Empowered employees on the job have better outcomes and results in a more productive work environment.
In the past, the balance of power between an employer and its employees rested firmly with the employer. These days, the companies that are the most successful and profitable are those who shift some of this power to their employees.
Daniel H. Pink published a book entitled ‘Drive’ in which he argued that human motivation is largely intrinsic, and that the keys to motivation are autonomy, mastery and purpose.
In this case autonomy means working on your own terms – having freedom and control over your work; mastery is having the skill and expertise to fulfill your role and the desire to get even better at it and purpose is the feeling of contributing to something larger than yourself – to the bigger picture.
When an employee has feelings of autonomy, mastery and purpose at work, they are more likely to feel empowered and more engaged as a result. And, as Gallup’s recent ‘State of the Global Workplace’ research report has shown, engaged employees make for a much healthier bottom line. The research found that organisations that had an average of 9.3 engaged employees for everyone disengaged employee had 147% higher earnings per share compared to the benchmark in the subsequent year. And those organisations that had an average of 2.6 engaged employees for everyone actively disengaged employee had 2% lower earnings per share compared to the benchmark in the subsequent year 1.
This is because engaged employees are much more likely to apply discretionary effort and they are more productive as a result.
So the logic is simple:
= engaged employees
= greater discretionary effort being applied
= more productive employees
= a more profitable organisation
Perhaps the question that we should be asking instead should be: ‘Why wouldn’t we want to empower our employees?’