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ABSTRACT

This thesis examines the topic of employee empowerment and seeks to provide a model for its implementation which addresses needs identified in the literature but insufficiently addressed previously. Empowerment is defined as a process whereby: a culture of empowerment is developed, information is shared, competency is developed, and resources and support are provided. Each of the components of empowermentculture, information sharing, competency development, resource provision, and supportis examined in detail as addressed in the literature. The benefits of employee empowerment are noted, and objections to it are addressed. Theoretical foundations of employee empowerment are examined in an extensive literature review. A model for understanding and implementing employee empowerment is provided based upon the precepts of apprenticeship. The apprenticeship model suggests that employees be viewed first as apprentices while their skills and knowledge within a given task set are developing, then as journeypersons through continued development, and finally as masters of their craft. An assessment of organizational empowerment is provided and training responses based upon this assessment are suggested.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

First and foremost, I thank the Almighty God for sustaining the enthusiasm with which plunged into this endeavor. I avail this opportunity to express my profound sense of sincere and deep gratitude to many people who are responsible for the knowledge and experience I have gained during the term paper work. I extend my overwhelming gratitude to Mr. DEVDHAR SHETTY for his valuable guidance and meticulous supervision during the preparation of this Report. My hearty and inevitable thanks to all the respondents who helped me to bring out the term paper in a successful manner. Last but not the least; I extend my gratitude towards my, faculties and friends who extended their wholehearted support towards the successful completion of this term paper Work.

INTRODUCTION

Employee empowerment is one of those terms that everyone thinks they understand, but few really do. Ask a dozen different people and you'll get a dozen different answers to the question, "What is employee empowerment? In fact, research a dozen organizational theorists and you'll get as many answers to the same question. This paper seeks to answer that question in a way that it can be understood by a greater number of people. Some writers indicate that empowerment consists of sharing power and authority. Others say that empowerment occurs when the organization's processes are set-up to allow for it. If you keep in mind the secondary dictionary definition of "to give faculties or abilities to: enable" with all that this word implies, then you will be on the right track for the purposes of this paper. This paper also seeks to answer the question above in such a way that people who work within organizations can apply the information to enhance employee empowerment. "Why would we want to enhance employee empowerment?" you may be asking. That detailed answer will be provided in the in the literature review section under the heading "benefits of employee empowerment". However, it has been shown that employee empowerment results in increased employee satisfaction, increased productivity, and increased customer satisfaction. "Aren't there some strong objections to the implementation of an empowerment program which must be overcome if we are to receive these benefits?" The short answer is yes. Empowerment, if it is to be implemented effectively, calls for a culture change for the typical organization. Leaders must learn to be visionaries who can provide an idea to which employees will want to dedicate themselves. Supervisors must change their ways of supervising and learn to be coaches and mentors. All members of the organization must dedicate themselves to sharing information and to training. Each of these issues will be addressed in turn.

Since this is an academic paper, I would be remiss if I did not include a section on the theoretical foundations upon which the concepts of employee empowerment are built. While there are few theorists who have delved very deeply into what makes up empowerment, what they have mined is rich. There are more researchers who have attempted to provide a framework for what they have observed; their ideas which have merit will be addressed. Implementation of empowerment programs seems to be the biggest challenge organizations face. The popular press often writes about "failed" empowerment efforts. What has become evident to me is that there are some speed bumps on the road to empowerment; often these so called failures are only rough patches which will be overcome. However, it is also evident that the implementation often takes years, especially if the organization has a bureaucratic culture. It also seems that empowerment implementation efforts are often haphazard. By providing an easily understood definition of empowerment, some information about what must take place, an assessment of how empowering your workplace is, and a model for implementation based upon what is commonly understood as an apprenticeship system, I hope to address unmet needs with this paper.

Literature review
Definition of Empowerment
The common dictionary definition of empowerment, "to give official authority to: delegate legal power to: commission, authorize" is the one most understood by most people. As an example, Gandz (1990) writes, "Empowerment means that management vests decision-making or approval authority in employees where,

traditionally, such authority was a managerial prerogative." However, this is not the definition of what is usually called employee empowerment. One author notes empowerment is, "easy to define in its absencealienation, powerless, helplessnessbut difficult to define positively because it 'takes on a different form in different people and contexts. When most people refer to employee empowerment they mean a great deal more than delegation. It is for this reason that many authors provide their own definitions. Some of these are vague, and meant to be so. Block (1987) describes empowerment as "a state of mind as well as a result of position, policies, and practices." One has to read an entire chapter to understand what he means when he says, "To feel empowered means several things. We feel our survival is in our own hands. We have an underlying purpose. We commit ourselves to achieving that purpose, now."Other authors use their entire book to define empowerment. Still others provide an excellent perspective of effective empowerment without mentioning the word even once. Other author provided definitions are simplistic on the surface, but have far greater implications than a first reading would suggest. For example, Caudron articulates empowerment as, "when employees 'own' their jobs; when they are able to measure and influence their individual success as well as the success of their departments and their companies." The casual reader may think that owning one's job is what the postal worker's union seeks to provide their members. Most would agree, however, that job security is not empowerment. Many employees must measure their jobs by submitting reports. Seeking one's own individual success is what the American dream is all about.

