Employee empowerment as the name implies, involves giving powers to employees. It enables employees to set their own goals and to solve work related problems by themselves which are within their purview and authority and finally to make decisions autonomously. By empowering employees, a leader does not renounce his/ her own power- instead he/ she shares with others.
The aim of employee empowerment is to increase employee’s responsibility, morale and quality of life. It has been observed that when an employee is vested with more authority, he tends to be more productive, confident and loyal.
The three keys to employee empowerment include:
1. Sharing of Information: Sharing all the relevant information with employees in a transparent manner is the first key to employee empowerment. Leaders willing to share information earn the trust and commitment of their employees.
2. Giving Autonomy within Boundaries: Employees should be given autonomy to do their jobs in a manner they deem fit. However, they also should be aware of the boundaries within which they need to function so that organizational interests are not compromised. Once employees are clear about the parameters of autonomy, they can plan the best possible ways to function in a given situation. Authority instills a sense of responsibility and employees are more likely to act responsibly while doing their tasks.
3. Encouraging Self-Managed Teams: In the past, as a part of the old hierarchy, there were a few employees who took responsibility to solve a problem in an organization. Therefore, these employees had control over the organizational process. Today, employee empowerment necessitates replacement of this old hierarchy by self directed teams wherein the team members are offered greater flexibility in terms of managing projects and resolving issues. Each team consists of a group of employees who share the responsibility for the entire process. They plan and manage the work accordingly from its beginning to the end. As a self-managed team, they share the leadership and take decisions and handle conflicts as a team.
Employee empowerment provides employees adequate resources and opportunities to deliver the best output. With empowerment, it helps them understand stages of group development and the kind of leadership it requires to allow teams to function as desired.