Lisa Phillips is a Confidence Coach based in Sydney. Lisa is featured regularly in the media and is a popular speaker on the topics of empowerment and confidence. For more information, please see www.amazingcoaching.com.au and http://www.howtoempoweryourstaff.com.au/
Research shows that a company that embraces employee empowerment consistently outperforms its competitors. Sounds great doesn’t it but how do you go about creating an empowered workforce and ensuring your employees are feeling engaged?
In my experience, it is common for companies to go about empowering and engaging employees the wrong way round. Often, the key focus is more about productivity and improving customer service, rather than the true empowerment of employees. In taking this approach, we often fail to take into consideration a key factor - that each and every one of the staff employed by your organisation is unique, with different values, motivators and beliefs.
Yes, there is plenty of information and ‘best practices’ available but let’s get honest here – does a one size fits all approach really work? Surely a better approach is to find out what really makes your staff feel empowered in the first place?
Here are my top tips for real empowerment in your organisation:
1) Find out the Top 5 values of your Staff
Each and every one of us has a personal value system in place. This value system is basically a set of principles or ideals that drive our behaviour. This value structure determines what is meaning and important to us, who we are and what we stand for. If employees are disconnected with their values, they will not feel empowered. A simple exercise is to work with your team to identify their top 5 values. For example, if a top value of collaboration is identified, then Managers and Leaders need to ensure that employees are able to collaborate on key projects.
2) Ask them what needs to happen in order to feel more empowered.
Although you may like to think that Managers know what is best for their staff, in actual fact, your staff will have the best idea of what they would like to see in place to assist them in feeling empowered. When I run workshops on empowerment in organisations, staff members always come up with the best ideas and you’ve guessed it – when these ideas implemented, employee empowerment dramatically improves!
3) Respect Staff Boundaries
While you want to push your employees to embrace new experiences, you don’t want to dictate to them how it will work and push them right out of their comfort zone. If you do this, it will quickly become a negative experience to them and fear and dis-empowerment will be attached to the experience. Why not take the time to find out the comfort levels of your staff and work with them, rather than push against them?
4) Recognise your Employees
I have never yet worked with a team where recognition didn’t appear on the list of their top values. Seriously, this doesn’t have to be an expensive process. Learn to appreciate your staff and never underestimate the power of a Thank you. Be mindful that employees from different generations may value
Recognition in different ways so why not take the time to ask them what makes them feel appreciated? What works for one employee may not work for another so keep it simple and ensure that recognition occurs as regularly as possible.
5) Listen to your staff
You expect your staff to listen to you, especially when you are making important announcements but are you listening to them? Take the time to understand your employees and also the challenges they face. This is an issue I hear raised frequently with dis empowered staff. For many, not being listened to equals disrespect.
In conclusion, take the time to find out what empowers your employees rather than trying to convince them that empowerment will work for them, and the organisation.
photo credit: http://yourstory.com/2013/02/employee-value-proposition-a-key-tool-for-winning-the-talent-war/
Lisa appears regularly in the Media, on TV, Radio and Print.