Benefits of Empowerment
That employee empowerment benefits the organizations which implement it effectively is widely noted in the literature. The popular press accepts the belief

of benefit almost without question. Thomas Pet zinger, in his column "The Front Lines" in the Wall Street Journal, is a big advocate for empowerment. He writes, "As a society we know the best way to organize people is freeing them to organize themselves. Why should it be any different in business?. Also in the Wall Street Journal, Aeppel asks the rhetorical question, What better way to tap into workers' brains as well as their brawn than to encourage them to think on the job, to bring to it a greater sense of professionalism and self-motivation and to feel committed to the company's success?. Freeman writing about applying Marine Corps values in the growing corporate workplace advocates a form of empowerment where training is key and, within clear missions, risk-taking is rewarded. However, a bunch of business writers jumping on a bandwagon was not sufficient for me to believe that empowerment is beneficial. I wanted evidence and I found it. A number of writers cited Kanter as the source of information about the efficacy of employee empowerment. Kanter writing about positional power indicates, "Organizational power can grow, in part, by being shared By empowering others, a leader does not decrease his power; instead he may increase it--especially if the whole organization performs better." (Kanter then uses the logic that, "The productive capacity of nations, like organizations, grows if the skill base is upgraded. People with the tools, information and support to make more informed decisions and act more quickly can often accomplish more." This is the hard evidence most skeptics are seeking. For those of us seeking softer evidence, Bowen and Lawler indicate empowered employees provide, "quicker on-line response to customer needs during service delivery; quicker on-line responses to dissatisfied customers during service recovery; employees feel better about their jobs and themselves; employees will interact with customers with more warmth and enthusiasm. when employees felt that management was looking after their needs, they took better care of the customer; great word-of-mouth advertising and customer retention". Randolph indicates, A more subtle, yet very powerful benefit" of employee empowerment was increased "trust in the organization". When employees trust

that the company is not out to suck their blood and is providing a competitive produce or service they will respond positively, "people who have information about current performance levels will set challenging goals--and when they achieve those goals they will reset the goals at a higher level." A number of authors also indicate that the increasing competitiveness of the global marketplace calls for better service and the benefit of drawing upon the entire pool of employees for creative ideas. An example of this would be a consumer products company looking to expand into less developed countries using custodial staff who immigrated from those countries for marketing ideas and possible distribution contacts. One never knows if someone has an uncle or aunt in his or her home country who owns a chain of grocery stores, unless one asks. An empowered organization would think to ask, or would at least encouragee the employees to make helpful suggestions.

Objections Overcome
Management's fear of letting employees make decisions which can impact the profitability of the company is a major factor in the ineffectiveness of many empowerment programs, and yet is still a major objection. who, as noted above, is often cited as providing evidence of the effectiveness of empowerment indicates, One might wonder why more organizations do not adopt such empowering strategies. There are standard answers: that giving up control is threatening to people who have fought for every shred of it; that people do not want to share power with those they look down on; that managers fear losing their own place and special privileges in the system and so forth. But I would also put skepticism about employee abilities high on the list. This objection can be overcome if the managers in question can be assured that the employees are ready for the level of authority being placed with them.

The apprenticeship model emphasizes the growth and training of the employee into readiness to be empowered. Only when employees are trained in the ramifications of their actions and are able to see the big picture should they be allowed and encouraged to make decisions. The role of the supervisor is as mentor and coach. The worker must be given the opportunity to make decisions about less significant things and then the outcomes of these decisions reviewed so that learning can occur. For example, when residential life staff members at the University of Hartford plan a bar-b-que meal for the residents of a building they are given a budget and encouraged to shop for sufficient food to feed the number of people expected. If the worker has little experience, a list of items to purchase is discussed prior to the shopping trip, however the quantity and brand selection are left to the worker so that the budget can be maximized in the store. A common mistake less experienced workers make is purchasing brand-name soda in cans. This is a very expensive way to ensure that drinks are available. As a result less food is able to be purchased within the budget provided. The worker learns that brand-name canned soda is quickly drunk by the people who arrive first and then no drinks are available to later attendees. It is better to buy inexpensive soda in bulk bottles, or some sort of drink mix, than to provide brand-name soda because it meets the need and does not inspire greed. This lesson is best learned through direct experience and review of the results with the supervisor. Being told this reality is not nearly as effective. Just as we would not expect a person with an associate's degree to articulate ground-breaking new theories in their field; so too we should not expect untrained employees to make decisions which affect the bottom line. The manager who has been involved in the training of the worker will have greater confidence that the worker will make a decision which is in the best interests of the company. The benefit of empowerment is that it allows each employee to bring his or her experience and creativity to bear on the decision. Middle managers often object to employee empowerment because they perceive that the effort will take power away from them. The view is, as

Blanchard & Bowles indicate, "Managers mustgive up the levers of control they've worked a lifetime to get hold of". I call this the "hazing theory of management". One of the reasons initiation activities and hazing are still a part of many fraternal organizations is that the current members want the opportunity to do onto others as was done onto them. If, as a pledging member, they had to run errands for the brothers then they want the opportunity to have pledges run errands for them once they become brothers. Running errands are the "dues" pledges must pay in order to join the brotherhood. Working for the organization for years and being subjected to the decisions of others are the "dues" middle managers have paid to obtain their positions. This type of thinking is called zero sum change. That is, in order for you to gain something must lose an equivalent amount of that thing, in other words, win-lose thinking. In order for an employee empowerment implementation to be successful, managers with this objection must change their attitude. Ward asks the questions these managers might ask, "How can I give up control when I am accountable for the results? How can I give greater decision-making authority to employees, yet ensure the results are of good quality and are consistent with corporate objectives? How can I manage the empowerment process so employees feel the project is their own?" The answer to these questions, and the way this needed change is accomplished through training. Managers must see that they still have a role despite authority being shared with empowered employees. This new role is as mentor, coach, and facilitator. Training should be provided for each aspect of this role. Acting as mentor comes easily to some people, however others have difficulty seeing themselves as able to offer anything beyond direction. Proper training can show the reluctant mentor how to improve his or her skills. Coaching is another skill some people have difficulty with. Again, training is called for in this instance. Because empowered employees often are formed into selfmanaging teams they often need someone to facilitate their discussions until this skill is developed among the members of the groupthis initially becomes the role of the manager. Later on, as cross-functional teams are formed, the

