Finding ways to empower employees is a hot topic.
Empowerment makes your company more productive and results in a more positive work environment.
The challenge is finding creative ways to empower employees.
We’ve put together a list of 21 ways you can empower your workforce.
These ideas give employees autonomy and responsibility for their work while providing them with constructive feedback.
When you empower your employees to make a real difference, you release their unlimited potential.
That means better results for you and them.
What Is Employee Empowerment?
Employee empowerment is a business philosophy that creates a supportive environment where your employees have the authority and autonomy to do their best work.
Empowering employees means you trust them to make decisions and take action.
You provide the resources and opportunities for them to take calculated risks.
And employees can take those risks without fear because you’ve created an environment where mistakes are simply ways to learn and grow.
Benefits of Employee Empowerment
According to Harvard Business Review, empowered employees have better job performance, more job satisfaction, and a higher level of commitment to their employer.
In addition, you’ll find your employees are:
- more willing to accept accountability
- providing better customer service
- pitching in and doing more
- excited about change when it happens
- more confident in their roles
- better communicators
- working with a more positive attitude
Your employees will also be more engaged in their roles. Employee engagement leads to greater employee satisfaction. Disengaged employees won’t enjoy the same vision you’ve created for your company and their work will suffer.
How to Empower Employees
There are many ways to practice employee empowerment. You are directly responsible for a positive impact on their employee experience.
As the owner or leader of the company, you can start by giving your employees more duties, additional responsibility, and a sense of belonging to the company.
Employees will feel invested in their work and excited about the opportunities.
Here are 20+ ways you can empower employees.
1. Delegate more than just “grunt work.”
Don’t pass off the worst tasks and jobs to your employees.
People want to feel they are making progress in their day-to-day tasks. And they want to see value in what they do.
When they feel fulfilled, they make better decisions and show more engagement with their work.
Allow your employees to work on meaningful tasks and projects. Show them how important they are and how they provide real value to your business.
2. Make your expectations clear.
When employees know exactly what to expect and how you’d like things to get done, they will be less likely to make mistakes. They can make better decisions and create quality work that meets your standards.
3. Don’t micromanage.
When you micromanage your employees, they’ll worry about being scrutinized for every single decision they make.
Give your employees clear guidelines and then step back. Don’t hover.
They may do things differently than you, but there are multiple ways to accomplish a task.
As long as your team completes the project and meets the company goals and standards, the result is all that matters.
And if you’re fortunate, you might learn a new way of doing things.
4. Provide resources.
When you delegate projects to your employees, make sure they have the right tools to complete the project.
Resources might include information about the company or its products or services.
It could also include templates, software, or compliance training.
Employees won’t be able to do a good job or feel empowered if they lack the resources they need to accomplish the tasks you give them.
5. Make sure your feedback is constructive.
When you meet with employees to offer feedback, use constructive criticism.
Comments should be a way to help your employee improve and not just a chance for you to vent your frustrations.
Your feedback will be more effective if it is specific rather than broad.
Provide exact details about the things that are working and the things that are not working so they understand what to do next time.
6. Listen to your employees.
Employees are often the most reliable source of information when you want to improve company culture and productivity.
When employees approach you with their ideas and suggestions, listen to what they are saying and take them seriously.
They often have valuable insight you might not see.
And even when it’s not possible to implement their ideas, simply taking the time to hear them out makes them feel valued.
7. Share your vision.
Communicating the direction of your company and your plans for the future is important to employees.
When you share the vision you have for the company, your employees understand their role in the big picture.
They are more invested and excited when they see the difference they can make in the company’s future success.
8. Recognize hard work.
Make your employees feel valued and appreciated.
Tell them you recognize their efforts, especially when they go above and beyond. Thank them for going the extra mile or helping out when needed.
When your employees know you appreciate what they do, they’re more motivated and committed to their jobs and your business.
9. Offer opportunities for growth and self-improvement.
When possible, provide financial and scheduling support so your employees can invest in their personal and business development.
That might be financial aid for continuing education or time off so they can travel to a leadership conference.
Maybe it’s starting a book club that meets to discuss personal and business development books.
When you invest in your employees’ development, they learn new skills that ultimately benefit your company.
