Employee Empowerment is valued in many, if not most, organisations. It is a fairly common knowledge today that Empowered Employees contribute more towards the profit of the organisation and perhaps every organisation feels that it is good to have empowered employees.
Some organisations even declare that they want their employees to be empowered – but still it does not work.
The question is why!
There are a lot of reasons why it does not work. Some of the very common reasons are –
- The culture of the/an organisation does not allow information sharing with employees. The management does not think of employees as their partners. They believe that employees will misuse information that they receive.
- In other cases, information is shared. However, employees are not taught their importance. They do not know how to make use of the information they receive.
- Clear Job responsibilities and milestones are not chalked out before making the employees empowered.
- The role transformation from Employees and Manager to Team member and Team leader is not clear. Employees harbour the misconception that being empowered means they do not need managers. In the absence of proper training and management, the misguided employees start doing their own thing without taking responsibility for the task.
- Managers are not clear on their own roles in the process and feel threatened. Thus, they act as a barrier instead of a stepping stone.
How this can work
For Employee Empowerment to work, it has to involve everyone in the organisation from the CEO to the new recruit. The steps which are to be followed are:
- Management has to define the Vision, Culture and Milestone of the organisation.
- It is essential to have the right employees to begin with. Only those employees whose mindset aligns with the organisation’s vision and culture should be recruited.
- The same should be communicated to employees through repeated training. Senior Managers should be trained first.
- Senior Managers should also be trained on how they can transform from a Manager to a Leader. They need to understand their roles in the process of Empowerment and also in an empowered organisation. They should not feel threatened by the change.
- It is only when Senior Managers are trained and are ready to move into the role of a leader that the process of Empowerment starts.
- The process involves building two things in employees – competence and commitment. The first quality results from repeated training. The second comes through repeated counselling.
- When senior managers become team leaders and trained employees become team players, an organisation’s vision, culture and milestone can be achieved. Then only we can conclude that the Organisation is in safe hands.
- Information regarding the Company’s profits, how the profits are calculated, how an employee can contribute to profit is explained.
- Team members are given defined Job Profiles and sets of responsibilities.
- Leaders ask team members to list out their job responsibilities as per priority. The leaders, themselves, also make a similar list of the team member’s jobs responsibilities. Then they sit together, discuss and come to a conclusion regarding their final priority of job responsibilities.
- Team members are then encouraged to prepare their own milestones which are in alignment with the Company’s milestone.
- Once the milestones are clear, the next step is to define the boundary of their authority to make a decision. Employees need to understand that the strategic decision-making always remains with top/senior management. Team members are given defined authority to take decisions in operations related to their own work.
- When team members start taking decisions, there will be errors. This is natural. The questions to be asked when a team member makes a mistake are: What was the purpose behind taking such a step? And what is the learning they gather from that mistake?
- It is very important that every correct decision taken by the team member is praised. This will encourage the team members to make more decisions and become more responsible.