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Corner Office: Empowering Employees

by Denise McKnight, CPA
All organizations want happier employees.

While hiring happy people might not be the solution for creating a successful company, cultivating empowered employees is vital. A truly empowered employee is beneficial to both the individual and the company. An empowered employee is continuously learning, increasing productivity, achieving goals, providing a competitive edge and fueling company growth. Though these tools may seem basic, they don’t occur naturally without effort. Discussed below are four ways to successfully develop empowered employees. Remember, communication is the key to success.

Two-way Communication—The manager must provide details on the project to be completed, including motives and outcomes; be clear about deliverables, deadlines and check-in dates; identify what resources are available to assist with project completion; and provide feedback.

Additionally, the employee must listen to details, take notes and speak up if they don’t understand something; provide regular status updates; show their manager that they have things under control. If they hit a stumbling block, use the available resources and talk to a manager to let them know what’s going on.

Delegation—Have faith in your employees to do the work assigned and to be responsible. Delegation is empowering because it will not only make your job easier but also make the job more rewarding. Employees need to earn trust by meeting deadlines and communicating with their manager.

How to best delegate work:

• Explain what it takes to get to the next level in the company.

• Provide a clear road map with timelines and objectives.

• Remember that your team is made up of individuals with different working styles and personalities, tailor your interactions and directions based on this.

Recognition—This is another way to make employees feel empowered. Acknowledge a job well done, whether it is a simple “thank you” or highlighting the employee’s work at a client or staff meeting. That affirmative feeling the employee receives adds goodwill to the manager/employee relationship, as well as instills pride in a job well done. This positive feeling will carry over into the next project.

Build relationships—Your employees are people too. Get to know them—where they live, their goals and interests, and re- member these details. Show them you care by listening and learning about them. A happy employee is a productive employee. Employee empowerment is about developing constructive attitudes and behaviors leading to the successful growth of the employee and employer and creating an environment that promotes mutual respect and reinforcement.

Denise McKnight is a partner at Friedman, LLP.

Published (and copyrighted) in South Jersey Biz, Volume 7, Issue 2 (February, 2017).
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