How can leaders help employees feel empowered to live their best life and contribute to the company’s higher purpose?
To help employers support their employees in their personal and professional lives, we asked CEOs and business leaders this question for their insight. From starting with a clear vision to adopting company-wide time off, there are several strategies that may help you build a business that empowers employees to live their best lives while supporting the company’s purpose.
Here are 11 ways to empower employees:
1. Start With a Clear Vision
Attracting people who are aligned with the purpose of the company is the best way to help employees feel empowered to contribute to that purpose. From there, leaders need to help their team set goals that will tie their success to living those values and furthering the core purpose in a meaningful way. That way what the employees do each day is fulfilling and moves them toward a bigger picture. Creating that clear vision, with measurable steps of how you can get from where you are to where you want to be, puts the power of living and achieving your best life in your own hands.
— Nicole Spracale, Validide
2. Allow Time for Creativity
Think creatively about how the positions and workstreams can evolve. Allow time for creativity and idea-making. Understand what is most important to your team by asking and then taking action.
— Lauren Bailey, Upward
3. Get on the Same Page
Part of empowering your employees is to ensure our values align, so we are all working toward the same goals. Once you know you’re on the same page, so many aspects of your company fall into place. At our school, our teachers are an extension of our families and create meaningful and lasting impressions on our children’s education for years to come. We make a commitment to our teachers and families built on providing our students a caring environment where they can flourish. The trust we have in this invaluable partnership gives our teachers the space to grow as well!
— Jeanne Kolpek, Cadence Education
4. Focus on Connection and Growth
A business leader focuses on elevating those around them. Leaders, unlike managers, endeavor to cultivate a workplace with a positive culture and inclusive environment that brings the best out of engaged employees. Common unifying goals result when employees experience leadership centered on genuine connections, team growth and interpersonal development.
— Tiger Harris-Webster, Best Companies AZ
5. Get Out of the Way
The natural tendency for leaders is to get in and do something themselves. Delegating doesn’t come naturally. But, in order to empower employees to live their best lives, leaders sometimes need to get out of the way to provide some space for work to be done. Rather than jumping in and disrupting, leaders should aim to be more trusting. By trusting employees to do the job they are hired to do, a company can function better and the purpose can be fulfilled.
— Brett Farmiloe, Markitors
6. Adapt to Different Work Styles
Managers may still be adjusting to hybrid business operations, trying to direct and supervise a team whose members are both in-house and remote. When leaders schedule an excessive number of meetings and check in on their employees a bit too frequently, they can frustrate and hinder the productivity of their more independent team members. Understanding the diverse work styles of your staff enables you to lead teams more effectively. You'll discover who prefers more collaboration and who works more productively with less interaction. By adapting your management techniques to suit their work style, you maximize each employee's strengths and provide opportunities for growth.
— Shahzil Amin, WellBefore
7. Listen to Employee Feedback
It's important for company leaders to always encourage employees to share their ideas and feedback. When employees feel empowered to make suggestions or share new ideas, the business as a whole benefits. Your employees were hired for a reason, so encourage them to always share ways the company can improve or come to leadership with their ideas. You don't want to miss out on an employee's idea with great potential because your employees don't feel empowered or valued enough to speak up.
— Courtney Buhler, SugarLash PRO
8. Offer Additional Opportunities
The first thing to understand is that if an employee feels they’re contributing to the company’s higher purpose, they will feel empowered to perform to the best of their ability. That’s why it’s imperative to keep your employees happy and to regularly utilize their best skill sets. For example, if you have a content writer who is a passionate and capable coder, but you keep them solely in the content department, that’s not the best way to make sure they remain engaged and are fulfilled. Instead, keep an eye out for skills that may be outside of your team’s job descriptions, and offer opportunities for them to use those skills. Offering a continued learning program is also an excellent idea!
— Dylan Fox, AssemblyAI
9. Provide Trust and Empowerment
Nothing undermines a company culture and employee morale quicker than micromanagement. The message we send as leaders to our team is that we don't trust them. This in itself is a failure of leadership. If I have done my job properly, I have selected the correct person for the job. I have spent enough time with them to understand their motivations and capabilities. Therefore, I should be able to give them a project and an end goal and then let them solve the problem in their own way. Whether that is flexibility in schedule or how they choose to approach the problem, give them the tools to succeed and get out of their way. It's incredible what can be accomplished when leaders are confident enough in themselves to do this.
— Steven Brown, DP Electric Inc
10. Adopt Company-Wide Time Off
One way we've empowered employees to live their best life is by providing a "dark week." Essentially, full-time employees with us from quarter 1 can take the week off between Christmas and New Year. This perk serves a number of purposes. First, quarter 4 is historically a very busy one for our organization, and so the extra time off provides much needed rest after the rush. Knowing that rest is coming allows our employees to contribute at their highest level. Second, since the holiday season is a popular time to take days off anyways, the dark week means that employees can spread their PTO more evenly throughout the year. The result is a better work-life balance.
— Michael Alexis, TeamBuilding
11. Show Appreciation and Respect
A big part of feeling empowered is feeling valued. Employees need to feel appreciated for the work that they do in order to feel inspired by company leaders. Otherwise, any motivational advice imparted from company leaders will probably not be taken as seriously by the employees, as it will not seem genuine. Treat your employees with respect first so that they will be open to hearing your deeper insights about life and greater causes.
— Mary Berry, Cosmos Vita
Do you want to learn more about employee empowerment and join a community of motivated and engaged individuals? Check out GCU’s Colangelo College of Business programs, including our Master of Science in Leadership degree. Click on the Request Info button to discover more.
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The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.