Business executives have much more power than they realize when it comes to business operations, because team morale rests on their shoulders. It goes without saying that there is a direct connection between team empowerment, with general job satisfaction, performance, and commitment to the company itself. Then of course, there is that saying: “Happy employees make happy customers.” Executives realize the need to empower their employees, but over 80 percent fully realize that they aren’t actually doing enough to bring out the best of their employees.
According to Economics Discussion, there are three main types of employee empowerment that executives should be aware of: suggestion involvement, job involvement, and high involvement.
As the name implies, suggestion involvement refers to employees freely sharing their ideas for consideration by upper management. Employees who feel ‘heard’ by leaders are 4.6 times more likely to feel empowered to do their best work.
When it comes to job involvement, job roles are restructured such that employees can uniquely tap into their skill sets. The employees are given plenty of feedback about the quality of their contributions. Just like suggestion involvement, final decisions are made by upper management.
In the case of high involvement organizations, the entry-level employees have a sense of involvement that goes beyond their job performance. These team members fully understand that their contributions play their own unique and very special role in the success of the organization as a whole. These employees ultimately enhance their problem-solving capabilities as required in projects that call for teamwork.
Context is key to empowering employees the right way
Team empowerment, in its most basic form, can be implemented through practices such as individualized recognition, meaningful one-on-one interactions, and by giving employees autonomy to do things their own way. It is also important to forgive minor mistakes they make, and give them respect in order to get it back from them.
Each of these may sound basic enough, but certain imbalances may cause more harm than good.
For instance, providing employees with additional responsibilities (and challenging ones at that) doesn’t necessarily serve as an opportunity for them to prove their worth to climb up the ladder. At one point, it can end up becoming a burden on the employees, and dramatically increase their level of work-related stress.
Context is also key. For example, autonomy is highly appreciated in creative industries and roles, because it is seen as a sign of appreciation of talents and an opportunity for self-development. That isn’t the case with all industries and roles. On the flip side, autonomy can be seen as a sign that the leader isn’t fit to lead, and may even be trying to avoid making difficult decisions.
So is there a one-size-fits-all approach towards employee empowerment that can be considered foolproof and safe across the board? Absolutely: by genuinely showing support.
The best way to show support to employees
It is essential for executives to show support to their employees by giving them the tools they need to achieve job mastery and success in their roles. This refers to everything from training, coaching, resources, role models, and guided experiences. In an increasingly digital world, this also refers to equipping employees with relevant software that has been crafted from the ground up for their roles. For instance, sales team members need software for customer relationship management, while growth marketers and user acquisition managers need software that will help them bring out the full potential of their ad campaigns. These tools will help team members work more efficiently, and ultimately yield significantly better results for the business in the long term. Of course, they must be given proper training of the tools-at-hand if needed, and their suggestions for alternate/additional tools must be welcome.
Employee empowerment is more crucial than ever in the post-pandemic world, especially with consideration to the fact that, according to Achievers, “businesses with highly motivated workers are 21 percent more profitable, while disengaged employees in the U.S. alone cost businesses a staggering $450 to $550 billion each year.” With this in mind, there is no time like the present for business executives to explore the best ways to equip their employees with the support they need to dominate their respective fields of expertise.