Use these simple empowerment strategies in the workplace to develop a proactive company culture that inspires your employees to thrive.
Show, don’t tell—it’s a concept anyone who’s ever taken a basic writing class understands: you can use thousands of words to describe something, but it’s not until you show it that it really makes an impact.
The same can be said for inspiring a workplace culture of innovation, creativity, and passion. Telling your employees that you trust and appreciate them is a fantastic start, but telling only goes so far. True motivation comes from employee empowerment—that’s how you show your people that you care. It’s how you instill a true sense of trust and loyalty between a leader and their team. Empowerment makes your employees not just care about their jobs, it makes them care about their work.
Show your employees that you care by following these ten steps for a more creative, innovative, and empowered workplace.
1. Delegate work and responsibility
Delegation and empowerment in the workplace go hand in hand. When an employee clearly understands what tasks they are responsible for, they take ownership of their work. This allows you to manage their progress less because you’ve already shown that you trust in their competency to get the job done.
While this may seem like a small consideration to you, it means everything to your employees. Our surveys have shown that only 50% of employees actually trust their leaders. When you trust your team, it encourages them to trust you.
2. Set clear boundaries and expectations
Many employers hesitate to empower their workplace because it can seem like giving employees free rein to do whatever they want. To prevent this, make sure to clearly define project boundaries and the results you expect your employees to produce. This will help reinforce your standard of quality.
3. Ensure employees have proper resources
Just because you’ve shown them the pool, it doesn’t mean they can swim just yet. Develop a well of resources and tools—and show them how to use those resources—for your employees to access whenever they need it. Additionally, you should always encourage open communication and let your team know that you’re available for brainstorming sessions.
4. Be flexible
Now that you’ve delegated work and established ground rules, you can begin cultivating a more relaxed, casual workplace. If an employee needs to work from home or requires a more flexible schedule, work with them to accommodate those needs. This helps your employees feel that you value their lives outside work more than you value nitpicking the rules.
5. Focus on the end results, not the process
Nothing kills employee empowerment quite like micromanaging. You’ve already set the guidelines—let your employees choose how to work within them. This will empower employees to work in a way that’s ideal for the individual rather than following an impersonal process. After all, the finished product is more important than the steps it took to make it.
6. Include employees in special projects
Recent survey results show that employees who feel a sense of belonging at work are 5.3 times more likely to feel empowered to give their best performance. Including employees in special projects is a fantastic way to help them feel appreciated and that their insight is invaluable. It also rejuvenates work ethic by introducing employees to new people and ideas.
Our polls have also found that employees who participate in special projects are 70% more likely to believe their job is preparing them for their future career—and, as a result, 67% of employees who participate in special projects desire to stay with their organization.
7. Be open to input and innovation
Once your employees are given freedom to explore their work, you might be surprised by the insight they gain. Encourage employees to be open with their ideas about problem-solving methods, processes, and solutions. You’ll find that their innovation and creativity is directly informed by their unique “ground-level” perspective.
8. Provide cross-training and learning opportunities
People want to feel like they’re moving forward in their careers. Encourage your employees to branch out and take an active interest in other departments. This enables employees to develop and hone their skills—and gives you multifaceted team members who are eager to utilize their talents in their work.
9. Give feedback and recognize excellence
Our survey results have shown that 79% of people who quit their jobs give “lack of appreciation” as the reason for their resignations—this is extremely troubling because, in one study, 65% of North Americans reported that they weren’t recognized even once in an entire year.
Don’t be shy about recognition. If you show your sincere appreciation for above-and-beyond work, your employees will repay you by repeating or even improving their performance. They’ll also feel empowered because they were rewarded for achievements they accomplished without heavy supervision.
10. Be consistent
Empowerment is not a reward an employer can give or take away on a whim. While small adjustments are okay, your employees won’t feel truly empowered if they know their autonomy might be revoked at any moment. And while exceptional performance should be rewarded, every employee should enjoy the same basic privileges to maintain a sense of unity and inclusivity in your workplace.
Remember, just like Rome, an empowered workforce is not built in a day. It takes time and trust—from both sides—to really solidify a self-sustainable team. It will take a little faith on your part, but your small actions will lead to big rewards.
Show your team that you value their insights, that you trust their abilities, and that you’re willing to repay their hard work. In response, your employees will do more than collect a paycheck—they’ll take pride in a job exceptionally well done.
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