10. Forgive mistakes.
Mistakes are inevitable in the workplace, especially when your company or employees are going after new goals.
One of the best ways to encourage your employees to take risks necessary to achieve those goals is to tell them that mistakes are okay.
Let employees know mistakes are just learning opportunities. They’re not a punishable offense.
11. Observe and ask thoughtful questions.
When employees struggle with a business problem, resist the urge to jump in and give them the answers.
Take the time to watch and learn what’s happening. Then ask open-ended questions that encourage them to think through possible solutions.
The impulse to solve the problem for them is understandable, but stepping back and letting them work things out strengthens their problem-solving skills.
12. Trust is earned.
Trust is a fundamental element of any healthy relationship. But for many employees, it can take a while to trust their boss.
It’s important to be aware of this. Give your employees the time and space they need to learn that you are trustworthy.
Your efforts will pay off because when you earn their trust, your employees’ loyalty to you will be strong.
13. Give employees time.
Maybe you can’t pay wages as high as the next guy, but time is an important benefit as well.
Give employees time to learn a new job or skill. When they take several weeks to settle into a new role, be patient.
Expect kinks in the systems when you roll out new software. Be understanding.
14. Set aside your ego.
You don’t have to be the smartest person in the room.
Give your employees a chance to shine. Let them take the lead when they’re qualified to do so.
Be willing to give them credit for a job well done. Their exemplary work makes you look good, too.
15. Make a personal connection.
Don’t forget to see your employees as more than just employees. They’re human beings with a life outside of your business.
Invest a few minutes of your time in small talk.
Ask about their families or their hobbies.
Show that you care about them beyond what they do for your business.
16. Don’t hide behind closed doors.
A company with an open-door policy is more likely to have engaged employees who feel they can contribute positively to the company.
It also helps foster trust between management and the staff.
When you are approachable, employees are more likely to offer ideas and feedback that improve the work environment and increase productivity.
Keeping the doors open is a great psychological empowerment tool that contributes strongly to the workplace culture.
17. Make sure employees are taking vacation time.
Help your employees see that being well-rested makes them more productive and facilitates greater employee happiness.
High-achieving employees with demanding work may need encouragement to get away from the office.
If you notice signs of burnout, suggest they take a long weekend away or call it an early night.
Make sure they have the coverage necessary so they can use their vacation time.
Encourage them to disconnect from the office during their off-hours.
18. Be flexible.
Flexible work scheduling is a way to make sure that the company and employees are productive.
Be open to flexible schedules. Allow employees to come in later or leave early if they can still get the work done.
If the position allows for it, offer work from home opportunities.
Be flexible when they need personal time off for doctor appointments, errands, or other personal tasks.
Unplanned kinks are going to happen. Kids are going to get sick. Cars will break down. Traffic is going to back up, and people will be late.
If your employees are hourly, don’t force them to use PTO or make up lost hours for these or other unexpected and unplanned events.
19. Encourage creativity.
Creativity is a crucial skill that needs to be nurtured and cultivated.
It’s what separates your company from its competitors.
Encouraging creativity in the workplace not only motivates employees but the company benefits as well.
Your employees’ skills will grow, their quality of work will improve, and they’ll think outside the box.
Creativity is where innovation happens.
20. Listen to concerns.
When an employee comes to you with a concern, take the time to listen.
Workers are happier and more productive in an environment where they feel heard. It’s a great way to build positive relationships with your employees.
And talking to your employees about their concerns helps you identify opportunities for change.
Then you can take action to build a better company for everyone.
21. Play to their strengths.
It is important to know your employees’ strengths and weaknesses.
Knowing what each employee does well is the first step to getting the most from their skill set.
Then you can set them up for success by playing to their strengths.
When you know where your employees’ talents lay, you can use them in ways that benefit your employees and your company.
Final Thoughts on How To Empower Employees
When your employees feel empowered, your business thrives.
Your people are your best resource, so let them think and act at their full capacity. Empower them to make a difference in your company.
Empowered employees are happier and more productive, which leads to higher customer satisfaction, a better working environment, a more engaged and willing workforce, better communication, and more employee loyalty.
What is one thing you’re going to do today to empower your employees?