Why it’s right to em­power your work­force

Belfast Telegraph - Business Telegraph - - News -

Busi­nesses will not keep pace with the speed of change if they ex­pect all de­ci­sions to go up to the top of the hi­er­ar­chy be­fore ac­tion is taken. Agility is key to com­pet­i­tive­ness, which means that de­ci­sions need to be made at the ap­pro­pri­ate level, and that re­quires a work­force that knows they are em­pow­ered to act.

Em­ployee em­pow­er­ment is more than just a busi­ness buzz­word. In or­gan­i­sa­tions, it is be­com­ing a ne­ces­sity rather than a ‘nice to have’. It is fun­da­men­tally about del­e­gat­ing greater re­spon­si­bil­ity and de­ci­sion-mak­ing to em­ploy­ees, telling them what they need to do to meet or­gan­i­sa­tional goals with­out telling them how they need to do it and mon­i­tor­ing them in the process.

A more em­pow­ered work­force can in­crease mo­ti­va­tion and sub­se­quently per­for­mance, pro­duc- tiv­ity and po­ten­tially prof­itabil­ity. Other forces, such as the dig­i­tal revo­lu­tion, the ever-grow­ing mil­len­nial work­force and the glob­al­i­sa­tion of teams, all re­in­force the case for em­pow­er­ment.

Work­places are re­spond­ing to this with a more flex­i­ble ap­proach to work­ing hours, re­spon­si­bil­i­ties and lo­ca­tions. Of course, there is a catch. Although not en­demic, in so­ci­ety to­day, there are those who want as much as they can get for min­i­mum ef­fort. These sorts of be­hav­iours are detri­men­tal to the fos­ter­ing of a truly em­pow­ered work­force. So what key fea­tures can help pro­mote the ben­e­fits and de­crease the draw­backs? Lead­er­ship: There are many quotes that the best lead­ers are those who sur­round them­selves with the best peo­ple. By do­ing so, it frees them to spend more time on strate­gic pri­or­i­ties by trust­ing their team to get things done and wel­com­ing any ideas and sug­ges­tions they have. Just as con­stant mi­cro-man­age­ment will limit em­ploy­ees’ abil­ity to think for them­selves, in­volv­ing em­ploy­ees in de­ci­sion-mak­ing, and listening to feed­back and sug­ges­tions will help them recog­nise they play a part in achiev­ing the or­gan­i­sa­tion’s vi­sion, strat­egy, goals. Thanks and recog­ni­tion: When pro­mo­tion, com­pen­sa­tion and recog­ni­tion are linked to per­for­mance, peo­ple are more em­pow­ered to do the right thing and en­cour­aged to learn and grow. Even a sim­ple ‘ thank you’ can be highly ef­fec­tive in boost­ing mo­ti­va­tion and mo­rale, as well as in­di­cat­ing what you want to see more of. On the other side of that is recog­nis­ing that by giv­ing peo­ple power there is the risk that mis­takes will be made, and these should be treated as learn­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties rather than pun­ished, which will in­hibit de­ci­sion-mak­ing and hin­der cre­ativ­ity. Train­ing/coach­ing: On­go­ing learn­ing and ed­u­ca­tion em­pow­ers us not only in the workplace but also in life. Pro­vid­ing tech­ni­cal, soft skills and man­age­ment train­ing gives peo­ple the knowl­edge and skills needed to do a job and also in­creases con­fi­dence, nat­u­rally lead­ing to a greater sense of em­pow­er­ment.

This, cou­pled with on­go­ing coach­ing or men­tor­ing, whereby em­ploy­ees re­ceive pos­i­tive re­in­force­ment and feed­back, will help de­velop their de­ci­sion-mak­ing abil­ity.

Suc­cess­fully fos­ter­ing a cul­ture of em­pow­er­ment is a two-way street of trust, hold­ing oth­ers and our­selves ac­count­able, and re­spect­ing the bound­aries in place. It is up to lead­ers and em­ploy­ees alike to be­lieve it can work and be­have in a way that mer­its em­pow­er­ment.

For fur­ther in­for­ma­tion or ad­vice, Katie Scott can be con­tacted at [email protected] Grant Thorn­ton (NI) LLP spe­cialises in au­dit, tax and ad­vi­sory ser­vices

An em­pow­ered work­force can in­crease mo­ti­va­tion and per­for­mance

@grant­thorn­tonni Bykati­escott, Man­ager, Peo­ple­and Change­con­sult­ing

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