Business owners strive to hire candidates that have the relevant education and experience to complete the tasks associated with specific positions. While some amount of training and oversight may be necessary to ensure that employees are capable and that they are staying on task, supervisors don’t necessarily want to hold the hands of new employees forever.
For this reason, employees must be trusted to do the jobs for which they were hired. The natural extension is to empower employees so that they can and will take the initiative to do more. When a workplace atmosphere is created in which employees feel valued and are encouraged to take pride in their work, employers can promote peak performance.
How can employers make this dream a reality? Here are a number of ways in which management can empower employees and improve performance.
This is a biggie. Employees that are constantly being monitored, corrected, and told what to do are not going to feel empowered. Rather, they are going to feel harassed, with the likely result that they’ll do just the bare minimum to keep an army of supervisors at bay.
Some level of management is, of course, necessary. Employees must be given direction, apprised of goals, and held to standards of work and deadlines for delivery.
What they don’t need is to be watched like hawks and subjected to constant interruptions and second-guessing. Employees are hired because they’re the best candidates for their respective positions. Micromanagement is a great way to lower morale and squash leadership potential.
Empowered employees need to be challenged. Once they have proven themselves capable, do not hesitate to delegate increasing responsibilities that allow them to push their boundaries, learn, and grow within the organization.
Some companies take the stance of making every employee learn to do the job of their supervisor. This ensures that employees are constantly improving and that they’ll be prepared for promotion when the time comes.
Set Clear Expectations and Rewards
Empowering employees and improving performance only work if a clear path is set for what is required and what employees stand to gain by living up to (or exceeding) expectations. It’s one thing to allow employees some latitude to make decisions about how they will accomplish tasks – it’s quite another not to set clear tasks for them to complete.
In addition, eliciting strong performance may require some level of reward. This could include bonuses for individuals and teams that meet set goals during the year. Or it might revolve around scheduled promotions. Employers will have to decide what works best for the organization and communication is made very clear about what is expected from employees and what will result from success or failure.
Offer Ongoing Employee Education
The more people know, the more capable and confident they become. Empowering employees requires not just the opportunity to do more, but also the tools to succeed.
Some companies send employees to seminars or provide in-house training. Others offer reimbursement for continuing education (so long as it pertains to the job they hold or the industry they’re in). Either way, employees continue to grow, they add value to the company, and their performance improves over time.
Encourage Employee Feedback
Workforce management requires not only a clear direction, but also open, two-way communications with employees. Their feedback is valuable and it can help to improve business operations.
Employees that feel their opinions and insights are valued are more likely to invest in the company they work for on an emotional level. This, in turn, can improve performance. So empower employees to speak up and then listen to what they have to say.