We exist in a time where the pace of change is faster than before. Keeping up with the rapidly changing world means employees need to learn continuously if they are to fulfil their roles and business objectives successfully. Thus, to have a competent and agile workforce, it is essential for organizations to empower, encourage, motivate and invest in continuous learning of its employees.
What is Empowerment?
It is a continual process of ensuring staff has resources, expertise, motivation and are in a conducive environment to fulfil their responsibilities and meet organizational goals. It is also important to note that empowerment unlike micromanaging involves trusting and enabling your staff to think, act and be in control of the work they do.
How to Empower Staff
The most effective way to empower staff is by coaching them to your desired level of competence. Thus, it is an organization’s responsibility to create a culture of continuous learning. How can an organization do this? By identifying opportunities to support its staff to learn from what they do (their experiences), what they are about to do (their intentions), what others have done (history) and what competitors are doing well (standard work).
So, what steps should an organization take to empower its staff through continuous learning?
Coach staff on not only acquiring knowledge but reflecting on their learnings and sharing them.
2. Train Develop robust training to impart knowledge, problem solving skills and increase confidence of your staff. You can do this by either hiring an external expert or by using the services of an in house certified continuous improvement expert. Ideally you want to train all employees from Yellow Belt training for front line staff, Green and Black Belt training for middle management and Master Black Belt training for senior management. Training your staff makes them accountable, responsible, competent and feel valued, thus fostering a culture of continuous improvement within your organization.
To ensure staff are well informed, conduct daily huddle meetings which are open to all, short and detailed enough to save time whilst discussing challenges within their own area and actions to remedy same with accountabilities. Delegating responsibilities e.g. decision making and leading continuous improvement projects is a great way to empower your staff. This will result in them feeling like they are an integral part of the team and increase their motivation thus challenging them to contribute more.