Top 5 Ways to Empower Employees
Hiring self-starters is one step in cultivating leadership, but companies must also have everyday tactics to foster a sense of ambition among workers so they feel confident enough to make effective decisions. Here are five ways businesses can empower employees in the workplace:
1. Reward Achievements
Sometimes workers simply do not know that their company wants them to take initiative. Employers must do their part to demonstrate that making decisions and acting without constant directions is not only acceptable but encouraged. To do this, businesses should reward achievements, according to Entrepreneur.
Doing so not only boosts the confidence of those being rewarded, it also provides motivation for others who have yet to take initiative. In order for this strategy to work as a way to empower employees, companies would be best served by publicly recognizing individuals. For example, managers might send out office-wide emails to congratulate team members on reaching a goal.
2. Diminish Fears
One reason employees may avoid taking initiative is because they are scared of failure. If a manager guides them through each step of a task, they feel confident they are performing how the company wants them to. However, any great leader knows that mistakes are part of the process, and fear creates an unnecessary obstacle. Businesses aiming to empower employees must integrate this facet of success into the company culture.
Inc advised companies give employees a safety net that lets them try out new ideas without causing damage to the company should those endeavors fail. This way, workers become more comfortable with innovation, which will eventually carry over to more impactful projects. For example, managers might let a lower-tier employee run an internal meeting. If mistakes are made, the manager can simply send out a follow-up email for clarity.
3. Keep Lines of Communication Open
Actions speak louder than words, and if employees don't feel like they can verbally share their ideas, companies can't expect them to take initiative. Looping employees in on important conversations and having open discussions is crucial to empowering workers. This shows employees that their opinions are valued, which ultimately makes them more inclined to share ideas.
This requires companies to create opportunities for communication - employers who sit in their offices all day aren't exactly encouraging collaboration. Instead, managers might benefit from inviting all stakeholders - no matter how small their role is - to project meetings. Additionally, asking direct questions like, "How would you improve this process?" or "What are your ideas regarding this plan?" can yield valuable feedback.
4. Update Employees on Company News
Employees may be more apt to make decisions when they can see the big picture - that is, understanding how their role contributes to the company's bottom line. All too often, workers lack the feelings of value and appreciation that drive innovation. As such, companies may benefit from hosting regular meetings - perhaps once each quarter - to talk about the company's status and where employees specifically fit in.
5. Don't Push too Hard
While it's important to challenge workers to meet their potential, employers who push too hard may knock individuals right out of their comfort zones, according to Forbes. A negative experience such as this could turn someone off from taking initiative altogether. Instead, companies should ask only what is expected of the employee's role and be sure he or she is comfortable with taking on the task.
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