manager's facilitation skills are called for again. Many managers will require training to enhance their ability to facilitate discussions. Managers who take on these new roles of mentor, coach, and facilitator begin to recognize that they are still needed. A new win-win attitude replaces the old win-lose attitude in those managers who are successful at implementation of empowerment. As the benefits of empowering employees become apparent, the properly trained manager will become a strong proponent of empowermenthe or she will recognize the value inherent in taking advantage of everyone's experience and creativity. If one accepts the premise that empowered employees are more satisfied with their jobs, and the premise that satisfied employees result in satisfied customers, then logic dictates that managers will seek empowerment opportunities in an effort to grow the business and increase revenues.

Management Role
In an empowered organization the managers and supervisors take on a different role than they usually would in most organizations. The literature is unanimous on this point. It may be obvious that one aspect of this role change is the sharing of power and authority. Yet, many managers and supervisors already do this, either actively or passively, through delegation or abdication, neither of which is empowering people. Empowerment implies a great deal more. There is an active role for managers and supervisors rather than the passive one of abdication. There are stages an employee must go through before he or she should have authority delegated to him or her. There should also be a recognition that while the employee may be ready to have one aspect of the job delegated to her or him, she or he may not be ready for delegation in other functional aspects of the job. Managers and supervisors must reframe their perception of their roles because, "The primary task of supervision is to help people." Block also tells us, "As managers we become more powerful as we nurture the power of those below us."

So what are these new, active roles for managers? First we must understand that, "Managers and supervisors need to be empowered, too". One use of manager's new found empowerment should be to allow them to remove barriers to employee empowerment. Conger and Kanungo describe this as, "providing autonomy from bureaucratic constraint". Harari asks us to, "imagine that your job is to create an environment where your people take on the responsibility to work productively in self-managed, self-starting teams that identify and solve complex problems on their own." Ginnodo tells us this, "involves articulating a vision, values, strategies and goals; aligning policies, practices and business plans; improving processes; organizing, communicating and 'walking the talk' of total quality and removing barriers that prevent outstanding performance"[italics are mine]. Gandz indicates, "Managers need to be willing and capable of changing their roles from supervisors and work directors to visionaries and coaches." This new role of coach is also nearly universal in the literature. Coaching is defined as, "teaching and practice focused on taking action, with celebration when things go well and supportive redirection when things go wrong, while all the time creating excitement and challenge for those being coached". Ward indicates of coaching, "The objective is to keep giving employees responsibilities which move them along the capability continuum, eventually reaching 'fully capable of the task'. Naturally, the manager must be careful to keep adjusting his or her leadership style as the employee becomes more capable." Managers also have to learn how to nurture and reward good ideas. Conger and Kanungo discuss the importance of the employee's sense of their own abilities as a factor in their empowerment. These coaching, or, "empowerment strategies are aimed not only at removing some of the external conditions responsible for powerlessness, but also (and more important) at providing subordinates with self-efficacy information". Among the coaching strategies noted are, "(a) expressing confidence in subordinates accompanied by high performance expectations, (b) fostering opportunities for subordinates to participate in decision making, (c) providing autonomy from bureaucratic constraint, and (d) setting inspirational and/or meaningful goals." Thomas and Velthouse (1990) indicate events such as, "inputs from supervisors, staff peers,

and subordinates, for example, performance evaluations, charismatic appeals, training sessions, mentoring advice, and general discussions of ongoing projectsprovides data on which to base task assessments." Task assessments are those perceptions by the employee of his or her ability to perform, or interest in, the task. That is, management can change the environment to make completion of the tasks rewarding intrinsically (for example, through praise and recognition or increased opportunities), or management can work as a mentor to help the employee perceive his or her contribution as valuable. Mallak and Kurstedt (1996) echo this mentoring approach for employees, "and help them internalize the values and traditions [of the organization]. These managers help create a work environment where employees take action for intrinsic reasons more so than for extrinsic reasons." Another aspect of mentoring is role modeling. Block (1987) indicates, "One way we nurture those below us is by becoming a role model for how we want them to function." Other authors use a sports analogy to get this same point across. "By setting the key goals and values, you define the playing field and the rules of the game. You decide who plays what position. Then you have to get off the field and let the players move the ball." If a manager does not perceive her or his role is to help those she or he supervises to grow, then any empowerment implementation effort will not be successful. A change in role perception is called for in this instance when implementing employee empowerment. The supervisor must see potential in the employee and work to bring that potential out. The process is best described as mentoring or coaching and it entails: determining the skill level of the employee sharing information about the goal to be achieved and why it is important to the organization as a whole providing for employee training as needed depending upon the employee's skill level, providing appropriate supervisory support

A directing style for those tasks for which the employee has a low skill level coaching for those tasks with which the employee has some skills but is lacking experience or motivation A supporting style for those tasks where the employee knows what to do but is still lacking confidence in their abilities A delegating style for those tasks where the employee is motivated and fully capable. ensuring that the employee is consistently growing in skill by providing new responsibilities for which a higher level of supervision is needed mentoring the employee such that they absorb both the organizational culture and the value of empowerment Removing barriers to empowerment present in the organizational structure ensuring that appropriate resources are available for the employee, or ensuring that the employee has the appropriate skills to obtain needed resources providing support for the continued empowerment of the employee And sharing information about the employee's and the organization's effectiveness.

