Employees provide more value, are happier, and are more committed to their organization when they feel empowered. To build a culture that promotes employee and organizational success you need the tools and resources that allow employees to manage the tasks in front of them and drive their careers forward. How do you empower your employees and ensure they are primed for success? Here’s how.
➔ Offer authority and ownership
◆ Delegate tasks to your employees that empower them to capitalize on passion and potential. Give them autonomy to challenge them to step up their game. These unique opportunities for employees offer them the chance to step outside of their normal routine (and maybe their comfort zone) and focus on a new task. When employees can work on their own terms, their successes feel even more impactful and drive engagement.
◆ When you delegate tasks it displays a level of trust and respect. According to research, “respect — or the lack thereof — was the single strongest predictor of how employees as a whole rated the corporate culture.” A culture of respect impacts employee ownership and empowerment. To do this successfully you must delegate problems and not tasks. This allows your team members to truly feel like they have autonomy and the freedom to explore the problem in the most effective way.
◆ Excellent communication needs to flow both ways – from you to the team and from the team to you – for the team to be fully empowered. Here are three ways you can promote this:
- Allow your team to know you. When you are consistent and transparent, your team will develop security and a sense of trust in the fact that they know what to expect. No one likes to be surprised and the more consistency you demonstrate, the more your team will feel comfortable in the work they do.
- Accept ideas. Openness to new ideas not only benefits you and your stakeholders but also instills a sense of trust within your team. When your team knows that their opinions and perspective are valued and taken seriously, they are more likely to seek out ways to improve the overall function of their job or the team as a whole.
- Ask powerful questions. In both group and one-on-one settings, take advantage of opportunities to ask meaningful and impactful questions. These questions should not only concern specific projects, but also workplace preferences and personal life. Research revealed that employers that seem out of touch or uncaring about the lives of employees created a “moral injury that could drive workers away.”
➔ Make goals, guidelines, and best practices clear
◆ Expectations must be clear and widely known in order to build and maintain team morale. Here is how you can do this well:
- Team members are more engaged when they know the big picture goals and ideas, and when they have a general sense of where things are headed.
- Communicate and document changes promptly and through known channels. According to New America, employers should allow 30-45 days of advance notice before any changes to work models. Employees should know when they expect to hear from you and through what medium you will be reaching out.
- Prioritize clarity and thoroughness in training and onboarding. Starting team members off on the right foot is one of the most important components of cultivating sustained engagement.
- Depending on your industry, frequent training may be a critical component of ensuring that best practices are being kept. Training should be a dynamic and ongoing process as opposed to something that happens once. Zeynap Ton, a professor at MIT’s Sloan School of Management, suggests that cross training and up-skilling workers is key to employee empowerment and reduced turnover rates.
➔ Treat your team members like people
◆ There are few things as demoralizing to employees as when they feel that they are not seen and heard on a professional and a personal level. Ensure that you maintain a people-first mentality in all of the ways you interact with your team. Everyone must feel they are “treated fairly, made to feel welcome, and included in key decisions” (MITSloan).
◆ Because everyone has their own unique personalities and ways that they prefer to receive information, it is your job to identify how to speak the “language” of each of your team members. Here are examples:
- Display empathy
- Engage in small talk
- Listen (and not just when you want to)
- Understand their values
- Don’t be afraid to lighten up
➔ Culture of accountability
◆ Establish a culture of accountability to eliminate challenging situations. Clear expectations and accountability provide a sense of security and certainty that promotes team satisfaction. Equity also plays a role in accountability. Work settings where managers have “favorites” or promote based on preference rather than qualifications create toxic cultures and drastically undermine empowerment.
➔ Pursue purpose
◆ Find opportunities to rally your team around a shared vision or purpose to ensure they feel like the work they do matters. Employers should “define the purpose of the organization and make sure everyone is clear why and how their work matters” (Brigid Schulte). This sense of collaboration and collective purpose also promotes a commitment to organizational goals. Align your team’s purpose with the strategic vision of the company. When this is done effectively, productivity and morale skyrocket.
You can enable your employees to learn, grow, and develop personally, and professionally when you prioritize empowerment.
For additional tools and strategies on how to partner with your employees to co-create an engaged and passionate workforce click here to download the Employee Engagement guide.
If you are ready to enhance employee engagement and to build a more connected, deeply invested workforce, start now! Click here to schedule a time to talk.
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