An Introduction to Employee Empowerment
Employee empowerment in the workplace is a combination of strategies designed to promote and cultivate autonomy among employees, allowing them to experience authentic engagement and a personal sense of investment in their jobs. Employee empowerment Wikipedia definitions explain that the process of employee empowerment involves developing a solid atmosphere of trust that encompasses all levels of organizational hierarchy.
Although empowerment theory is well-represented in Marxist ideology, it first became popular in American vernacular in 1981 when social scientist Julian Rappaport introduced the concept of community psychology. One of the first instances of using empower in a sentence was in 1977 when Rappaport’s work Community Psychology: Values, Research and Action was published by Holt, Rinehart, and Winston.
True employee empowerment occurs when corporations have put measures in place to create and nurture an atmosphere of mutual trust and support. When an employee feels pitted against others in lateral positions and feels the tension in interactions with those in superior positions, it’s impossible for employee empowerment to flourish. If the person with the lowest position in the company doesn’t feel a sense of engagement with his or her position, that company does not have an effective employee empowerment program.
3 Employee Empowerment Examples
Although employee empowerment isn’t a one-size-fits-all concept that’s applicable to every individual and every corporation, some basic tenets provide its groundwork. At the core of employee empowerment is the opportunity to take actionable steps during the course of regular employment duties that aren’t reliant on getting the approval of a higher-up. For instance, employees in the hospitality industry may be given the ability to make decisions concerning customer satisfaction. One example of this is might be when a customer in a restaurant is highly dissatisfied with a meal and the server has the right per their employment contract to comp the meal in question. Another example is when a hotel employee is allowed to offer an upgrade to a guest in the event of an unforeseen issue with the room that they’d initially reserved.
The most effective types of employee empowerment are those that revolve around the needs of the customer. Few things make an employee feel completely helpless than being faced with an angry customer and not being able to do anything to alleviate the situation, especially if management isn’t immediately available. Customer-based employee empowerment strategies are often referred to as financial empowerment because they entail being able to make decisions regarding financial aspects of the customer-provider relationship. Employees of the Ritz-Carlton, for instance, are empowered with being able to improve the experience of the hotel’s guests by as much as $2,000 per day.
Time management empowerment
Another excellent way to foster a company culture of employee empowerment is to provide employees with an increased amount of agency over their time. Punching a clock at precise times on a daily basis used to be the standard operating procedure for the great majority of businesses, but today’s technology allows many employees to work remotely at least part of the time. This not only increases work/life balance, but it also provides employees with a sense of control over their own time.
Decision making empowerment
Decision-making empowerment involves providing employees with the right to make applicable decisions concerning basic workplace issues. For instance, front office personnel may be equipped with decision-making power over what type of office supplies to order and where to purchase them from. Decisions should be pertinent to the individual job at hand.