The Value of Vision


The value of providing a compelling vision of an empowered workplace should not be underestimated. Because empowerment is often poorly understood, and usually has not been experienced by employees, it is the vision of what is possible that brings their commitment to it. Vision is perhaps the most visible component of organizational culture; it is through the vision of what is possible that leaders can inspire employees to apply their skills, knowledge, and creativity towards its achievement. Whatever the mind of man can conceive, and believe, it can achieve.

Charismatic leaders understand the power of vision; Thomas and Velthouse (1990) report, "the most important motivational aspect of charismatic/transformational leadership is the heightened intrinsic value of goal accomplishment produced by the articulation of a meaningful vision or mission." Witness President John F. Kennedy's vision of a man on the moon by the end of the decade of the 1960s. Because JFK was able to envision the possible, and to articulate it effectively, he was able to marshal the resources of the entire country to achieve it. There are numerous examples of the importance of providing a vision in the literature. Block (1987) identifies, "Creating a vision of greatness as the first step toward empowerment." Vision provides employees with that sense of "what do we do next" which can inspire creativity; Bowen and Lawler (1995) describe this as, "Awareness of the context." It also allows for employees to not make decisions which are in the direction opposite that of which the leaders of the organization believe is right. On the importance of organizational vision Gandz (1990) indicates, "There needs to be a shared vision lacking buy in to such visions, employees can hardly be expected to be self-directing in their fulfillment." Quinn and Spreitzer (1997) identify, "The first lever" of "organizational characteristics which facilitate employee empowerment is a clear vision and challenge." Blanchard and Bowles (1998) use the term "values" in place of vision. They indicate, "Values guide all plans, decisions and actions." The authors make a distinction between goals and values: "Goals are for the future. Values are now. Goals are set. Values are lived. Goals change. Values are rocks you can count on. Goals get people going. Values sustain the effort." Some other authors indicate that the vision is articulated through the basic values of the organization. At W. L. Gore these basic values are, "1. Try to be fair. 2. Use your freedom to grow. 3. Make your own commitments, and keep them. 4. Consult with other Associates prior to any action that may adversely affect the reputation or financial stability of the company." Within these values is the vision of a growing, profitable concern which has instilled employee empowerment to its core.

The question of what vision to instill is answered by Gandz (1990), "There are many appealing visions such as the provision of excellent customer service, that are the precursors of profit, productivity and market share growth; but they must be articulated as such for them to be compelling. In short, employees must understand and share the vision of the organization if they are too empowered.
Employee empowerment is a term used to express the ways in which non-managerial staff can make autonomous decisions without consulting a boss/manager. These self-willed decisions can be small or large depending upon the degree of power with which the company wishes to invest employees. Employee empowerment can begin with training and converting a whole company to an empowerment model. Conversely it may merely mean giving employees the ability to make some decisions on their own. There are employee empowerment workshops, books and articles. There is even a magazine called Empowerment that can help a company converting to employee driven decision-making. The thinking behind employee empowerment is that it gives power to the individual and thus makes for happier employees. By offering employees choice and participation on a more responsible level, the employees are more invested in their company, and view themselves as a representative of such. For employee empowerment to work successfully, the management team must be truly committed to allowing employees to make decisions. They may wish to define the scope of decisions made. Building decision-making teams is often one of the models used in employeeempowerment, because it allows for managers and workers to contribute ideas toward directing the company. Autocratic managers, who are micromanagers, tend not to be able to utilize employeeempowerment. These types of managers tend to oversee all aspects of others work, and usually will not give up control. A manager dedicated to employee empowerment must be willing to give up control of some aspects of work production. When employees feel as though they have choice and can make direct decisions, this does often lead to a greater feeling of self-worth. In a model where power is closely tied to sense of self, having some power is a valuable thing. An employee who does not feel constantly watched and criticized is more likely to consider work as a positive environment, rather than a negative one. One easy way to begin employee empowerment in the workplace is to install a suggestion box, where workers can make suggestions without fear of punishment or retribution. However, simply placing a suggestion box somewhere is only the first step. Managers must then be willing to read and consider suggestions. They might provide a forum where questions or suggestions receive a response, like a weekly or monthly newsletter. In addition, managers can hold a once monthly meeting open to employees where all suggestions are addressed. At least some suggestions have to be approved in order for employees to feel that they are having some impact on their company. Failure to approve or implement any suggestions reinforces that all the power belongs to the managers and not the workers. Employeeempowerment of any form can only work when managers are willing to be open to new ideas and strategies. If no such willingness exists, employee empowerment is likely to be non-existent.

Employee Empowerment
will increase with six sigma deployment.

