By Brenald Chinyowa.
Published in The Herald News Paper, Harare, Zimbabwe, Thursday 20 February 2014
Empowerment is a multi-dimensional social process that helps people gain control over their own lives that fosters power in people for use in their own lives. Employee empowerment is insuring employees have the authority to make judgments on how the problem is solved or the need is met. Empowerment does not mean unlimited license...”just do whatever you need to do.…” but rather it means responsible freedom. It means employees who balance the freedom to go the extra mile for the customer with the responsibility of taking care of the organization. It is thinking and acting more like an owner, and not like a brainless slave who simply “does what he or she is told to do.” Organizations operating in this current turbulent environment can no longer afford front-line employee who are reluctant to use their full capacity at work. I mean employees who say, “I just did what I was told,” or “Just tell me what to do”. In the broadest sense empowerment is the expansion of choice and action. It is increasing one’s authority and control over the resources and decisions that affect one’s life or organisational progress too. It is giving individuals and teams more responsibility for decision making and ensuring that they have training, support and guidance to exercise their responsibility properly. When encouraged with care, empowerment is a panacea for many organizational ills. All managers and employees say they want empowerment, as it is considered a strategy to develop employees and serve members, which in turn will serve the company. The simple fact is that truly empowered employees have more self-confidence, are more creative and innovative, understand the strategic direction of the organization and are able to act upon this strategy, which in turn is mutually beneficial to both the employee and the organization for which they work, employees, management and the organisation can benefit from empowerment as discussed below;
Reduced staff Turnover
It has become a well out spoken term and well understood maxim in the industry that people tend to leave their bosses, not their companies, being a result of micromanagers who focus on process over results. Employees should not feel handcuffed in their decisions or be afraid to make bold moves. The more employees feel their actions positively impact their organizations directly, the more connected these employees feel to their companies. This starts with management, serving as the face and voice of those organizations. The more freely a smart manager delegate’s important tasks and decisions to her staff, she can focus less on operations and more on strategy and business planning. In turn, employees feel they're steering the ship.
It can be used to manage Industrial Relations
Empowerment help the management in conflict resolution as everyone works towards same goals. Worker Empowerment will help the management to determine the Industrial relation atmosphere in the workplace, this is because empowerment is similarly participative management, and hence by empowering workers the employer will reduce the collective influence of the workers, in the form of actions like, Strikes, demonstration or just through question organisational governance. The resultant stable industrial relations will subsequently be achieved through the commitment that comes with empowerment; an empowered workforce is a committed workforce.
Help in managing change
Every organization goes through large and small changes, the way employees respond to those changes is key in maintaining their morale. By allowing employees to make critical decisions that affect the company even in small ways, changes are less likely to be seen as uncaring edicts from above. Once the culture of loyalty and employee concern is established, even large changes are accepted and often embraced. Staff has to feel management at all levels makes decisions with their concerns in mind, empowered personnel tend to be more proactive and willing to embrace change. A team full of workers feeling in control of their destinies is far more enthusiastic about their roles and passionate about achievement, which is all good for the company
Employees dislike feeling as though they're the last to know about important changes within their organizations. To combat this, managers must be willing and able to communicate within the bounds of appropriateness with staff, keeping them honestly informed about their jobs and environment. Management must also be receptive to employee input, giving them a sense of control over important financial and strategic decisions. Once this culture of communication successfully takes root, employees will feel more comfortable sharing their ideas with management, improving not only workplace morale, but work processes as well. In turn, employees become more receptive to positive coaching from managers
By Empowering employees it increase their satisfaction and morale at the work place , since the activity of empowering the employees require a greater amount of communication than ever thought possible, and will also require management to invest in increased amounts of time communicating to employees and allowing for feedback. In addition, it will require that management honestly evaluate the communication styles and methods that are being used in the institution to ensure the most efficient processes possible. Communicating and sharing information accomplishes several objectives that are not only important for the empowerment process, but also for overall employee satisfaction with the organization
Empowerment allows employees the added opportunity to build on their current skill set. Being empowered gives them the ability to use all the skills that they already possess as well as gain new skills and experiences. Being able to hone and exercise their creativity and innovation skills will benefit them as they progress to higher positions within the organization, and as they also tackle much more challenging tasks and greater involvement in problem solving processes.
Positive Impact on Profits
Not only can empowerment have positive returns for employees and customers, it significantly impacts an organization's bottom line. Empowered employees have autonomous decision making capabilities and act as partners in ensuring the firm earns profits. Employee empowerment can radically change operations and boost corporate performance and profits. New products, creative ways, and innovation often result because employees are stimulated to play an active role in the organization
The better employees do their jobs and if those jobs are done with increased enthusiasm and attention to detail clients can only benefit. This is a key area where direct financial improvements are realized from empowering employees. Clients love communicating with friendly and attentive staff, regardless of the enterprise. Empowered personnel tend to take a more personal approach with clients, focusing on creative ways to solve problems that appear less tied to company policy. In turn, clients feel an increased level of personal concern, improving customer retention and loyalty, hence giving a bigger competitive leverage of the organisation in the industry.
Empowering employees’ leads to organizational encouragement of entrepreneurial traits and prompts employees to make decisions, take action, and foster their belief that they can take control of their own destinies. This belief leads to self-motivation and a sense of independence that is translated into greater loyalty and extra effort for the organization. Empowered employees come to believe that they control their own success through their efforts and hard work, which in turn benefits the success of the entire organisation.
Lastly it is an undeniable fact that among many fashionable management terms, empowerment refers to a change strategy with the objective of improving both the individual’s and the organizational ability to act. In the service sector for example empowerment is often seen as an avenue to gain competitive advantage however the true potential is broader. So why wait empower your employees today and
Article generated by Brenald Chinyowa \ for comments & feedback inbox to firstname.lastname@example.org (0777 897 586) 0715 764 862. Blog: profbrenald.blogspot.com . Feel free to contact him for free advice & consultation on any HR related issues in your Organisation, Also for strategic conferencing facilitation all free of charge.