While many companies claim to empower their employees and even have company policies that say their employees are empowered in decision-making, some may simply give lip service to the concept. Employee empowerment is hardly a new concept. But what is this empowerment thing? Business advisers have long argued that letting employees use their own judgment to resolve customers issues leads to greater customer satisfaction, loyalty and ultimately, stronger revenues. Why because the customer is happy or satisfied and doesn't leave. Empowerment also has been linked to happier employees who are more likely to stay. Great leaders inspire extraordinary achievements from their employees because they know how to let go and use the employee's logical thinking, creativity, and ingenuity letting them figure out what is best in a situation.
It is pretty well known that while salary and benefits are important to employee retention, job satisfaction may be the most important factor of all. Employees expect to be challenged, recognized, and trusted for their talents. These are simply human needs and desires and employees want to have these. If they don't get it at your company, they will sooner or later move onto another place. Even if they don't leave the moral will drop. A none caring attitude emerges.

Retention is all about people really enjoying being at work, feeling that they and the work matters.. They have to feel needed, wanted, and that they are using their talent. One of the key things that creates employee satisfaction is when a company allows people to take initiative or be creative.

A mistake that a lot of executives make is that they don't really understand that they don't have to have all the answers. That's why you surround yourself with a capable and competent team. A good leader hires people to help compensate for his or her weaknesses. That's right, hires to fill in the gaps. It's not a reflection on the leader at all but instead building a team. No one can do it all.

Sometimes empowerment is confused with delegation. The difference between delegation and empowerment is rather than telling people what to do, you set out the problem and let people figure out what to do.You let them know that it is their project to figure out a solution or to get things done.

Ultimately, empowerment can only work if executives are willing to accept that employees will make mistakes. Those mistakes can cost the company money, but the loss needs to be balanced with the benefits of empowerment, such as employee retention. Employees feel valued and are more likely to stay when their employer is willing to invest in their professional development.

Companies can link empowerment strategies with a coaching/mentoring program, so that mistakes are positioned as learning opportunities that can help employees progress to the next level. In this way the mistake can be caught in most cases without hurting the company or at least easing the hurt.

Training gives employees knowledge and confidence in their ability to make decisions; leaders who micromanage will not bring out the best in their employees. When empowered employees make mistakes, coaching and mentoring, rather than reprimands, are key to transforming error into opportunity by creating a growth experience that ultimately keeps them with the company and elevates them up the corporate ladder.

If we can make employees feel empowered, it makes such a difference when you're not around.. They respond not only appropriately but with passion. They don't just put everything aside and wait for the leader to return. The customers are not put on hold. How nice.

There still has to be a leader. There's going to be a time when you don't feel as an employee you are able to make a decision. However being able to solve the problems of the day gives worth to employees. Leaders also cheer the team on. The more they do this, the more comfortable it becomes, the better they become at it, and the more worthwhile they feel. Plus they become even more of a benefit to the company.

Author's Bio: 

Liz Cosline

Additional Resources covering Team Building can be found at:

Website Directory for Team Building
Articles on Team Building
Products for Team Building
Discussion Board
Liz Cosline, the Official Guide to Team Building