In the workplace, the term “empowerment” now takes on more meaning than its original dictionary definition. It denotes a new approach to management that’s more participatory – it’s about engaging with employees. Far from being a fad, empowerment can bring about lasting change in an organization.
Compelled to innovate amid a climate of constant change, organizations must adapt to a new paradigm of management. The days when managers sat in their ivory towers, alone at the helm, are over. We’ve entered a new age of cross-functional management and employee engagement. The challenge is to embed a culture of anticipation and innovation, by stimulating employee knowledge sharing and creativity.
It’s all about empowerment - an artful combination of autonomy and commitment facilitated by trust. Faster, more agile and more engaging, this new management style makes it possible to think “outside the box" by involving employees both as a team, and individually, in projects.
Vision, cohesion and autonomy
The fundamental aim of empowerment is to restore meaning to work, based on a clear vision, mission and set of goals. Additionally, it can foster a team spirit while encouraging initiative and risk-taking.
"Empowerment gives teams greater capacity to take action and make decisions," explains Valérie Gervais, Deputy Director Group Learning & Development at Saint-Gobain. “It also means that everyone – at every level – is responsible for their work, their actions and the results expected by the company.”
For employees, this "power to take action" offers an added incentive and source of satisfaction. According to Milos Pavlis, General Manager of the Construction Industry BU, “Empowering people immediately creates a different company culture. People feel much more engaged and take more joy in what they do. And this is especially true of the younger generation, who expect greater autonomy to perform tasks and make decisions.”