Studies and researches prove that employees who are allowed to share their inputs into job design and are given larger accountability often show far greater motivation than the employees who are not allowed these. These ground-breaking ideas are considered forms of employee empowerment.
Employee empowerment is a term that means that the non managerial staff can take decisions without consulting there bosses or managers. The decisions taken by them can be small or major decisions, the intensity is related to the power vested in them by the company. Many companies these days are going this way and training their employees to get their company into the empowerment model. It may also mean that the company is looking forward to give its employees the ability to make decisions on their own.
However, it is important to note that Employee Empowerment is not a right it is a privilege. Individuals need to prove their prowess at the work place when they can be empowered by the managers to take decisions on their own. Also, if the management wants the employee to assume that he/she is empowered it will not happen. They need to make the employees feel empowered. If the employees are not taking the initiative then they are not feeling empowered and the management needs to improvise the strategies to make them feel responsible.
Empowering employees does not make business a democracy. Employees need to understand that management empowers them to do their job responsibly not to do the management’s job.
Pros from the perspective of the employee
Following are the advantages of Employee Empowerment form an employee’s perspective:
- The employees are happier, content and feel responsible.
- Employees start considering work as a positive environment in contrast to a situation where they are being continuously watched and criticized.
- Empowered employees provide better services to the client, as they do not have to wait for the supervisor to take decisions for them.
- The creativeness of the employee now surfaces and is put to full use, which can prove beneficial for the organization.
- The feeling of ownership increases and the employees want to outshine in each task they have been assigned.
- The communication process between the employees and the supervisor becomes easier and hassle free.
- Employee retrenchment is reduced and employees start liking their jobs, as they feel connected to the job.
Pros from the perspective of the supervisor
Following are the advantages of Employee Empowerment form the supervisor’s perspective:
- The pressure on the supervisor is reduced considerably as responsibilities are shared to a great extent.
- Supervisors become open minded and welcome suggestions and ideas from the staff. These ideas can be beneficial for the organization.
- The supervisor can focus on more strategic decision making as they have time on hand.
- Employees start trusting their supervisors and clarity of communication due to empowerment further highlights this trust.
- It is a benefit for the supervisor that due to employee empowerment his/her employees start feeling responsible and work harder. Employee Empowerment is self motivating to a certain extent.
Employee Empowerment and its relation with Theory X and Theory Y style of Management and the decision making process
If the manger follows Theory X style of management then in that case Employee empowerment will not be able to sustain in the organization. As Theory X style is bent towards the authoritative style, it restricts Employee Empowerment. This happens because a manager who works with the Theory X style of management has the constant urge to supervise all the work and be in control always. Where as to be able to practice Employee Empowerment the supervisor/manager needs to let go of this behavior and should allow the staff to take decisions on their own. Basically, the supervisor/manager needs to let go of some power and pass it on to his subordinates.
This is in contrast to the manger who follows Theory Y management. The managers here are open to suggestions and feedback so they allow the subordinates to take decisions and have some power. These managers will have employees who are more motivated and strive towards betterment of both the organization and themselves. They consider that the employees are enjoying their work and employees will have a desire to come forward and accept challenges to show their creativity and ability to take decisions. The chances of productivity increase when employees are allowed to perform to their creative best, without any rules pulling them down.
According to the Theory Y managers, in a congenial environment the employees will perform better and the productivity will increase. Hence, Employee Empowerment is more correlated to the Theory Y style of management.
Shared decision making between the supervisors and the subordinates facilitates better working conditions and better decisions are taken. However, care needs to be taken that the work should not be over delegated. Sometimes in an attempt to reduce their workload the mangers tend to over delegate the work and the decisions that need to be taken by them go hay-wire.
Employee Empowerment in Unionized Environment
In a unionized environment Employee empowerment works best because it allows employees to work in environments that have advanced wages, immense benefits and secure working conditions. Due to Employee Empowerment labor unions took birth and individuals started demanding their rights at the work place. (Heathfield, 2011) Unions feel employee empowerment is an elementary process. It gives them the feeling that they are working in a just and decorous atmosphere, which in turn helps them to improve their life. If it has the advantages then Employee Empowerment in the unionized environment has its disadvantages too. For instance take a look at these situations:
- Employees start feeling they have the right to say ‘no’ to the supervisors. Due to this they may refuse work which needs immediate attention and is top priority for the organization.
- They tend to use Sick time as an entitlement rather than a benefit for them. If denied they may revolt.
- They may even start demanding wages that are way beyond their capabilities and unjustified.
- Apart from the above mentioned instances their can be various other cases too, where there can be a conflict between the managers and the union.
In such cases the employees feel disillusioned and are disheartened. They feel that they are at the mercy of their leader or the manager. Hence, it becomes imperative for the managers and the leaders to solve these issues and work fruitfully, towards the betterment of the organization and the employees, both.
It should be noted that many progressive unions do work towards the goal of employee and organizational upliftment. They believe that had the management been capable there would not have been issues at the work place. They seek better working conditions, fairness and a better process. But while treading the path they forget that they cannot be the ones teaching the mangers. They need to follow rules and instructions.
Employee empowerment is an optimistic tool for the management. It helps the work atmosphere to remain positive by giving the individuals/employees the feeling of happiness, a place where they are heard and praised for their achievements. However, it will only work in an environment where the manager is open minded.
Cortezmeow, Janice. (2011). Understanding Employee Empowerment. Retrieved From http://cortezmeow.hubpages.com/hub/Understanding-Employee-Empowerment
Rogers, Elaine. (2012). Management Styles – Theory X And Theory Y. Retrieved From http://tweakyourbiz.com/management/2012/04/02/management-styles-theory-x-and-theory-y/