Answer this: what’s better than an effective leader? Simple: an efficient team. Hiring a natural leader to supercharge productivity in your workplace is as simple as replacing a single individual on your team. However, stopping there can often result in short-term, surface-only solutions.
One thing is certain: a team cannot truly be efficient until you figure out how to empower employees in the workplace.
It all has to do with your business mindset. Employees must be more than just “employees”: they shouldn’t have to rely on their manager to make every single decision for them.
On the contrary, each member of your team should be infused with the confidence and charisma that directs the very best leaders. And while not everyone is required to have the ability to lead an entire team, they should feel empowered enough to lead themselves.
But empowering your employees and team members is not the typical easiest task, and must be handled carefully. This is why we gathered the four most effective ways to empower employees through learning.
1) Support the implementation of coaching and mentoring activities
By encouraging coaching and mentoring programs in the workplace, you successfully hit two birds with one stone.
On one hand, you help your newest hires gain hands-on knowledge from the experienced veterans of your team. And not only that, but you also make them feel more independent, with regard to their role within the company and the team.
On the other, you give the older members the confidence of passing on their knowledge and helping the new staff enhance their skills. Being a mentor means being perceived as a work role model by less experienced teammates, which, in turn, makes the mentors feel more valued and, ultimately, more engaged – which is one of the main advantages of mentoring in the workplace.
And how could you empower your employees with coaching and mentoring activities? One-on-one talks, mentor and mentee assessments, and personalized training specifically designed for the mentee are only some ideas you could implement.
Mentors can also challenge mentees with certain goals, by customizing objectives and tasks that come together to fulfill the mentee’s responsibilities.
Remember that a mentorship program doesn’t have to end—the mentee and the mentor usually stay connected and continue to help each other, even when the official mentoring period has ended.
Essentially, this process builds strong bonds among the member of the team, making the workplace a happy place to be. So, if you wonder how to empower employees in the workplace, coaching and mentoring are some of the best ways to achieve this both for old and new employees.
2) Encourage self-paced learning and self-assessment
Employee empowerment begins with training — having access to resources and knowledge you need, helps you become educated, and in the workplace, more productive.
However, training is not one-size fits all. We all have our own way of learning and understanding and forcing ourselves to learn and understand through methods that we may aren’t comfortable with could have the opposite impact of what we’re going for.
Simply put: the better we understand, the more confident we are. And the best way to learn is at our own pace.
When employees learn at their own pace, they control how much time they need to digest a certain concept, instead of feeling rushed through more “complex” ideas (and let’s not forget that what is considered as “complex” can vary from person to person).
Self-paced learning offers the benefit of increasing learning efficiency and competency development in a shorter time, as well as the ability to scale and reuse techniques.
But self-paced learning is only one side of the coin. Another crucial step in dealing with how to empower your employees in the workplace is through careful self-assessment. Workplace self-assessment provides employees with a unique chance to analyze themselves at a critical level, which is something that we don’t usually do unless we are asked to.
The importance of self-assessment doesn’t come from the expectation that your employees will assess themselves fairly but from the mere practice of being asked to assess themselves in an objective manner. This usually results in individuals truly seeing themselves and their actions and empowers them into behaving more professionally.
3) Provide opportunities for continuous learning and development
Many learning programs initiatives introduced in the workplace, like seminars or conferences, are one-time affairs. And while these can be helpful in introducing certain concepts to your employees, there is no guarantee that these lessons will stick, let alone that they will help your staff feel empowered.
One of the best ways to empower employees through training is through repetitive, habit-forming methods. Offering continued learning and development in the workplace can help foreign concepts turn into positive habits, which ultimately enrich your employees in every aspect of who they are.
Continuous learning helps develop a “growth mindset”, motivating employees to adopt a flexible and adaptable attitude; the creation of a culture of community learning in your workplace, where employee learning and development becomes a norm and co-workers organically encourage one another to keep moving forward will make your team always feel ready for the unexpected as a result of constantly “staying on their toes”.
Bear in mind that practice makes perfect, and by continuously practicing the art of learning, you can create an environment that can reshape its functions at the snap of a finger.
4) Appreciate and Reward Learning Efforts and Progress
While knowledge and experience are the rewards of learning, not everyone thrives off the sole motivation of self-improvement. Employees who aren’t properly motivated will eventually stagnate when it comes to learning, and whatever empowerment they have received will slowly start to rust.
So, what do you do then? Obviously, learning has to be shaken up. Firstly, consider establishing a non-competitive rewards system. When figuring out how to empower employees in the workplace, sometimes you need to get in their head and understand what would make them want to learn and develop themselves.
Whether this is in the form of a monetary reward or a cut in workload is completely up to you: find what will motivate your employees to learn while maintaining a cool and supportive environment.
Another idea is to push them beyond their means, even if they are certain to fail. Failure shouldn’t always lead to “punishment”: instead, make sure they know you want to see them try and fail, rather than never trying at all. When you stick with them, despite their mistakes or failures, you immediately encourage your employees into taking more risks and thinking of more creative solutions.
Eventually, your team members will take initiative and own up to their thoughts, and if anything sticks, they will have only you to thank for it.
The Essence Of Empowering Your Employees For Success
There are many ways to empower employees in the workplace; it’s up to you to determine which strategies work and which won’t for your environment.
Though it may seem complicated or, at times, like it takes more effort than it is worth, you will notice that the moment your workplace starts “clicking” is the same moment that your employees are finally working to the best of their abilities.
Get the best out of everyone: when you start acknowledging that everyone has something important to contribute beyond their basic skills and roles, they will start giving you more.