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Date posted: 15th August 2023

15th August 2023

Role of Employee Empowerment in Enhancing Engagement and Productivity

Role of Employee Empowerment in Enhancing Engagement and Productivity

In a workplace where obstacles intentionally hinder progress, employees can sense their untapped potential but often lack the authority to overcome challenges or voice their frustrations. Such environments can lead to reduced efficiency and detachment. Empowering employees with decision-making authority not only enhances engagement but also fosters organizational success. This article delves into the concept of employee empowerment, its benefits, challenges, and techniques for implementation, while highlighting the vital connection between empowerment and engagement.

From the original article published in Hospitality Net by Ana McFee:

When roadblocks are deliberately thrown in your way, particularly in the workplace, it can be discouraging or even disheartening. Workers can sense when they are able to do more, but often lack the power or means to achieve their goals or even to speak up and express their frustration. Working in such an environment is highly irritating, which can lead to defeatism, reduced efficiency, and detachment.

Entrusting employees with greater responsibilities and decision-making leeway enhances engagement and organizational success. Simply put: Empowerment equates to Engagement.

In fact, a research paper published in Forbes showed that employees who felt powerless were evaluated in the 24th percentile of engagement, while those with a higher level of empowerment came in at the 79th percentile.

Fortunately, all organizations can empower their employees by using the right strategies.

What is employee empowerment?

The term ’employee empowerment’ has become an increasingly popular topic among businesses in recent years, as more and more organizations strive to create cultures in which their employees feel enabled to use their skills and potential to their fullest.

Employee empowerment is a model of management that gives employees control over their work. Specifically, it means that employees can make decisions that directly affect their day-to-day operations, without needing to consult with their bosses.

The goal of employee empowerment is to create a culture of trust, collaboration, and engagement, as well as to foster innovation and give employees a sense of autonomy and ownership. For businesses, that means increased productivity, loyalty, and motivation from their team.

How does employee empowerment relate to inclusive leadership?

The relationship between employee empowerment and inclusive leadership is an important one, as both impact the effectiveness of the organization as a whole. By giving employees the ability to influence and contribute to decisions concerning their work, empowerment provides an essential framework for workplace success. In turn, inclusive leadership seeks to leverage this empowerment, giving voice to the opinions of all employees and seeking to foster a culture that is open to dialogue and teamwork. While the precise paths of both concepts may differ, their ultimate outcomes are often one and the same.

Results revealed that inclusive leadership is a strong predictor for employee empowerment.

At the same time, the concept of inclusive leadership has gained traction as a means of leveraging employee empowerment and creating a culture in which all voices can be heard. In contrast to the traditional top-down model of leadership, which isolates decision-making to the highest levels of hierarchy within the organization, inclusive leaders strive to create a workplace environment in which employees are encouraged to contribute their perspectives and have the freedom to express themselves authentically. The emphasis of inclusive leadership is on establishing shared values and goals within the organization, with input from all workers, regardless of rank or tenure.

“The ability to lead inclusively is one of the most powerful skills that a leader can possess. It encourages collaboration and dialogue, and creates a sense of community and belonging. An inclusive leader looks beyond the status quo and creates an environment in which everyone is valued and included. They have the ability to build bridges and embrace diversity, not just tolerance. When leaders are truly inclusive, those they lead are inspired to work together to achieve greater things that bring success to all.”

Benefits of employee empowerment

By empowering employees, the organization not only gets better results, but it also creates a productive and engaged workforce. Here are some of the major benefits to consider:

  • Increased productivity
    Empowering employees enables them to take ownership of their work, make decisions and take the initiative, leading to increased productivity and better performance. Studies have shown that empowered employees are more likely to go the extra mile and work hard to exceed expectations. A study conducted by the Harvard Business Review provides strong evidence for the positive link between employee empowerment and performance, noting that organizations that invested in structuring and supporting well-defined decision-making processes experienced substantial improvements in team performance.
  • Improved engagement
    Employees who are empowered tend to be more engaged in their work, leading to higher levels of job satisfaction, better employee retention and improved customer satisfaction.
  • Reduced managerial overhead
    This is one of the major benefits to consider, as delegating authority and decision-making to employees reduces the amount of time managers spend on managerial tasks and frees them up to focus their attention on more strategic initiatives, like developing their team.
  • Improved morale
    When employees feel that their opinions are valued and appreciated, morale is typically improved. This leads to reduced absenteeism and an overall better working environment.
  • Enhanced creativity
    Empowerment encourages employees to think outside the box and come up with creative solutions to problems, thus fostering innovation and improved problem-solving.
  • Improved relationships
    By promoting an environment of trust, employees feel comfortable working with each other, which can only improve teamwork and communication between departments.

The challenges of employee empowerment

While employee empowerment is a powerful tool to help organizations reach their objectives, there are some potential challenges that organizations need to be aware of.

Here are some of the common challenges:

  • Increased risk
    By giving employees more freedom, organizations also run the risk of things going awry. Organizations need to ensure that processes, procedures and other safeguards are in place to minimize the risks.
  • Lack of trust
    If employees do not trust their managers, they may be hesitant to use their discretion, leading to a feeling of disconnection. Organizations need to foster a culture of trust and open communication if they want to be successful with employee empowerment.
  • Onboarding issues
    Organizations need to take the time to properly onboard and train employees on the new processes and procedures. Otherwise, employees might feel overwhelmed or confused.
  • Leadership issues
    If managers are not properly trained or don’t understand the concept of employee empowerment, it could be difficult for them to effectively manage their teams. Leaders need to ensure they are on board and understand the benefits of employee empowerment before they implement it.

Read the full article here to find out the techniques for building employee empowerment.


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