Employee empowerment is "the process of enabling or authorizing an individual to think, behave, take action, and control work and decision making in autonomous ways. It is the state of feeling self-empowered to take control of one's own destiny" (Heathfield, n.d., 1). In other words, it is giving the employees the power and ability to make decisions that affect not only their department but the company as a whole as well. Empowerment has become an increasingly used human resources (HR) buzzword when analyzing the corporate world of today. Empowerment of the employees can increase employee morale, improve company performance, and improve employee relations but it is not an overnight process. All levels of employees, supervisors, and management have to work together and be properly prepared in order to make an empowerment program successful.
Improving Employee Morale
In many corporate organizations, the lower level employees often feel unappreciated and underutilized. Often, employees can feel like just another cog in the machine, destined to do the same thing day after day with all decisions being made by "the powers that be".
When companies adopt an employee empowerment mentality, these feelings can be reduced or even eliminated. Allowing, and even mandating, employees to have a say in company decisions makes them feel important to the operation of the company. Employees want to be heard and they want their opinions to matter. There is no better morale booster for an employee than to see his or her idea become a company policy. When this happens, the employee feels they are no longer just a faceless number; he or she is being recognized as an important contributing part of the company.
Improving Company Performance
Another benefit of employee empowerment programs is usually a noticeable improvement in company performance. There is a simple explanation for this...