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Want to Increase Productivity and Morale? Empower Employees

July 21, 2014 by Kathryn Carlson

employee motivation small

Workers who feel empowered by their employers are more productive and have higher morale, regardless of their industry.

These are the findings of a new study by lead researcher from the University of Iowa, Scott Seibert. He explains, “Empowerment is an effective approach for improving employee attitudes and work behaviors in a broad range of industries, occupations and geographic regions.”

The article, reported in EHS Today, lists four characteristics of an effective empowerment initiative:

  1. High performance practices: Managers share information, decentralize authority, involve workers in decision-making, provide training opportunities and pay well.
  2. Socio-political support: Managers make their employees feel like a valued part of the organization and encourage employees to recognize each other’s importance.
  3. Leadership: A manager who inspires, provides strong feedback and is a good role model enhances workers’ feelings of competence and helps employees find meaning in their work.
  4. Work design characteristics: Managers encourage training and provide individual workers with challenging work assignments.

“Managers in these studies reported that empowered workers were more innovative and more willing to take the initiative to solve problems on their own,” Seibert said. “Employees said they were more engaged in their work when empowered, that they felt like they had an influence and an impact on the business around them.”

What do you think? Do these initiatives improve team and individual performance, or do results vary in practice?

If you have experienced some of these workplace characteristics, leave a comment and share your insights with the community at the KPA blog.

Posted in: Human Resources Management Tags: Effective, Empowerment, Leadership, Management, Morale, Productivity, Worker