular sessions to invite ideas and support new initiatives.

It also means taking the time to celebrate the occasions when an employee enjoys success after making an empowered decision – and having fruitful discussions about those times when things don’t quite go to plan. Taking the time to reflect and reward is crucial for ongoing employee development

Help employees connect with – and shape – your values 

The values your business holds should be at the heart of everything you do, and that means when you empower employees to take their own road, you want to know that you’re pursuing similar goals. 

Be confident about your company culture and what you want to achieve, and always be open to feedback. The ethics, beliefs and ideas that your employees bring to the table can profoundly impact the success and evolution of your mission. Make exchanging company and team values a priority to increase feelings of harmony and connection. 

Bake rewards and recognition in

Giving employees more autonomy and empowering them to make their own decisions has massive upsides, but don’t forget to show them you’re paying attention. One potential pitfall when setting out an empowerment strategy is failing to recognise that most people tend to thrive on appreciation. 

It’s completely possible to create an atmosphere of empowerment while also making sure to highlight achievements. Just be sure to book frequent check-ins and appraisals, set goals together and use rewards and recognition platforms to share successes.

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Mo is an employee culture and engagement platform that can help leaders improve collaboration and morale, reduce employee churn and drive change. 

Our platform creates a vibrant culture by developing team habits, encouraging people to celebrate success, recognise results and appreciate colleagues.

Your complete toolkit for connecting and motivating teams in the new world of work. Book a demo with our team today!

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