Virtually every business decision is a matter of investment and success is based on how companies deploy resources like employee time, capital and brand image. The authority to make independent decisions is also a type of resource that can and should be invested by delegating it to team members.
Overview: What is empowerment?
Employee empowerment is practically a buzzword at this point, but this term actually represents a very real and important concept in the field of business management. Learning how to effectively delegate and empower other members of the company is one of the most important and most difficult things for business leaders to learn.
4 benefits of empowerment
Making the move to empower employees is a lot less frightening if you take a look at some of the amazing benefits.
1. More adaptive operations
2. Developing innovation
3. Building mutual trust
4. Investments in future leaders
Why is empowerment important to understand?
Empowering employees is often essential for creating a strong and growing enterprise, but it’s a tool that must be handled with care and intent.
The micromanagement trap
Lanes and latitude
Relating risk and reward
An industry example of empowerment
A local supermarket often receives complaints about slow customer service from their checkout lanes. After an evaluation, the company realizes that the representatives working at this station spend a large portion of their time waiting for a manager to clear certain actions or decisions.
The company decides to empower their customer service staff by allowing them to check for counterfeit currency on their own and accept returns up to $100 without supervision. These basic changes would eliminate over half of the incidents that would normally lead to a multi-minute wait time.
Since these increased responsibilities also increase the chance of liability, the store also converts the customer service desk into a senior position. This means the position is only available for employees with at least two years of experience working at the location.
3 best practices when thinking about empowerment
A few basic practices can ensure you get the most out of your efforts to empower employees.
1. Avoid superficial empowerment
2. Lay a foundation in training
3. Stay customer-oriented
Empowering employees should still be done with the customer in mind. You need to think about how you are empowering specific employees to provide specific value additions to the final deliverable.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about empowerment
What are different types of empowerment?
Should companies empower all their employees?
How do you start empowering people in the workplace?
The power behind success
Many of the most successful business people in history are the ones that mastered the art of delegation and employee empowerment. People are the most important resource and asset a company has, so it only makes sense to invest as much as possible in their development. Empowerment builds loyalty, develops leadership and creates more effective processes, so it’s a critical principle in Six Sigma practices.