Employee Empowerment.
Employee empowerment is a two sided coin. For employees to be empowered the management leadership must want and believe that employee empowerment makes good business sense and employees must act. Let us be clear about one thing immediately, employee empowerment does not mean that
management no longer has the responsibility to lead the organization and is not responsible for performance. If anything the opposite is true. Stronger leadership and accountability is demanded in an organization that seeks to empower employees. This starts with the executive leadership, through all management levels and includes front line supervisors. It is only when the entire organization is willing to work as a team that the real benefits of employee empowerment are realized. For an organization to practice and foster employee empowerment the management must trust and communicate with employees. Employee communication is one of the strongest signs of employee empowerment. Honest and repeated communication from elements of the strategic plan, key performance indicators, financial performance, down to daily decision making. If an organization has not be actively cultivating employee empowerment, it may take considerable time and effort before employees start to respond. Often the first efforts and communications are met with employee derision and mockery. Those who are only interested in trying the latest management fad will give up when met with this response. A good rule of thumb for communications to employees is to enumerate what management considers adequate and then multiple by a factor of ten. When considering employee understanding and acceptance of decisions consider how long it takes for the management team to discuss and then make a decision. Allow several multiples of this time for employees to think about the issue. For management wanting employee empowerment the evidence will not come across the board with wide spread acceptance. A small number will accept the invitation to become more involved, say 3-5 per cent. The rest will be watching every move to see what happens. Every communication, decision and action by management will be viewed as either supporting a move to employee empowerment or not. Probably nothing demonstrates the commitment or lack of commitment to employee empowerment more than promotions and selection for leadership positions. Employees know those that attempt to shine up while

dumping down. For an organization to enjoy the returns from employee empowerment the leadership must diligently work to create the work environment where it is obvious to all that employee empowerment is desired, wanted and cultivated. Managements responsibility is to create the environment for employee empowerment. When organizational leadership has started to take actions to encourage employee empowerment it is then up to the employees to decided if they wish to take advantage of the opportunity or not. It is not unusual for only a small minority to accept the challenge initially. Also it is very likely that some fraction will never respond. It is the large middle group that must be convinced to practice employee empowerment. It is our conviction that most organizations have exactly the level of employee empowerment the management wants. This is demonstrated by the amount of communications, level of training provided employees, opportunities for personal growth, the solicitation and implementation of ideas, the recognition and reward system, promotion and advancement criteria, and uncountable little signals from management that demonstrate whether employees are valued or not. When Six Sigma is deployed in an organization employees have numerous opportunities to demonstrate that they are empowered. Unless there is employee motivation to accept and act on the opportunities little will change. Employee empowerment is evidenced by working with a six sigma project team to understand the changes coming out of the project. Being a participant using improvements found by others is a form of empowerment. Employee can demonstrate empowerment by suggesting areas or processes that might be candidates for a six sigma project. Part of employee empowerment is the recognition by management that often people who most know of pressing needs for improvement are those who have to work in the process. Employee empowerment can take the form of being asked to bring expert knowledge to six sigma projects. Even if not a full time member of the project team the fact that competence and first hand experience are valued and an employee is willing to help demonstrates a level of empowerment. The employee can volunteer to serve on a project team as a Green Belt. This usually means that the employee has some subject matter expertise in the process scoped for a project. By completing the Green Belt training the employees will learn the Fundamental Improvement tools and will learn how to use the Define Measure Analyze Improve and Control steps as part of problem solving. With this additional skill sets the empowerment of the employee is increased, they are

able to work more effectively and efficiently in solving problems and providing potential solutions. Employees can make it know that they would like to become Black Belts. This form of employee empowerment assumes that the employee has the necessary skills and ability to complete the Black Belt training. Usually this means a college level education with comfort in mathematics and if not some statistical understanding a willingness to learn. One of the strongest signs from employees is when they take the lead to advance their skills and knowledge with education and training either provided by the organization or out side the organization. Management has the obligation to create the environment that fosters employee empowerment, employees have the duty to accept the opportunity and demonstrate they are willing and capable.

Top 10 Principles of Employee Empowerment


Empower Employees - Right - to Ensure Success and Progress
By Susan M. Heathfield, About.com Guide

See More About: delegation leadership styles employee involvement employee empowerment management effectiveness The Credo of an Empowering Manager Looking for real management advice about people? Your goal is to create a work environment in which people are empowered, productive, contributing, and happy. Don't hobble them by limiting their tools or information. Trust them to do the right thing. Get out of their way and watch them catch fire. These are the ten most important principles for managing people in a way that reinforcesemployee empowerment, accomplishment, and contribution. These management actions enable both the people who work with you and the people who report to you to soar. 1. Demonstrate That You Value People

Pando Hall / Getty Images

Your regard for people shines through in all of your actions and words. Your facial expression, your body language, and your words express what you are thinking about the people who report to you. Your goal is to demonstrate your appreciation for each person's unique value. No matter how an employee is performing on his or her current task, your value for the employee as a human being should never falter and always be visible. More about communication and value: Listen With Your Eyes: Tips for Understanding Nonverbal Communication Interpersonal Communication Dynamics You Can Make Their Day: Ten Tips for the Leader

2. Share Leadership Vision

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Help people feel that they are part of something bigger than themselves and their individual job. Do this by making sure they know and have access to the organization's overall mission, vision, and strategic plans. More about vision:

Build a Strategic Framework: Mission Statement, Vision, Values ... Leadership Vision

3. Share Goals and Direction

Jacob Wackerhausen

Share the most important goals and direction for your group. Where possible, either make progress on goals measurable and observable, or ascertain that you have shared your picture of a positive outcome with the people responsible for accomplishing the results. If you share a picture and share meaning, you have agreed upon what constitutes a successful and acceptable deliverable. Empowered employees can then chart their course without close supervision. More about goals and direction: Beyond Traditional Smart Goals The Darker Side of Goal Setting: Why Goal Setting Fails ... 4. Trust People

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Trust the intentions of people to do the right thing, make the right decision, and make choices that, while maybe not exactly what you would decide, still work. When employees receive clear expectationsfrom their manager, they relax and trust you. They focus their energy on accomplishing, not on wondering, worrying, and second-guessing. More about trust: Trust Rules: The Most Important Secret About Trust Top Five Ways to Destroy Trust Inspirational Quotes: Trust and Trustworthiness 5. Provide Information for Decision Making

Dean Sanderson

Make certain that you have given people, or made sure that they have access to, all of the information they need to make thoughtful decisions.

