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Employee Empowerment

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Employee Empowerment

Empowerment is the process of enabling or authorizing an individual to think, behaves, take action, and control work and decision making in autonomous ways. Empowerment is the state of feeling self-empowered to take control of one's own destiny. Empowerment comes from the individual. Avoid thinking of it as something that one individual does for another. This is one of the problems organizations have experienced with the concept of empowerment. Empowerment is a core concept of the new management model. Empowerment and ownership are social aspects of organizing that are based on efficacy and initiative, not just on roles and requirements.

Employee empowerment is created by a loosening of the reins by employers and the passing of trust onto employees. This means moving a way from dictating the staff by allowing him or her to access information that he or she was not previously privy to and offering him or her an extended freedom of choice. Empowerment also represents shift away from the traditional relationship between employers and staff to one who is built on emotions. Employees feel more committed to his or her job and employer when the employee empowerment approach is embraced.

By ensuring that perks are relevant for staff and by giving him or her a say in the package he or she will receive, employers can create a genuine feeling of empowerment among employees, rather than a relationship that is superficial and does not reflect what staff truly feel. One such benefit is allowing the staff to work flexibly. Allowing the employees to manage his or her won work-life balance can show an employers' trust in its workforce and this can help employees feel empowered.

Roffey Park's Management agenda 2006 reveals that 56% of managers want to introduce flexible working, which gives employees the opportunity to manage his or her own hours as opposed to being forced to work the standard nine-to-five day.

Claire McCartney said, "Even if you just afford flexibility, not everyone will take it up, but by knowing the flexibility is available employees will go the extra mile."

Home working is one of the most effective ways of imparting trust onto employees, and thus empowering him or her. This is real empowerment because it says, 'I do not need to look over his or her shoulder while he or she is working'.

Employers should ensure that they include benefit options that employees actually want and are prepared to take up. Forward-thinking employers have cottoned on to this concept and have introduced measures such as employee councils or conducting regular staff surveys in order to ensure he or she is involved in the selection process and so will actually value the benefits on offer.

Many organizations are beginning to acknowledge the value in detaching themselves from the benefit decision-making process, and handing the control to the end users, the employees. There is a very strong desire now to involve employees in decision-making either right from the start or as a rubber stamp to ensure what is being introduced will work for them. Some clearways of offering choice to employees are different benefits options and enabling staff to work flexibly there are also more subtle ways of empowering staff and giving them some control over benefits decisions.

In the old-style model for safety programs, top management made and enforced safety rules and employees were expected to follow the rules. One should feel that he or she is an integral part of the program, with a meaningful role in identifying potential safety problems and improving safety.

There are five reasons that employee empowerment efforts fail. These reasons are as follows: 1) No commitment or support. The employer saying they want to empower employees when they do not truly mean it; 2) Misunderstanding what empowerment means. Believing it means having input, when really it means having the ability to make decisions that bring about change; 3) Lack of clarity. Not letting employees know what the boundaries are: what he or she have and do not have the authority to change; 4) Micromanagement. Allowing employees to make decisions, but then requiring that each decision be approved by a higher authority; and 5) Second-guessing- allowing employees to make decisions, but then criticizing him or her or making further changes to improve the results.

Possible ideas that identify opportunities to introduce meaningful ways for employees to create safer environments for themselves and their co-workers are as follows: 1) Implement a formal safety suggestion system, by which employees may report potential hazards and suggest corrective action; 2) Assign employee safety teams the responsibility for identifying and correcting hazards in specific areas; 3) Publicly acknowledge and applaud good safety suggestions and any actions taken by employee to identify hazards and improve safety.

The goal is to create

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