We explain what empowerment is, and how to implement it. In addition, we discuss its importance, and provide examples.
What is empowerment?
The term empowerment refers to a management style that entrusts employees with a certain degree of autonomy and self-determination for important decision-making within their reach.
- For example: a skincare product manufacturer may give its marketing team the responsibility of devising proposals for product improvements in packaging, communication and advertising content, as well as customer service channels. The team members are encouraged to continuously improve performance in exchange for recognition from the company. As a result, employee commitment and productivity are boosted.
Empowerment should not be confused with worker exploitation, i.e., overloading the employee with tasks and responsibilities.
Empowerment involves giving employees enough autonomy to act according to their own criteria and company policies, without solely relying on the orders of leadership. This strategy helps streamline work processes.
- Empowerment is a management style that entrusts certain responsibilities to employees.
- The aim is to enable employees to act with greater independence from superiors in certain decision-making.
- Empowerment caters to employees’ skills through training programs, enhancing motivation and self-confidence.
- See also: Management control
How to promote empowerment
There are several strategies to promote empowerment, depending on company structure, the number of staff involved, and available resources.
Team leaders should foster empowerment among members, training them, offering guidance, and providing them with the information they may need. As a result, employees often have a stronger sense of pride of individual and team achievements, become more engaged in their duties, and find greater purpose in their work. For the company, a motivated employee represents greater productivity.
Among the strategies that help boost empowerment are:
- Providing employees with access to IT tools to maintain connectivity for quick responses among team members.
- Involving teams in broader organizational decision-making.
- Promoting employee autonomy through company policies, which influence organizational culture and contribute to a collaborative work environment.
- Motivating employees through incentive or benefit programs, rewarding them based on achievements.
- Valuing employee effort and dedication beyond results, since outcomes do not always correspond to initial plans.
- Example of how to implement an employee empowerment strategy: An airliner empowering its flight attendants to offer passengers mileage in case of dissatisfaction with the service or other issues. The goal is to accelerate problem-solving and minimize customer complaints.
Importance of empowerment
Empowerment in the workplace aims to increase employee responsibility and commitment, optimizing their performance.
Empowerment is about maximizing employees’ skills and abilities through training and daily work experience, which bolsters motivation and self-confidence.
Empowerment is key, as it facilitates prompt and effective conflict resolution, streamlines work processes, and promotes employee professional growth within the organization.
Empowerment also permeates personal life, helping individuals to gain self-confidence, raise self-esteem, and stimulate creativity.
Advantages of empowerment for the employee
Empowerment offers several benefits for employees, including:
- Achieving a renewed sense of job satisfaction, beyond the fulfillment tasks.
- Demonstrating skills by engaging in multiple responsibilities.
- Acquiring new knowledge and experience, contributing to continuous personal and professional growth.
- Representing the company actively.
- Having a say in decision-making.
Advantages of empowerment for the company
Empowerment offers several benefits for businesses, including:
- Enhanced employee productivity, unveiling latent talents in the workforce.
- Collective decision-making becomes more effective and enriching.
- A more positive organizational climate.
- Strengthened bonds between team leaders and employees.
- Improved problem-solving processes.
- Rodriguez, J. (2021). ¿Qué es el empowerment (y ejemplos para inspirarte)?. Hubspot.
- UNIR (2021). ¿Qué es el empowerment empresarial y cómo aplicarlo con éxito?. UNIR.
- Blanchard, K., Carlos, J. P., & Randolph, A. (1996). Empowerment: tres claves para que el proceso de facultar a los empleados funcione en su empresa. Grupo editorial Norma.