How Can Managers Deliver An Empowerment Culture?
Empowerment brings strong results and a clear focus on performance through a motivated and enthusiastic workforce. Successful organisations have learned a long time ago that staff with passion and a strong sense of involvement add an extra competitive edge in the marketplace.
To get this right, and to ensure that empowered staff remain empowered, the following factors need to be constantly worked upon and applied in the organisation:
- Communication is one of the cornerstones of empowerment and managers and frontline staff always need to engage openly if it is to succeed.This means that management communicates a clear direction for the future and that the organisation cares about them and that performance reviews are fair and helpful.
- Operating a clear, no-blame culture where failure at every level is seen as part of a developmental path accompanied by relevant and supportive training to fill in gaps in knowledge and skill.
- Using tools to monitor employee performance and step in to assist when they fall short of their goals before productivity is significantly affected.
- Finding the right level of empowerment for each member of staff in the organisation is essential so that everyone is comfortable with what is expected of them. Getting this wrong seriously undermines motivation which then leads to poor performance and objectives not being achieved.
- Securing buy-in at all stages and from everyone. The benefits and pitfalls of the approach should be clearly set out and then support systems put in place so that the empowerment strategy becomes a reality and not just a dream or aspiration.
- If you feel your organisation could benefit from an empowered workforce, it is vital that you adopt a level of empowerment that your employees are comfortable with. The only way you will know this is through open and direct consultation.
- Introduce the change gradually and logically, taking care to sell the vision and provide clarification at every stage. This is a process that will bring many benefits to the organisation but for it to work it cannot be rushed.
- Moving forward make sure that new recruits will be able to benefit from an empowered workplace and thrive within it. Appointing new staff who are not receptive to this way of working creates friction and will be highly counter-productive to organisational success.
- Put a clear and measurable focus on teamwork and the benefits that empowered individuals contribute to working collaboratively with their colleagues. This should be a cornerstone of systematic and clear Appraisals against transparent goals that are mutually agreed.
There is much to be gained from an empowered workforce, but real care is needed in getting this right from the outset.
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