What is an empowered employee?
Empowered employees are confident, productive, motivated and engaged. They typically complete their tasks with little to no supervision and have the confidence to make their own decisions and generate new ideas because they feel trusted by their manager. They are also often willing to go the extra mile for their team and take ownership of their work.
Above all, empowered employees find meaning and purpose in their work and this commitment helps them perform well in their role.
What are the benefits of empowering employees and HR?
When your human resources department feels empowered to do their jobs more effectively, they can manage tasks better, giving them more time to brainstorm, research and develop programs that empower employees. To make your human resources department feel more empowered to complete their daily work, it may be necessary to invest in technology that helps the HR team automate routine tasks so that they can focus their efforts on employee performance.
Empowering employees in the workplace can lead to:
- Increased dedication to performing daily duties
- Motivation to take on extra work and leadership opportunities
- Increased productivity and efficiency
- Improved customer service and communication
- Being more flexible and adaptable to team, departmental or company changes
- Better adherence to company policies and practices
- Positive company culture
How to create empowered employees with effective HR practices
Human resource departments need proven strategies to create a culture of empowerment within their department and throughout the organization. Here are five ways to create empowered employees:
1. Hire the right employees
During your hiring process, look for candidates who are likely to be loyal to your company and be an active part of the organization. Shortlist candidates whose key values align with your business’s goals and mission. These candidates will be more likely to engage with and respond to the programs and processes HR implements.
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2. Offer transparency
In order for employees to feel empowered doing their job, establish trust between operations and management. Human resources departments can take on the role of building this trust by creating inter-departmental transparency. Using tools like organizational flow charts and infographics, human resource departments can facilitate the exchange of important organizational information between departments as well as promote communication between team members and management.
3. Provide professional guidance
HR departments can also offer access to professional development resources and opportunities to employees that can help them with their own career growth and skill-building. In this way, HR can serve as a hub for training and development that makes employees more confident in their role and allows them to gain skills for future roles.
4. Create a culture of feedback
Feedback is an important part of creating confident, empowered employees who can do their jobs with limited supervision. Human resources departments can assist in creating a culture of feedback by implementing positive feedback loops between management and employees.
Additionally, consider establishing a structured employee evaluation process where the HR department follows up with an employee after a review with their manager to gather feedback about the review experience.
5. Make employees feel rewarded
Providing monetary or time off incentives are two good ways to motivate employees to develop the skills that can make them more empowered. For example, try offering a small bonus to employees who complete a new training program or pursue professional development opportunities while at work. Or you could offer extra days off as a reward.
When considering the best rewards program for an organization, HR professionals should create one that makes sense for employees. For instance, if your company is remote, a digital gift card to a local coffee shop to reward employees for a job well done could be a good option. Or it might make more sense to offer free coffee on a daily basis if you have an in-person workforce. Be thoughtful about the needs of your employee pool when deciding on rewards.
5 HR best practices for empowering employees
Here are some best practices for empowering employees at your business:
- Be involved in decision-making: It’s important that an HR leader attend important meetings with decision-makers or key stakeholders. This can help ensure that the human resources department has full transparency around what’s going on in the organization and can feel empowered to create programs that are a good fit for the company’s goals.
- Listen actively: Listening actively means not only hearing and responding with appropriate body language and emotion, but also asking questions that deepen the speaker’s narrative and show your understanding of concepts discussed. When HR leaders actively listen, employees feel heard.
- Seek professional development: HR professionals should also have access to professional development opportunities within the human resources space, also known as human resources development (HRD). This can give them the knowledge and skills they need to create effective employee empowerment programs.
- Assume positive intent: Human resources professionals are often the first step in corporate problem-solving. When an issue is brought to HR, assume that everyone involved has positive intentions. This allows for better clarity and more objective decision-making.