Monday, June 2, 2014

Empowerment - a tool to enhance retention

I was interviewing a senior professional. She told me that she wants to change the job because she is not empowered. Empowerment has several definitions. Simplified Wiki definition of empowerment is - the power to participate in the decision making process. Interestingly the participant does not make the final decision. Participant only gives an opinion in the decision making process. Even if the result is diagonally opposite to the opinion of the participant, participant feels empowered.

Another interesting insight precipitated when a colleague told me that he has an offer at hand but he does not want to join. His reason was that the new job does not have the similar kind of freedom enjoyed by him in his current job. Further elaboration clarified that people feel empowered when they have freedom to do their own job with minimal interference.
In given context, empowerment in any organization is created in three distinct ways

1.  Structural empowerment: is created by organization ideology and senior management. It primarily depends on Organization Design, Delegation of Authority, Policy framework and Bureaucracy appetite of the organization.

2.   Environmental empowerment:  is created by the middle management. How managers treat their employees; extent of freedom to take routine decisions; intensity of micro management and work practices determine environmental empowerment.

3.  Self-empowerment: is an employee level phenomenon. Employees already have plenty of power, in the wealth of their knowledge and motivation, to do their jobs magnificently. Many a times self-created boundaries and self-doubts restrict employees to feel empowered. Helping employees with their self-doubts creates an empowered organization.
Empowerment score of any organization is a combination of these three elements. Organizations with high empowerment score must showcase their empowerment practices and sensitize their employees, so that Empowerment practices create an exit barrier. For sure, employees do not change jobs only for money. by Harjeet Khanduja publishes HR relevant topics in layman language and redefines conventional concepts in current context without making HR too technical or complicated. The article was published in Knowledge Beans June 2014 edition.