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Team Empowerment: Building a strong team and setting them up for success

Team empowerment is a powerful tool that could transform your business. The road to empowerment can be achieved in many different ways, but a big part of it deals with HR and data management. By streamlining HR processes and making your employees more involved with the processes, you can motivate and engage your employees much better.

What is Team Empowerment?

The key thing to understand about team empowerment is that you cannot give it to people. It’s more of a process of creating the right conditions at the workplace, allowing team members to feel empowered and to take responsibility. 

Just as you can’t forcefully motivate someone, empowering is about cultivating and nurturing employees in a way that helps them feel empowered. 

So what does empowerment mean? It’s typically linked with positive experiences such as job satisfaction, task performance and productivity, and commitment to a business. When your employees are empowered at work, they feel like they have control over their work. They believe they can impact their colleagues and the team’s outcome. 

Why is employee empowerment important for an organization?

The business world is a place full of new concepts and ideas. When you’re trying to juggle the complex world, things like employee empowerment may not seem like the most important thing. But you shouldn’t overlook the power of empowerment. 

According to a Harvard Business study, employee empowerment leads to trust. Empowered employees are more likely to have faith in employers that enable their empowerment. Interestingly, the study found that empowerment had a more comprehensive impact on Eastern cultures compared to Western counterparts. Therefore, for an organization in the UAE, it can be vital to focus on team empowerment. 

The benefits of team empowerment

Better trust relationships between employers and employees are essential. But there are many other benefits to employee empowerment. 

Effective team empowerment can:

  • Motivate your employees, which in turn can lead to higher job satisfaction and employee engagement.
  • Stimulate creativity and innovation since employees feel more invested in their job. 
  • Improve productivity as employees show more initiative and feel part of the company’s vision.

Ultimately, an organization can improve its bottom line. Studies have shown that motivated workers can be up to 21% more profitable compared to disengaged employees. Building a solid team will not only set your employees up for success, but it will also guarantee your business grows as well!

Empowering the employee through data management

Team empowerment is all about engaging the employee to be more involved with the workplace. One of the best ways to do this is by allowing your staff to manage their essential HR data. We’re talking about things like salary details, holidays, employment benefits and health insurance information. Being on top of the data will empower the employee and create more trust, as they know these things aren’t just taken care of  by the faceless HR department. 

There are four key elements to use when trying to achieve team empowerment due to data management. These are: 

1. Advanced technology

Current estimates suggest that more than 50% of an HR department’s time is dedicated to essential file maintenance and responding to basic questions regarding company benefits. And part of the reason for the extended amount of time is the amount of effort required to reach critical pieces of data within spreadsheet-based solutions. Overall, this approach lacks efficiency and is relatively antiquated when compared to what is available today.

By changing your HR department’s current solution to something more robust, you can implement new solutions to help HR professionals use their time on more important tasks while ensuring employee data is appropriately managed. And along the way, you can make employees feel more empowered by their employers since some of these changes are in their hands.

2. Fast File Creation

Many businesses begin a new employee’s first day by having them complete a set of forms for input into the more extensive HR system. Then, HR professionals have to enter the data into the program to meet the files. However, there is an alternative to this otherwise tedious process.

Instead of having the HR office input all new employee information, email invitations can be sent to new employees prompting them to complete the data themselves. Online or digital forms replace traditional paper variants, and the information is automatically transferred into the correct file. Generally, this process requires no more of the new employee’s time than would otherwise be necessary, and it completely eliminates the burden on HR professionals.

3. More Efficient File Updates

Whether it is upcoming document expirations or the normal changes brought about through regular life events, it is prudent to have employee files revised on a regular basis to ensure accuracy. While the old way often involved contacting employees, arranging a time for document reviews and form updates, and data entry on the part of HR professionals, new software solutions streamline the process. Employees can be notified by email prior to expiration dates to ensure further information is added. Additionally, regular reminders to review pertinent details and make required updates can also be provided.

4. Better Benefits Administration

The ability for employees to manage their own basic file updates can be extended to benefits administration as well, including to their group health insurance coverage. When an employee adds a family member, that data can be entered through a dedicated web portal or through a convenient health insurance app.

It also provides a method for employees to locate details about their plans whether they are in the office, at home or on-the-go. Now, most employee questions regarding coverage limits, plan costs, and locating an in-network provider are all available in centralized locations for ease of management and simplified use.

How to empower your teams?

Focusing on the four elements of data management can empower individual employees and engage them more effectively. There are a few other best practices your organisation should be aware of if you want to improve team empowerment. 

Show their feedback matters

Your business collects feedback from customers and uses it to improve its strategies. You should also listen to what your employees have to say and then use the information to adjust your business practices. You want to ask employees regularly about things that are working and those that aren’t. 

When you do this, you also need to follow through with the feedback. Sending surveys is one thing, but it’s crucial to also act on the findings. Make sure you take what employees have to say to heart. 

Recognize achievements

You don’t have to throw bonuses or money at your employees. People are sensitive to incentives, no matter how small they may seem. A day out with the team every blue moon or celebrating employee birthdays with cake and a gift card will make them feel appreciated – even when the going gets tough. Keep up a policy of rewarding, and giving and your employees will soon associate your management with generosity and fairness.

Remember that according to a survey by Hubspot, 78% of employees said being recognized motivates them in their job. Whenever possible, encourage your employees with praise for their hard work – every little bit helps!

Provide opportunities for professional growth

Support your staff through various means to achieve professional growth. You want to make it easier for them to innovate and be productive. 

If your budget can handle it, be prepared to buy the best goods for your employee’s role. For Graphic Designers, that could mean shelling out thousands for Adobe software and the machine to run it. For your Social Media Specialist, invest in software that will help them manage your channels and reach their KPIs. No one wants to feel undervalued or expected to perform at the best of their ability with average and outdated equipment. And that includes good health insurance, too. Investing in a decent plan sends the message to your employers that you care about their welfare.

Make empowerment part of your culture and vision

You should ensure empowerment is at the core of your business culture. You want your office to be a place where people work together towards a common goal. 

A poll by Monster revealed that 20% of respondents left a job due to office rivalry. Competition in the office is inevitable, but some employees take it too far. Make sure incentives are in place for teamwork as well as individual work to discourage a dog-eat-dog environment.

Additionally, minimize open favouritism. Employees that feel their efforts will never beat those of the “preferred” employee will quickly deteriorate. Instead of working hard, they will see their position as a dead-end curtailed by the strong bonds between management and a specific employee. Devoting time in team discussions where everyone is heard and valued will undermine feelings of preference and ensure every employee knows they are on equal footing.

Creating leadership through team empowerment

Team empowerment can lead to business success. You will nurture and attract talent, building a strong sense of community within your business. As we’ve seen, there are many routes to effective team empowerment. But the role of HR and self-service cannot be overstated. 

By simplifying HR processes and empowering employees, your HR professionals can spend less time on menial tasks like updating employee files and concentrate more fully on larger objectives. And this means your business can operate more efficiently, which can help reduce costs and lead to higher levels of productivity. So why wouldn’t you want to empower your employees? Once you make the switch, both your HR and all other team members will thank you for it.

Brian Habibi