Every employer wants to know how to keep employees motivated and engaged. Motivation and engagement, as well as flexibility and improved customer service, are some benefits of empowered employees. It’s up to leaders to empower employees.
Much of empowerment is based on feeling, as Entrepreneur contributor, Andre Lovoi, states: “Employees only act as empowered as their employers make them feel.”
The logic is simple, but how do you nurture an environment of empowerment? Here are six tips on how to empower employees:
Avoid trying to be the big shot in the staff meeting. Your team should be powerful and wise. Let them show you why you hired them in the first place. Surround yourself with capable employees and encourage their ideas. Don’t try to get them to say what you want them to say.
Corporate cultures that encourage employees to only give positive feedback (or punish employees for doing the contrary) can create a negative work experience.
In contrast, organizations looking to foster a positive culture turn to empathy training. Empathy training is being adopted by an increasing number of organizations. Also called mindfulness training, companies are boosting employee happiness and productivity. Some of these notable companies include LinkedIn, Ford, and Cisco Systems.
2. Let them see your commitment
Uncle Ben from Spiderman said it best, “With great power comes great responsibility.” Earn your employees’ trust by practicing commitment. Don’t be the first person to leave on a Friday afternoon. Don’t unnecessarily “work from home” when you have a dozen employees that have to commute to the office every day.
Show employees your commitment to the organization and the team’s success. Displaying commitment also shows that you don’t feel entitled to misuse your power.
3. Let employees take the lead
Enough with the hand-holding and micromanaging. Empower employees by allowing them to take the lead on a project. If you want a competent team, then, at some point, they will need to fly on their own.
To start, talk big picture with them. Then give them reign in the presentation and the details. Let employees know what worked well and what needs improvement. Giving them leadership and responsibility shows trust, which most people protect and honor.
4. Write a personal handwritten note of affirmation
If your employee did an outstanding job or went above and beyond the responsibilities of their job description, let them know. Praise their efforts and not necessarily their talents. Recognition will empower employees. Hard work goes a long way in providing positive and effective results in an organization.
For example, write a handwritten note of thanks to let them know you appreciate them. Your employees will be more likely to continue the good work if they know it will be acknowledged.
5. Show employees people are more important than the company at large
Employees who feel respected work harder for their organization. Think about your organization and how you want to show your employees that you care.
In fact, there are dozens of companies that offer thoughtful, personal incentives for their employees. H&M includes employees’ birthdays as paid holidays. The retailer also offers unique personal benefits including pet insurance.
Yet another example, Google matches employees’ charitable donations. This act shows that they value community as well as the interests of employees.
6. Invest in their education
Finally, empower employees by investing in their education. Employers that allocate a portion of their budget to educating employees demonstrate their commitment to their career development.
Additionally, it demonstrates their commitment to their overall well-being. Investing in education can mean a variety of things. For instance, paying for graduate classes. Or, providing internal training programs (beyond required training) that are relevant to a particular skill or interest.
How effective has your training been for employees? Richardson Training’s Eileen Krantz, Vice President of Client Analytics, discusses how some clients develop a comprehensive measurement strategy to isolate the financial return on their investment.