So much of what happens in the workplace is dependent on empowerment. When employees feel empowered they comfortable making vital decisions, they tend to be more engaged and there’s a better overall sense of happiness and fulfillment in the workplace, which means a reduction in turnover and more engagement. More satisfied employees also tend to be more productive, achieve more and miss fewer days of work.
Empowerment isn’t just a vague concept, and it really begins with the training you provide your employees and continues on throughout the development opportunities available.
The following are tips to follow, whether it’s in performance-driven learning or talent-driven learning or your overall corporate strategy, that are going to help you more successfully empower your employees.
Nurture/Expand Their Skills
The first step of empowering employees relies on their ability to successfully do their job. This means employers provide effective and comprehensive training that delivers the necessary skills for employees to know, on a basic level, how to do their job. This sounds simple, but many companies don’t invest adequate time or money in their initial training, and employees never feel like they have a sufficient skillset needed to feel confident and empowered.
Just like you should provide them with the groundwork to develop and build skills, you should also provide them with ample resources that will help them be better equipped to perform their job. The more resources employees have to pull from to do their job, the more empowered they’re going to feel.
Develop Their Talents
Once you’ve presented initial learning and training, another important part of the empowerment puzzle relies on continual development programs. Great development-based learning is meant to create critical thinking opportunities for employees, and rather than telling them what they should and shouldn’t do in strict terms, it gives them the tools and the background to become problem-solvers on their own and choose from a range of possible solutions. This helps employees feel like they have a sense of authority over their job and the decision-making process, thereby increasing empowerment.
Demonstrate a Larger Vision
One of the most significant parts of empowering employees relies on their feeling they’re part of a greater concept or plan for a company. It’s important that this be presented both in training and development materials, as well as in-person. Articulate your company’s goals and vision for the future, and clearly show employees how they fit into that mission. This makes employees not just feel empowered, but also more secure in their position, leading to more satisfaction and engagement. One important component of demonstrating a larger vision relies on showing employees how their specific position and role in the company contributes to that vision, which can be accomplished through targeted, business-driven, overall talent management.
Open Lines of Communication
Whether you’re expanding talent potential through acquiring, retaining and promoting leadership development, or simply managing the day-to-day tasks of your employees, make them feel comfortable with the sense you’re communicating with them, and that they’re able to also communicate with you. Combine multiple avenues for communication to provide ample access for employees, from asking for feedback both before and after training and development initiatives, to face-to-face conversations with employees. This helps employees feel heard, feel relevant and can also help build on what they’re learning during formalized training and development.
Cross-training is a great learning and development method to empower employees. It gives them the opportunity to acquire new skills, feel comfortable stepping outside of their own position, it fosters a sense of teamwork, and it makes employees more likely to fulfill extra duties or go above and beyond. With cross-training, employees can also reap the benefits of learning from other employees. When you take the time to empower your employees through effective learning and development efforts that focuses on cross-training, you’re more likely to get a more efficient, more productive workforce with less skills gaps.
What are your favorite ways to empower your employees, whether through training and development?