Empowerment can be defined as a process of delegating more authority to employees. Simply saying, employee gets empowered if he is assigned to perform more functions within the framework of own responsibility, i. e. he has impact on own decisions and their outcomes. It is some form of exposing the trust towards employee. Employee empowerment is another form of non-material motivation. In other words, when a person feels that he/she is entrusted to do more than before, so he feels own meaningfulness to the company. Moreover, empowerment is a stage towards work promotion.
Thus, employee gains double zeal to work harder and show better performance. The empowerment can be enhanced through team-building process. The key aspect of employee empowerment is autonomous decision-making. Thus, in order to involve employees in this process, it is necessary to provide effective communication schemes that are able to improve team spirit. Working together on one problem or in one situation, employees feel responsibility for the final success and thus are able and willing to generate more ideas and make different important decisions.
The possible ways to involve employees in decision-making (i. e. contribute to empowerment) are: • Organize special suggestion schemes, similar to brainstorming circles in Japan. Employees can gather together to discuss different problems and suggest the ways out; • To form special work teams that could execute different projects. It is certainly easier to do in services spheres, such as recruitment, advertising, PR etc; • Different improvement events, at which employees could express their vision and suggest new ideas.
The main idea of all those instruments is to gather employees and make them feel they are working on the same goal. The feeling of belonging provokes the feeling of commitment, which enhances employee’s responsibility and stimulates aspirations for better performance. The feeling of commitment is a condition of employee’s empowerment, since a person is interested in working harder and is able to make important decisions.
Team-building, in turn, helps employees to overcome the fear of making faults, since he can rely on support of others. Therefore, team-building is considered to be a crucial element of empowerment process. Team-building can be enhanced by goal setting and strategic planning. The goals are usually discussed and formulated by the entire collective of the organization, so each and every employee is aware of them and know what to aspire to. Then, the mission and vision should be worked out.
The mission and vision are also the reflection of the entire team, not just the top-management. When people develop them, they feel their contribution and feel obliged to confirm to what they have just suggested. Thus, this also develops the team spirit and enhances employees’ involvement. Environmental scanning and strategy formulation can be successfully achieved at a group discussion, where everyone is able to express opinion and then all opinions are summarized and briefly formulated in a short statement.
It is important to notice that when employees participated in the process of strategic planning from the first stages, the implementation of this strategy goes much more smoothly and turns out to be more effective, since employees already gain the spirit of a team, feeling of belonging to one company and the desire to see the results planned. Thus, their empowerment becomes reasonable, since people aspire and are more willing to take important decisions themselves.
When it comes to the final stage of strategic planning process, empowered employees can easily control the process and evaluate the results, including own contribution and own performance. To conclude, it is important to say that empowerment is a a delegation of wider authority to employees, so that the latter are able to impact the decisions and accept responsibility for the final result. Empowerment is a good way of non-material motivation. The empowerment is best achieved through teambuilding activities and effective communication.