More about decision making:

Preventing Predictable Decision Making Errors How to Involve Employees in Decision Making

6. Delegate Authority and Impact Opportunities, Not Just More Work

Image Coypright Jacob Wackerhausen

Don't just delegate the drudge work; delegate some of the fun stuff, too. You know, delegate the important meetings, the committee memberships that influence product development and decision making, and the projects that people and customers notice. The employee will grow and develop new skills. Your plate will be less full so you can concentrate on contribution. Your reporting staff will gratefully shine - and so will you. More about delegation:

How and When to Empower People Tips for Effective Delegation Why Employees Don't Do What You Want Them to Do Play Well With Others: Develop Effective Work Relationships

7. Provide Frequent Feedback

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Provide frequent feedback so that people know how they are doing. Sometimes, the purpose of feedback is reward and recognition as well as improvement coaching. People deserve your constructive feedback, too, so they can continue to develop their knowledge and skills. More about feedback:

How To Provide Feedback That Has an Impact Performance Management: You Get What You Request and Reward Coaching for Improved Performance

8. Solve Problems: Don't Pinpoint Problem People

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When a problem occurs, ask what is wrong with the work system that caused the people to fail, not what is wrong with the people. Worst case response to problems? Seek to identify and punish the guilty. (Thank you, Dr. Deming.)

More about problem solving:

Why Employees Don't Do What You Want Them to Do Fight for What's Right: Ten Tips to Encourage Meaningful Conflict

9. Listen to Learn and Ask Questions to Provide Guidance

Steve Cole

Provide a space in which people will communicate by listening to them and asking them questions. Guide by asking questions, not by telling grown up people what to do. People generally know the right answers if they have the opportunity to produce them. When an employee brings you a problem to solve, ask, "what do you think you should do to solve this problem?" Or, ask, "what action steps do you recommend?" Employees can demonstrate what they know and grow in the process. Eventually, you will feel comfortable telling the employee that he or she need not ask you about similar situations. You trust their judgment. More about listening and asking questions: Communication Success Tips: Listen to Understand Communication Success Tips: Listen With Full Attention 10. Help Employees Feel Rewarded and Recognized for Empowered Behavior

Copyright Lisa Gagne

When employees feel under-compensated, under-titled for the responsibilities they take on, under-noticed, under-praised, and under-appreciated, dont expect results from employee empowerment. The basic needs of employees must feel met for employees to give you their discretionary energy, that extra effort that people voluntarily invest in work. For successful employee empowerment, recognition plays a significant role. More about employee reward and recognition for empowerment: The Power of Positive Employee Recognition What Employees Want From Work: Employee Motivation Employee Recognition Rocks: Kick Employee Recognition Up a Notch

Employee Empowerment
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8 EMPLOYEE EMPOWERMENT : Employee Empowerment if we elaborate the term giving powers to employee.empower the employee for various tasks and activities of their job.To empower means to enable, to allow or to permit, and can be conceived as both self-initiated and initiated by others. Empowerment is the process of enabling employees to set their own work-related goals, make decisions and solve problems with in their spheres of responsibility and authority. An important part of empowerment is the definition of spheres of responsibility and authority by management. Empowerment allows people, individually and in groups, to use their talents and knowledge to make decisions that affect their work. People are held accountable for the results produced by others, whose formal role gives them the right to command but who lack informal influence, access to resources, outside status, sponsorship, or mobility prospects, are rendered powerless in the organization. Empowerment is nor a programme. It is a culture change. Empowerment is the process of enabling or authorizing an individual to think, behave, and take action, and control work and decision-making in autonomous ways. It is the state of feeling self-empowered to take control of ones own destiny.

Empowerment has become necessary due to the following reasons: 1.Time to respond is much shorter today. 2.First line employees must make many decisions. 3. There is great-untapped potential. 4.Employees feel much more control over their lives. 5. Empowered people do not feel like victims.

Empowerment is the process coming to feel and behave as if one is in power (autonomy and control) and to feel as if he/she owned the firm. Empowerment is the process of sharing power with employees. Employee Empowerment predominantly about encouraging front- line staff to solve customer problems on the spot, without constant recourse to management approval. Employee Empowerment refers to management strategies for sharing decision- making power. Empowerment is giving subordinates the resources, both psychological and technical, to discover the varieties of power they themselves have and/ or accumulated, therefore which they can use on anothers behalf. Empowerment is a process of risk taking and personal growth; it is the creation of work environment, which allows each individual to work his highest capacity. An empowered

workplace is a safe climate for employees to work together with freedom to take initiative, to create, to solve problems, and to assume the responsibility of completing the task. Empowerment refers to processes that giving employees the authority to decide and act on their own initiatives, so that the added responsibility and authority is moved to the lowest possible in the organization. It allows the employees to assume both managerial and staff responsibilities. For employee empowerment to work successfully, the management team must be truly committed to allowing employees to make decisions. They may wish to define the scope of decisions made. Building decision-making teams is often one of the models used in employee empowerment, because it allows for managers and workers to contribute ideas toward directing the company.

