Would you prefer employees who perform their tasks independently or the employees who keep asking for your guidance even after being trained?
Most employers wouldn't choose the latter. Undoubtedly, some amount of training and oversight is necessary to ensure that employees are capable and staying on task. But no employer would want to hold the hands of new employees forever.
Employers must be able to trust their employees to do the jobs for which they were hired. This can be done by empowering employees so that they can and will take the initiative to do more. Empowering employees also means giving your team members permission to take action and make decisions within your organization. You can follow the below guidelines for empowering your employees and improving their performance:
1. Set challenging and achievable goals
Employers should set challenging goals for their employees. This helps employees come out of their comfort zone and realize their potential. Let employees assess how these goals would benefit themselves as well as the company they work for.
When they align their goals with the company, it helps them see whether they fit into the organization. It also allows them to understand what they are expected to focus on and manage their performance to achieve those goals.
Remember, the goal is to set the bar high, but not too high—the goals should be attainable yet challenging to reach.
2. Avoid micro-management
It should not be a big issue if an employee doesn't get from point A to point B using the same method as you. Employees that are constantly being corrected, monitored, and told what to do will not feel empowered. Instead, they are likely to feel harassed, leading to doing just the bare minimum to survive.
Of course, some level of management is necessary. Employees must be apprised of goals, given some direction, and held to work standards and deadlines for delivery. But employers should refrain from micromanaging and accept that their way may not be the only way to complete a task.
3. Provide necessary resources
Today, technology is our biggest asset. Why not use it to simplify your employees' tasks? Providing the right tools to the employees increases efficiency. When your employees don't have the tools they need, it forces them to get creative and use whatever they have to the best of their ability. This can significantly hurt productivity in your workplace, which can also hurt your organization's success.
4. Support the learning goals of your employees
Encourage employees to have a friendly chat with their managers about their individual development goals. These conversations should enable them to understand which course they want to do, what skills they wish to acquire, and how managers can support them in pursuing their learning goals. Because the more people know, the more confident and capable they become.
5. Provide frequent feedback
Employees need frequent feedback and assurance. They want to know if they are working in the right direction and their hard work doesn't go unnoticed.
When debriefing on a project, be specific and thoughtful regarding the feedback. Telling someone that they did a 'good job' doesn't give them any clarity. Be specific about the attitudes or actions you'd like to see repeated and the impact they had on others.
6. Accept new ideas and inputs
It's important for employees to feel like they are contributing to building something meaningful instead of just being a part of a rat race. So try to develop a culture of clear communication at your workplace.
Whenever possible, include your employees in goal-setting and decision-making. If they can't be involved in these processes, be open to hearing their ideas and input. Being receptive to new ideas can not only help empower your employees, but it can also open up your organization to fantastic new ideas.
7. Appreciate and recognize employees for their hard work
Eliciting strong performance requires some sort of reward, appreciation, and recognition. This can include bonuses for individuals and teams that meet set goals during the year. It might revolve around scheduled promotions, or it can be as simple as giving a bonus day off or a pat on the back.
Showing appreciation makes it more likely that a person will do it again and do it even better. It also encourages employees to continue to take action, be innovative, and solve problems.
8. Provide opportunities for upward mobility
No one wants to be stuck in a dead-end job. If your employees feel that there is no opportunity for growth in your company, they'll seek opportunities to do so somewhere else. That's why it is essential to be transparent and communicative about how employees can take on a more significant role, earn more money, or advance in leadership.
Sometimes, there may not be a clear trajectory for an employee within a company. In this case, uncover employees' desires, strengths, and interests to see how they can take a bigger role within the organization. Because when they know there's room for growth, they're empowered to get to that next level.
9. Encourage upward reviews
Workforce management requires a clear direction as well as open, two-way communications with employees. Their feedback is valuable, and it can help to improve business operations. To encourage open communication, allow employees to share their honest feedback about their respective managers, which can be done easily through upward reviews.
Don't forget to include every team in extensive project discussions. Use monthly meetings to remind employees about where and how they fit within the greater scheme of things. When they see how their work is having an impact, they're empowered to do more.
10. Promote work-life balance
Happy employees are both career-oriented and dedicated to their life outside of the office. When you let them have time for the things that are important to them, they'll have more focus and energy when they spend at work. Always know that your employees will be much more productive and better at their jobs if they are well-rested and rejuvenated.
Empowering employees may seem like a difficult task, as it might take a lot of time and effort. But, with an arsenal of technologies available, the process can be impactful with features like Competency Mapping, Continuous Feedback, and Individual Development Plans for managers and employees.
Empower employees to work harder, and you will see improvements across the entire company, including retention—it's a win-win for everyone.