An HR Glossary for HR Terms
Glossary of Human Resources Management and Employee Benefit Terms
What Is Employee Empowerment?
Employee empowerment is a business philosophy that emphasizes the importance of allowing employees to have greater autonomy and control over their day-to-day duties.
Managers who lead through employee empowerment give their employees various resources to make important decisions on their own but still provide a level of guidance. Employee empowerment is the direct opposite of micromanagement.
Why Is Employee Empowerment Important?
Empowered employees are more likely to feel invested in their work which can lead to various positive business outcomes.
When employees feel that their actions, decisions, and efforts matter, they may feel greater job satisfaction and thus, are more likely to stay with the company. In fact, a Gallup report found that engaged employees are up to 43% less likely to seek other jobs.
Higher employee retention allows employees to be more productive in their specialty as opposed to spending their time training new team members. The company as a whole can focus on improving the quality of services it provides which in turn, can increase customer satisfaction.
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What Is Empowerment in the Workplace?
While empowerment in the workplace can look different across companies, there are a few common practices that managers can implement to give employees the chance to operate independently.
Managers first create a structured environment with clear job responsibilities, guidelines, and goals for their employees. This foundation allows employees the freedom to perform their duties in a way that works best for them.
Managers and employees have consistent two-way feedback conversations in which employees can share new ideas and challenges, and managers can coach and recognize employee achievements.
In addition to encouraging employees to take ownership of their current roles, it’s also important to provide professional development opportunities. Resources such as mentorship programs, job shadowing, and continuing education classes can help employees grow their skills and advance their careers.
What Is an Example of Employee Empowerment?
Employee empowerment can take different forms across roles and industries. Here are some examples:
- Team Cross-Training: If team members know how to do the basics of their colleagues’ jobs, the department can still run efficiently even if someone is out sick, on vacation, etc.
- Customer Service Decisions: In customer-facing roles, employees need to have some authority to make on-the-spot decisions instead of inefficiently running every decision through management. An example is allotting a monthly dollar amount that each employee can use to selectively refund customers to solve customer service issues.
- Professional Development Time: Consider allowing employees to spend a specific amount of their work time on whatever they think would benefit your company such as learning new skills or attending conferences. For instance, Google’s 20% rule has led to innovative breakthroughs and revenue streams such as Google Maps and Gmail.
All in all, employee empowerment encourages individuality and growth which allows for constant innovation across the entire company.
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