Employee empowerment is a two sided coin. For employees to be empowered the management leadership must want and believe that employee empowerment makes good business sense and employees must act. Let us be clear about one thing immediately, employee empowerment does not mean that management no longer has the responsibility to lead the organization and is not responsible for performance. If anything the opposite is true. Stronger leadership and accountability is demanded in an organization that seeks to empower employees. This starts with the executive leadership, through all management levels and includes front line supervisors. It is only when the entire organization is willing to work as a team that the real benefits of employee empowerment are realized. For an organization to practice and foster employee empowerment the management must trust and communicate with employees. Employee communication is one of the strongest signs of employee empowerment. Honest and repeated communication from elements of the strategic plan, key performance indicators, financial performance, down to daily decision making. If an organization has not been actively cultivating employee empowerment, it may take considerable time and effort before employees start to respond. Often the first efforts and communications are met with employee derision and mockery. Those who are only interested in trying the latest management fad will give up when met with this response. A good rule of thumb for communications to employees is to enumerate what management considers adequate and then multiple by a factor of ten. When considering employee understanding and acceptance of decisions consider how long it takes for the management team to discuss and then make a decision. Allow several multiples of this time for employees to think about the issue.

For management wanting employee empowerment the evidence will not come across the board with wide spread acceptance. A small number will accept the invitation to become more involved, say 3-5 per cent. The rest will be watching every move to see what happens. Every communication, decision and action by management will be viewed as either supporting a move to employee empowerment or not. Probably nothing demonstrates the commitment or lack of commitment to employee empowerment more than promotions and selection for leadership positions. Employees know those that attempt to shine up while dumping down. For an organization to enjoy the returns from employee empowerment the leadership must diligently work to create the work environment where it is obvious to all that employee

empowerment is desired, wanted and cultivated. Managements responsibility is to create the environment for employee empowerment. When organizational leadership has started to take actions to encourage employee empowerment it is then up to the employees to decided if they wish to take advantage of the opportunity or not. It is not unusual for only a small minority to accept the challenge initially. Also it is very likely that some fraction will never respond. It is the large middle group that must be convinced to practice employee empowerment. It is our conviction that most organizations have exactly the level of employee empowerment the management wants. This is demonstrated by the amount of communications, level of training provided employees, opportunities for personal growth, the solicitation and implementation of ideas, the recognition and reward system, promotion and advancement criteria, and uncountable little signals from management that demonstrate whether employees are valued or not.

When Six Sigma is deployed in an organization employees have numerous opportunities to demonstrate that they are empowered. Unless there is employee motivation to accept and act on the opportunities little will change. Employee empowerment is evidenced by working with a six sigma project team to understand the changes coming out of the project. Being a participant using improvements found by others is a form of empowerment. Employee can demonstrate empowerment by suggesting areas or processes that might be candidates for a six sigma project. Part of employee empowerment is the recognition by management that often people who most know of pressing needs for improvement are those who have to work in the process. Employee empowerment can take the form of being asked to bring expert knowledge to six sigma projects. Even if not a full time member of the project team the fact that competence and first hand experience are valued and an employee is willing to help demonstrates a level of empowerment. The employee can volunteer to serve on a project team as a Green Belt. This usually means that the employee has some subject matter expertise in the process scoped for a project. By completing the Green Belt training the employees will learn the Fundamental Improvement tools and will learn how to use the Define Measure Analyze Improve and Control steps as part of problem solving. With this additional skill sets the empowerment of the employee is increased, they are able to work more effectively and efficiently in solving problems and providing potential solutions.

Employees can make it know that they would like to become Black Belts. This form of employee empowerment assumes that the employee has the necessary skills and ability to complete the Black Belt training. Usually this means a college level education with comfort in mathematics and if not some statistical understanding a willingness to learn. One of the strongest signs from employees is when they take the lead to advance their skills and knowledge with education and training either provided by the organization or out side the organization.

Management has the obligation to create the environment that fosters employee empowerment, employees have the duty to accept the opportunity and demonstrate they are willing and capable. Considering the nature of service delivery and particularly intangible-dominant services, employee empowerment becomes a very important issue to organizations producing services. In that, the customers and the employees are, engaged simultaneously in the production of the service. This inseparability is what is considered by the organization in choosing how best to serve its customers, either by the traditional method or through the empowerment approach. The inability of the management to control the service encounter makes the employees responsible for the quality of service delivered to the customers. In order for the management to trust that the employees are successful in dealing with their customers, the management has to give the employees the authority and necessary support to succeed at it, which is referred to as employee empowerment. The practice of which can directly affect the quality of services delivered, and customer satisfaction.

PRE-REQUISITES FOR EMPLOYEE EMPOWERMENT Employee empowerment provides people the responsibility and authority to make decisions. Empowerment frequently results in greater commitment and cooperation; creative ideas and solutions; and greater ownership from employees. Creating an empowered workforce is a great to increase organizational effectiveness and success. Empowerment works they are given the necessary recourses, property trained and managed. Then only they will be able to successfully perform and make effective decisions. Employee empowerment requires the following pre requisites: 1.INVOLVEMENT: Employees feel more committed to the organization when they are involved in the decision making process. 2.QUICK DECISION-MAKING: Employees sometimes need on the spot decisions for the benefit of the organization. Employees work say in customer service need to be able to quickly respond to customers need and problems without having constantly go up the chain of command. 3.SOLVING COMPLEX PROBLEMS: Employees directly involved with a problem can better determine the optimal solution. For example, a work group can figure out how to re-engineer its work process far better than employees/managers that do not directly work on the process/project.

