What’s it: Empowerment means giving employees power and autonomy to determine their own destiny. Companies not only give employees more delegation and responsibility but also more autonomy. In addition, the company also equips them with adequate resources and facilities to support them to play their role effectively.
Empowerment primarily aims to give employees more control over their work lives. Thus, they are motivated, more productive, more accountable, and feel at home in the company.
Why is empowerment important?
There are several reasons why empowerment is important in a company. First, it keeps employees more engaged in their work. They have the opportunity to organize and control their work lives.
Second, employees are passionate about giving their best. As the company gives them more responsibility to work on their own behalf, their success is in their hands. As a result, they are likely to work hard to achieve their goals and be successful in their careers.
Third, employees are more involved in making decisions about their jobs. They also have more flexibility in their work.
It all leads to higher motivation. And motivated employees are the most important key to the company’s long-term success. In addition, employees are more productive and flexible in adapting to changing company’s demands.
How does empowerment work?
When employees are empowered, they are more effective in controlling and influencing their work lives. It combines important aspects of motivating employees such as:
Autonomy. Employees have the freedom to make choices and manage their work lives. And they are responsible for the choices made.
Confidence. Employees can be more confident in their abilities. They believe they can do the job and give their best.
Meaningfulness. Employees view the assigned tasks and work as valuable, not only for personal success but also for the company. So, they are eager to do their best.
Effective empowerment requires companies to give decision-making authority to employees to manage their work lives well in line with the company’s demands. It should also involve constructive feedback for continuous improvement. Moreover, empowering means giving more trust to employees.
Gives more autonomy
Employees have the opportunity to organize their work and tasks. Companies don’t just allow them to plan their own work. However, the company also encourages them to make decisions and solve their own problems.
Companies might guide them by setting targets, goals, or performance standards to be more purposeful. Thus, they have a clear direction to achieve. They then plan and organize work towards those goals and objectives. And, when there is a problem, they solve their own problem.
Autonomy can lead to higher motivation because it satisfies the employee’s need to grow psychologically. For example, it provides them with opportunities for self-actualization (see Maslow’s hierarchy of needs). And, when successful, they can satisfy self-esteem needs, such as a sense of accomplishment and appreciation.
Equip with adequate support
Empowerment requires companies to prepare employees for new challenges. In addition, they must have the resources and supporting facilities to play their role effectively.
Employees have inherent capital, such as their knowledge and skills. And they also have the opportunity to develop this capital to be more valuable. And, in this case, the company facilitates them for such development.
For example, the company facilitates employees with adequate training and coaching. Thus, they can hone their skills and gain new insights to exploit their potential to the fullest. Finally, they can develop themselves to achieve career advancement and higher performance.
In addition, companies also need to create a conducive growing environment. Thus, for example, companies delegate some roles and give them autonomy. Thus, they are independent in making decisions and accountable for their work. Such a growing environment is useful for employees to actualize their abilities, both related to work and interpersonal relationships.
What are the advantages of empowerment?
Empowerment is one way to cultivate employee intrinsic drive. And intrinsic motivation is usually more durable than the drive due to external rewards such as monetary compensation. In addition, they commit more to their work, encouraging creativity and productivity.
When basic needs such as salary and bonuses are met, internal drives are vital in motivating employees. As in Herzberg’s theory of motivation, salaries and bonuses are the factors to prevent dissatisfaction. When employees receive adequate and fair salaries and bonuses, it only leads to satisfaction but not higher motivation.
On the other hand, factors such as empowerment take on an important role to motivate when the triggering factors for dissatisfaction have been met.
Other benefits of empowerment are:
Faster problem-solving. Higher involvement and greater autonomy enable employees to respond quickly to any problems.
Higher productivity. Employees are more responsible for their own success. It motivates them to do their best, leading to higher productivity.
Increase retention. Employees are more engaged and committed in their work. They have control over their work and the results. So, they are more satisfied and comfortable working in the company.
And, other companies do not necessarily offer such empowerment. So, there is no strong reason for them to apply elsewhere.
Strong synergy. Empowerment requires strong trust between employees and superiors. Therefore, it was important to remove the many points of tension in their relationship.
What are the disadvantages of empowerment?
Employee unpreparedness. While empowerment will increase agility, productivity, and speed, it may not happen to all employees. Some may have less experience and capacity.
Or the company does not equip them with the necessary support. Thus, they cannot maximize the opportunities provided by the company.
Reputation harm. Unpreparedness can lead to more problems. For example, employees may make the wrong decisions, not as expected by superiors. Or, they make inconsistent decisions, contradicting their colleagues in other divisions.
The latter is more likely. Employees at lower levels may not be authorized to coordinate and compromise their decisions with other employees in other divisions. Rather, it is usually under the division head.
Less flexible in dealing with change. Change often requires quick and coordinated decision-making. Since each employee has the authority to make their own decisions, they may be quick to make decisions. But individual employee decisions can be random and uncoordinated, leaving them disoriented. This problem can arise because empowerment can create a blurred chain of command.
Bad decision. The decisions taken may be bad because the employees are incompetent. They may be experts in their field but may not be good decision-makers. And, not all employees have these qualities.
What to read next
- Non-Financial Motivation: Why Is It Important? What are the Types?
- Empowerment: Importance, Advantages, Disadvantages
- Autonomy in Management: Its Importance, Advantages, Disadvantages
- Teamworking: Importance, Advantages, Disadvantages
- Delegation in Management: How it Works, Advantages, Disadvantages
- Job enlargement: How It Works, Advantages, Disadvantages
- Job Enrichment: Importance, Advantages, Disadvantages
- Job Redesign: How it Works, Benefits
- Job Rotation: Importance, Advantages, and Disadvantages
- Flexible Working: Types, Advantages, Disadvantages