It is a proven fact in business that employees that are empowered to make decisions are, in general, more satisfied with their jobs and less likely to change companies. No one likes feeling that their work is not valued or that their opinions are not welcomed. Often, when you deny your employees a role in the decision making process, this is exactly what they feel even if they don’t verbalize those feelings to you. If an employee does not feel valued they are likely to search for work elsewhere in hopes of becoming a valued employee. How do you empower your employees to make decisions without losing control of the business direction?
The most critical thing to be done when allowing employees to make decisions is to examine processes and carefully decide where there is room for lateral movement. In any place there is some play in deadlines and variable factors there is room for employees to take part in the decision making process. By identifying these areas, and matching them with groups of employees in the correct departments, you will sponsor a feeling of ownership and responsibility that will have very positive long term effects on your business. It could actually prove to be a very comfortable feeling in the event you cannot be at the helm for a time due to reasons beyond your control.
Before you can turn any decisions over to your employees, you will want to establish a process for setting deadlines and for reviewing the decisions taken. In addition you will want to be clear about the chain of command and responsibility for each area of the business. By doing this in advance, you can maintain a smooth transition to the new business model. Once you have allowed employees to begin making decisions you will want to hold regular meetings with employees and supervisors to discuss what is working and what areas still need work. As your employees become more accustomed to the new responsibility they will feel freer to speak up, make suggestions, and provide solutions to problems.
Changing the business model you work under can be a great deal of work at first, but empowering employees to take part in the decision making process can yield great results. Consider employee training – training empowers employees to feel confident in their critical thinking skills and decision making abilities. When your employees are sure of their value to your business and confident in their abilities to perform well they are more content and less likely to look for work at another company.