Creating an Empowered Work Environment
Companies across the nation are experiencing similar issues with employee retention. According to recent studies, employee turnover is on the rise in the United States – nearly 59 million employees left their jobs in 2015 and 37% of U.S. employees are currently considering leaving their jobs, an increase of 33% since 2011.
This turnover comes with a pretty hefty price tag. The median amount that organizations spend to replace an employee is about 20% of that worker’s salary, but costs can be as high as 200% depending on the position.
So why are employees leaving their jobs in record numbers? Research shows that people leave jobs due to push and pull factors. Companies can do little to change the “pull” factors that draw employees to work at other companies (greater compensation, better geographical location, etc.). But they can do quite a bit to control internal “push” factors (excessive workloads, lack of empowerment and recognition, general work demands) that lead dissatisfied workers away from organizations.
As management, your employees trust you to make decisions that will positively impact them.Likewise, it is important that employees feel empowered to also make important business decisions. Creating an empowered work environment requires you to put forth a consistent effort to make employees feel as though they are an important piece of the company. From enabling your staff to make decisions to setting realistic goals, empowerment is created by management.
As Bill Gates famously said, “As we look into the next century, leaders will be those who empower others.” Here are five tips for helping that feeling of empowerment soar:
- Start with a clear strategic vision. The first step in empowering employees is to give them something to get excited about and to actively work toward. That something is the company’s vision statement. Put the vision statement at the center of everything the company does to inspire and empower employees to work toward a common goal.
- Make sure everyone is on the same page. Empowered employees have the knowledge and the confidence to make decisions. To ignite that knowledge and confidence in employees, make sure their individual work goals are aligned with those of the company. The more engaged employees are, the more productive they are.
- Recognize efforts and reward successes. Recognizing these efforts is the ultimate employee motivator as it encourages the employee to continue doing what they’re doing and inspires their team members to follow suit. This lets employees know their thoughts and opinions are valued and appreciated, making them all the more likely to speak up and lead.
- Remove roadblocks and provide assistance. Empower employees by giving them the tools they need to succeed and lead. Provide the necessary training, a mentor, opportunities for them to give and receive quality feedback — anything and everything that will help them on their way to becoming more empowered.
- Don’t hover. To truly enable employees, employers need to be willing to take a step back. Some employees may find it easier to step up if they don’t feel like their every move is being monitored, not to mention evaluated. Monitoring an employee’s every move can have the opposite of the intended effect by impeding their ability to grow as professionals. Giving up control puts more power in employees’ hands and builds a greater sense of trust between employers and their employees.