4 Essential Tips to Create an Empowered Workplace April 10 2015

The term “empowerment” is often used in the workplace without truly being integrated into corporate culture. The word itself means to give official power or authority. In a lean workplace, empowering your employees is absolutely necessary for maximum efficiency and the kaizen approach.

What exactly does empowerment look like under lean management?

  • Employees make decisions for themselves, rather than relying on managerial input.
  • Responsibilities of the manager change from directing employees and inspecting work to coaching and ensuring everyone has the right skills and tools to accomplish their tasks with ease.
  • Employees feel more engaged in their work environment and know the boundaries of their position, allowing them to make better informed decisions.
  • Training and development of both employees and management team are a constant priority.

 It is clear to see that an empowered workplace is a leaner workplace. With employees taking action within their defined positions, this leaves less time and manpower to waste. In turn, your management team will be able to focus on honing the skills and abilities of your employees as a coach, rather than going behind them as a mother.

Now, how do you implement these lean values of empowerment into your workplace?

1. Value your employees. The best employees at a company do not work there just for the money. Show them you care about their efforts by offering your gratitude for a job well done. Employees should always feel proud to be part of your team, and it is the job of the management of an organization to provide employees with the tools necessary to be satisfied – beyond their salary – in their position. As simple as it may seem, telling your employees that you appreciate their hard work can take workplace morale to the next level.

 2. Share your vision. Make sure everyone knows and has access to the organization's mission, vision, and strategic plans for growth and development. Giving employees the necessary information to know the overall goals of the company will support their overall independence within their position. You may be surprised at the initiative and outpouring of ideas that you will receive from employees when they have more clarity of the goals of your organization. After all, who better to tell you how to improve the day-to-day operations than the people doing them?

3. Delegate more than just work. Include employees in the overall development plans for your company. Giving them project assignments and committee memberships enables them to feel like they are making a larger contribution to the growth of your organization. This also gives you the ability to find fresh talent for leadership roles.

4. Open your door to communicate. First and foremost, it is crucial to listen to the needs of your employees. The duty of the manager is to act as a coach within the workplace, and each employee may require a different approach. Provide constructive feedback and offer real, actionable solutions. You should always know how an employee is feeling in their role within your organization, and they should always know where they stand in the eyes of the management.