Enhancing the employee experience has been the focal point in HR conversations for years now, and for good reason: Employees are the foundation of any company.
When employees feel good, perform well, and stay satisfied, companies are much more likely to be successful.
In 2024, there’s one strategy that business leaders can try that will lead to a better overall experience for them: Empower employees..
Why empower employees?
By definition, to empower someone is to give them the power or authority to perform certain tasks. In other words, it’s providing the resources necessary for employees to grow in confidence when controlling their work life and responsibilities.
Empowerment is the opposite of micromanagement. It means providing employees with the training and resources they need and then trusting them to excel in the ways they see fit.
Micromanagement, conversely, is a lack of trust. It means constantly watching employees and measuring their performance, not trusting them to stay productive or successful on their own. Micromanagement leads to decreased innovation, productivity, morale, and employee confidence. Which means that empowering employees does the opposite.
Benefits of empowering employees
One study found that employees who felt a high level of empowerment were in the 79th percentile of employee engagement, while those who felt a low level of empowerment were at the 24th percentile.
So empowerment can raise engagement by over 50%, which in turn leads to higher productivity, loyalty, and retention. When employees feel empowered, they also tend to be more satisfied at work, creative, helpful, and high performing.
Empowering employees with the confidence to succeed leads to many great benefits, and it can be the key to retaining your best talent in 2024.
Strategies to boost empowerment
Helping employees increase their feelings of competence isn’t difficult—here are a few strategies any business can implement to increase employee empowerment.
1. Empower growth with professional development
One of the best ways to build employee confidence and show that you’ll support them in their professional goals is to provide professional development opportunities. In the previously mentioned study, a strong correlation was found between a team’s emphasis on development and employees’ feelings of empowerment.
Help employees develop the knowledge, skills, and expertise they need to build confidence and grow as an individual. A development strategy can include tools like feedback, job shadowing, mentorship, skill development courses, access to conferences, higher education reimbursement and workshops.
These professional development methods will strengthen employees’ competence while sending a message that your organization values them and is willing to invest in them.
2. Drive behaviors with recognition, rewards
When employees strive to excel and perform at a high level, they need to be recognized for those efforts. That’s because when employees are recognized for their stellar behavior, 92% of them are much more likely to repeat that level of effort.
As mentioned above, empowered employees naturally put in more effort and are more productive. But if they’re not recognized and rewarded for the extra work, they’re not likely to stay feeling empowered for long.
Figure out how your employees want to be recognized, whether publicly or privately, and then train managers to provide that recognition as often as possible through both official and casual channels.
3. Build trust through autonomy
Autonomy means giving employees the means and resources they need to work and then letting them work. It means celebrating their successes and letting them make mistakes—and then helping them learn from those mistakes and get better.
When employees feel trusted to work in the way that works best for them, and when they aren’t afraid of making mistakes, they’ll feel more empowered to be creative, innovative, and productive. One of the best ways to do this is effective delegation. Give employees new tasks that they’re interested in and allow them to grow in their new responsibilities.
Give employees keys to succeed
The best companies have employees who autonomously strive for excellence, thereby driving more success for the company. The best leaders invest in their employees, provide feedback, recognize their efforts, and develop trust, empowering employees to do their best.
Aim to empower your employees this year and watch as they outperform your expectations time and time again.