TYPES OF EMPOWERMENT The types of empowerment are depicted below:

Fig a: TYPES OF EMPOWERMENT

STRUCTURED EMPOWERMENT: It includes close control, formal; sets out clear boundaries; clear rules passed on through training. FLEXIBLE EMPOWERMENT: It includes certain boundaries set; expecting employees to use their experience/common sense to make decision; guidelines rather than rules.

Empowerment Continuum Empowerment efforts have gained widespread attention for their ability to make organizations more efficient and productive. A skill is an ability to translate knowledge into action that results in a desired performance. There are three categories of skill viz. technical skill, human skill and conceptual skill. By giving power it gives responsibility to employees without extra reward and organizations get a cost saving from de-layering management. The empowerment continuum is depicted below: What are some of the common myths about empowerment? Everybodys doing it. Its easy. Every manager wants empowered employees. Every employee wants to be empowered. All the manager needs to do is leave the empowered employees alone.

Guidelines for effective employee empowerment Select the right managers. Choose the right employees. Provide training. Offer guidance. Hold everyone accountable. Build trust. Focus on relationships. Stress organizational values.

Transform mistakes into opportunities. Reward and recognize. Share authority instead of giving it up. Encourage dissent. Give it time. Accept increased turnover. Share information. Realize that empowerment has its limitations. Watch for mixed messages. Face your own ambivalence Involve employees in decision-making. Be prepared for increased variation.

Benefit of empowerment The major benefits are employee empowerments are as under: 1. Having an employee empowerment effort will help an organization by improving individual self-esteem, self-efficacy, and other behaviors. The investment in the workforce will yield direct cost saving for the organization- as well as improved morale of employees. 2. Employee empowerment helps in getting individuals to be more self-reliant. However, the critical difference is the ability of this process to enable employees to take control of their responsibilities, better utilizes exiting resources and makes wiser decisions.

Barriers to empowerment Empowerment can fail for any one of several reasons: * The manager's fear of losing power. * Pressure from the manager's boss to be on top of all details. * Rationalization that employees are not ready. * Fear of losing control reduces empowerment. * The feeling that "Only I can make the right decisions". * Fear of having nothing to do...being redundant or having no purpose. * Fear of losing face or status. * Not accepting that subordinates are more knowledgeable or better placed to make some decisions. * Lack of support from the organization's culture - demands for more centralized decision making. * Preaching the value of making mistakes while still punishing them. * Not providing clear authority or boundaries.

Top 10 Principles of Employee Empowerment The Credo of an Empowering Manager These are the ten most important principles for managing people in a way that reinforces employee empowerment, accomplishment, and contribution. These management actions enable both the people who work with you and the people who report to you to soar. 1. Demonstrate You Value People Your regard for people shines through in all of your actions and words. Your facial expression, your body language, and your words express what you are thinking about the people who report to you. Your goal is to demonstrate your appreciation for each person's unique value. No matter how an employee is performing on their current task, your value for the employee as a human being should never falter and always be visible. 2. Share Leadership Vision Help people feel that they are part of something bigger than themselves and their individual job. Do this by making sure they know and have access to the organization's overall mission, vision, and strategic plans. 3. Share Goals and Direction Share the most important goals and direction for your group. Where possible, either make progress on goals measurable and observable, or ascertain that you have shared your picture of a positive outcome with the people responsible for accomplishing the results. 4. Trust People Trust the intentions of people to do the right thing, make the right decision, and make choices that, while maybe not exactly what you would decide, still work. 5. Provide Information for Decision Making Make certain that you have given people, or made sure that they have access to, all of the information they need to make thoughtful decisions.

6. Delegate Authority and Impact Opportunities, Not Just More Work Dont just delegates the drudge work; delegate some of the fun stuff, too. You know, delegate the important meetings, the committee memberships that influence product development and decision making, and the projects that people and customers notice. The employee will grow and develop new skills. Your plate will be less full so you can concentrate on contribution. Your reporting staff will gratefully shine - and so will you. 7. Provide Frequent Feedback Provide frequent feedback so that people know how they are doing. Sometimes, the purpose of feedback is reward and recognition. People deserve your constructive feedback, too, so they can continue to develop their knowledge and skills. 8. Solve Problems: Don't Pinpoint Problem People

When a problem occurs, ask what is wrong with the work system that caused the people to fail, not what is wrong with the people. Worst case response to problems? Seek to identify and punish the guilty. (Thank you, Dr. Deming.) 9. Listen to Learn and Ask Questions to Provide Guidance Provide a space in which people will communicate by listening to them and asking them questions. Guide by asking questions, not by telling grown up people what to do. People generally know the right answers if they have the opportunity to produce them. 10. Help Employees Feel Rewarded and Recognized for Empowered Behavior When employees feel under-compensated, under-titled for the responsibilities they take on, under-noticed, under-praised, and under-appreciated, dont expect results from employee empowerment.

Empowering Employees to Get Results Step 1: --Decentralizing Decision making Power Step 2: --Hold All Employees Accountable for Results Step 3: --Giving the Employees Tools they need to do Their--Jobs Step 4: --Enhancing the Quality of Work life Step 6: Exerting Leadership