Empowerment is a generic term with wide ranging connotation. It can be used in terms of “human empowerment” i.e. empowering the entire human kind as individuals and as formal and informal groups of individuals. Yet, here in this article, we are narrowing down to discussing only the empowerment of the employees in an organization. So, the term can be read as “employee empowerment”.
Definitions and Explanations of Employee Empowerment
Employee empowerment is recognizing and releasing into the organization the power people already have in their wealth of useful knowledge and internal motivation (W Alan Randolph). This empowerment need not have to be necessarily backed by formal delegation or sanctions by the superiors to the subordinates. It is thus related to releasing the latent power of employees at different levels in the organization and providing the resources to them and encouraging their initiative.
Thus, employee empowerment aims at thinking and implementing the ways by which all the employees at different levels in the organization can take decisions at their levels autonomously without the need to refer them to the higher-ups. Employees having choice to make direct decisions at their levels have greater sense of self-worth and ownership.
Advantages of Employee Empowerment
External and internal customers are more satisfied by the organizations who have implement such employee empowerment model since their problems are taken care of promptly and without the hassle of being tossed from one desk to another desk. The employees themselves are more motivated and contribute more towards organizational success.
Empowerment may result in overall organizational effectiveness, customer satisfaction and retention, profitability and growth of the organization.
Significance of Employee Empowerment
Autonomous decision making
Creativity and innovation
Experimentation (and allowing failure)
Calculated risk taking
Access to information
Organizational Interventions and Processes That Facilitate Employee Empowerment
Flatter organizational structure
Six sigma projects
Liberal delegation of power
Free to information access
Budgets for failures in innovations and experimentationem
Training the employees in the skills that will make them to use empowerment effectively e.g. training in decision making, customer orientation, customer service, assertiveness, ownership, interpersonal relations, team work etc.to use empowerment effectively e.g. training in decision making, customer orientation, customer service, assertiveness, ownership, interpersonal relations, team work etc