It means creating an environment where employees are encouraged to take decision, encouraged to think and encouraged to take actions.
Definition: The process which enables individuals/groups to fully access personal or collective power, authority and influence, and to employ that strength when engaging with other people, institutions or society.
In other words, “Empowerment is not giving people power, people already have plenty of power, in the wealth of their knowledge and motivation, to do their jobs magnificently. We define empowerment as letting this power out.” It encourages people to gain the skills and knowledge that will allow them to overcome obstacles in life or work environment and ultimately, help them develop within themselves or in the society
Benefits of Empowerment:
- Customers get faster response
- Employees are satisfied about their jobs. Today’s employees want to be a part of what is going on and in how to create success for the organization.
Employees interact more with the customer. With the sense control and responsibility, they usually act with more energy and enthusiasm. They can make a difference with a single transaction.
Let’s have an example showing us the meaning of Empowerment and taking actions.
The situation is in a hotel where the guest who waked up early to take an early morning run exercise. He came back to the hotel wanted to buy the morning newspaper.
He went over to the shop that was still closed. Where a stack of newspapers was ready for anyone to take from it.
The Guest picked up one of the newspapers and went over to the Employee on the front desk that was few meters away from the shop.
Guest: can I leave the money for the newspaper with you?
Front desk Employee: no, I don’t have any way to take your money and enter it in to my system.
The guest put the paper down.
Then he walked another short distance and found an employee cleaning windows.
The guest wanted to get a cup of coffee, so he asked the cleaning employee.
Guest: may I ask you where I can get a cup of coffee? While the coffee shop is not opened yet.
Employee: How do you take it?
Guest: Just black is fine
This employee went to the back area and came out with a cup of coffee for this guest.
I will be working around here for the next 20 minutes. When you need anything let me know.
What you think the difference between the two employees?
Same hotel, two employees managed by two different managerial leaders who give them different instructions.
One says “Customer First, Rules Second”, that is the cleaning employee.
And the second says “Rules first, Customer Second”, that is the front desk employee.
Empowering employees by:
- Share Information
Let your employees see the big picture and share it with them, answer their questions and let them understand the organization’s goals.
Most of information needed to be preserved in heads and hands of the team that will support them in better customer service.
- Train and Educate
Show your employees in training sessions the meaning of taking decisions, teach them the meaning of customer service and customer retention using role plays and examples.
- Create Boundaries
Not strict rules, but boundaries.
Allow decisions to be done within the range of boundaries that has been determined as acceptable.
Keep in mind that
Sharing responsibility will not make you lose your power , as you still setting directions , you have the knowledge , you give support , you are providing resources and you still making decisions that others can’t make.
Empowerment is the key to Exceeding the Customer Expectations.