Empowerment is becoming an increasingly important topic in the economy. But why is this so, and why is it almost a must nowadays to take these theories into account?
In today's economy, the entrepreneurial commitment, the ability to work in a team, and the ability to deal with conflicts are becoming more critical. Due to various technologies and further developments, the demands of the employees are getting higher and higher.
Employees should no longer only perform their work, but also show initiative and assertiveness. They should be able to identify themselves with the company and have social skills for team tasks.
Due to the ever-increasing competitive pressure on the market, customer and service orientation takes center stage to attract new customers and retain regular customers. Because the competition never sleeps.
Today's customers don't want to have to fight their way through different hierarchical structures to find out who has what competencies and who can make decisions. The customer wants a solution to the existing problem, as quickly as possible, from a competent representative of the company.
However, the employees' interest in adopting a customer-oriented attitude does not come automatically and cannot be "ordered".
This commitment only arises from the greater scope for action and development of the employees' versatile skills. That is where empowerment comes into play.
The meaning of the term empowerment
In short, empowerment means recognizing and utilizing the capacity people have through their knowledge, skills, and motivation.
Empowerment gives employees greater freedom to act and make decisions and initiates various measures to enable them to use these. To this end, employees are provided with the necessary information, and their skills are improved with appropriate qualification measures. Also, incentive systems must be created to encourage employees to use this room to maneuver and make target-oriented decisions.
Empowerment is therefore made up of four competencies:
- Expansion of the scope for action and decision-making
- Improvement of the information equipment
- Granting of incentives
The scope of action and decision-making must be precisely defined and communicated. The employee should know and be able to delimit his or her area of responsibility. For example, that includes giving customer service employees the necessary autonomy to independently find solutions to customer problems and be allowed to implement them.
It is also essential to provide employees with the necessary solution-oriented information. For example, in customer service, this includes information about the customer, individual problems, and the goods and services offered by the company. Besides, information about the company's goals, changes, decisions, and the financial situation should be conveyed.
To get the best out of the provided information, the skills of the employees must be promoted. Various measures can be used to achieve this. For example, a customer service employee should learn planning and analysis techniques for organizing solution processes and communication and conversation techniques to be able to advise customers in the best possible way.
Just because employees are given additional room for maneuver does not mean that they want to use it. It also entails additional responsibility. Incentives should be provided to increase employees' intrinsic motivation and encourage them to take responsibility for their actions.
The importance of empowerment for companies
Empowerment is of great importance for the economy and companies of today.
Success can only be achieved if empowerment is carried out consistently at all company levels and is embedded in the corporate culture.
The question now arises as to what advantages stem from empowerment.
Above all, the intrinsic motivation of employees is strengthened. That is achieved through more autonomy and creative freedom, personal responsibility, and a sense of achievement through contact with customers. Furthermore, the employees' qualification is increased, they can further their personal development and, if necessary, realize their potential. In return, however, the work tasks become more demanding and if there is a thinning of the workforce, the employees' performance requirements will increase.
If a company deals with empowerment in more detail, it can gain insight into higher-level relationships, and new fields of action can be created for employees. Once empowerment is established, options can be perceived by employees and chosen independently. To implement this empowerment, however, the general conditions in the company must also be right. It is essential to remove hierarchical and bureaucratic hurdles that slow down employees in decision-making. Furthermore, corporate culture must be established in which mistakes can be made and are not punished for them, and in which trust can be built. Team development measures are an important part of empowerment, enabling employees with new qualifications to find their role in the team.
Therefore, empowerment does not merely mean handing over responsibility, but that everyone is responsible for the company, profits, and the company's products and services. In turn, responsibility means a greater commitment to one's projects and greater clarity about one's own goals and needs. The effectiveness and productivity of a company are determined by its employees' development and the use of their talents and qualities.
Companies must recognize that employees are the company's greatest asset, and for this reason, it is necessary to invest in them and trust in their quality.
We never know how high we are till we are called to rise; and then, if we are true to plan,our statures touch the skies.
by Emily Dickinson