Empowering your employees
Posted on July 19, 2012, Thursday
AN organisation that hires employees and leaves them to work and learn things on their own will not be able to benefit much. Employees need to be empowered through proper training and guidance in order for them to fully exercise their skills and talents.
There are many ways that management can empower employees. First and foremost, employees need to have an orientation session where they are provided with information on the organisation’s background, culture, beliefs, mission and vision. Only when new employees fully understand the organisation’s direction and goals would they be able to gear themselves to move in that direction.
Next, present employees with the procedures and policies of the organisation and the history or reasons behind those rules and principles. When employees are well informed on these practices, they will be able to carry out their work according to the policies. This will help them greatly in their decision-making process as they will know what takes precedence.
For example, certain organisations value their reputation more than anything else. Hence, as representatives of these organisations, the employees need to ensure the reputations of these organisations are prioritised.
Provide employees with answers for the most frequently asked questions. Discuss ways to solve problems that are common to the organisation’s business. Employees will be able to use these solutions as a guideline whenever they face similar issues. This will expedite the problem-solving process and eliminate any unnecessary waste in terms of time and effort. Equip employees with the necessary resources. For instance, information on where to find appropriate forms, who to approach for certain types of assistance or information, internal and external contact lists, etc. Enable employees to be able to make full use of the resources at hand to get their work done and achieve success.
Enlighten employees on where to find solutions or assistance when they cannot solve a problem. They will not be able run to the same person whenever they have an issue. Show employees the various options and resources to find more information or enlist help so that they can solve problems without depending too much on others.
Pay close attention to the projects that the employees are handling. Provide relevant and useful feedback throughout the project. Ensure that timely feedback is given so that things would not get out of hand. Employees will greatly benefit from the feedback as they can make adjustments or corrections to ensure the desired results are delivered.
To further empower employees, they need to learn to ‘own’ their work. If employees take ownership of their work, they will give their very best because they fully understand that their work is their responsibility and the qualities and results of the work represents them and affects their reputation.
To instil the feeling of ownership, get them to be involved in the planning process – both long- and short-term. When they are committed in setting deadlines or milestones, they will be more likely to put in more effort to deliver.
Include them in discussions, conferences and meetings when appropriate.
Even when they have not attended some of the meetings or discussions, ensure that they are informed of the outcome so that they are in touch with the latest progress.
Ask employees for their opinions on the projects that they are responsible for. If the employees are merely carrying out orders, the sense of ownership will not be there. If they are given the chance to contribute ideas or opinions, they would be more interested to get involved.
Let the employees take part in presenting projects where they are involved in the preparation. Make sure that their names are included in the project paper or presentation. This will make known to others their part in the project and instil a sense of ownership in the employees involved.
Employees are great assets to any organisation. When organisations empower their employees, there will naturally be organisational success.
Priscilla Hiu is a career guidance consultant of Gracia Management and a certified behavioural consultant of DISC Personality Profiling System, Institution of Motivation Living, USA and Extended DISC Personality Profiling System, Extended DISC Northgate.