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Employee empowerment is a term used to express the ways in which non-

managerial staff can make autonomous decisions without consulting a
boss/manager. These self-willed decisions can be small or large depending
upon the degree of power with which the company wishes to invest
employees. Employee empowerment can begin with training and converting a
whole company to an empowerment model. Conversely it may merely mean
giving employees the ability to make some decisions on their own.
There are employee empowerment workshops, books and articles. There is
even a magazine called Empowerment that can help a company converting to
employee driven decision-making. The thinking behind employee
empowerment is that it gives power to the individual and thus makes for
happier employees. By offering employees choice and participation on a more
responsible level, the employees are more invested in their company, and view
themselves as a representative of such.

For employee empowerment to work successfully, the management team

must be truly committed to allowing employees to make decisions. They may
wish to define the scope of decisions made. Building decision-making teams is
often one of the models used in employee empowerment, because it allows for
managers and workers to contribute ideas toward directing the company.

Autocratic managers, who are micromanagers, tend not to be able to utilize

employee empowerment. These types of managers tend to oversee all aspects
of others’ work, and usually will not give up control. A manager dedicated to
employee empowerment must be willing to give up control of some aspects of
work production.
When employees feel as though they have choice and can make direct
decisions, this does often lead to a greater feeling of self-worth. In a model
where power is closely tied to sense of self, having some power is a valuable
thing. An employee who does not feel constantly watched and criticized is
more likely to consider work as a positive environment, rather than a
negative one.

One easy way to begin employee empowerment in the workplace is to install a

suggestion box, where workers can make suggestions without fear of
punishment or retribution. However, simply placing a suggestion box
somewhere is only the first step. Managers must then be willing to read and
consider suggestions. They might provide a forum where questions or
suggestions receive a response, like a weekly or monthly newsletter. In
addition, managers can hold a once monthly meeting open to employees
where all suggestions are addressed.

At least some suggestions have to be approved in order for employees to feel

that they are having some impact on their company. Failure to approve or
implement any suggestions reinforces that all the power belongs to the
managers and not the workers. Employee empowerment of any form can only
work when managers are willing to be open to new ideas and strategies. If no
such willingness exists, employee empowerment is likely to be non-existent.

Empowerment means to allow the employee to do his responsibilities in his

own way. Empowered employee become ‘self- directed’ (i.e. his official
doesn’t need to tell him what he has to do and how to do) and ‘self-controlled’
(i.e. he has to control all his activity himself no one will be there to tell him
that weather he is doing it right or not).the empowerment is possible only
when there is a mutual trust between the superior and his subordinates. The
superior has full confidence that the superior will do nothing that is
detrimental to the organization. Similarly the subordinate has confidence that
his superior will support his action or decisions. Thus empowerment may be
define as providing employee at all level the authority and responsibility to
make decisions on there own.

“Empowerment means encouraging and allowing individuals to take
personal responsibility for improving the way they do their jobs and
contribute to the organization goals. It requires the creation of a culture
which both encourages people at all levels to feel that they can make the
differences and help them to acquire confidence and skills to do so.”

Empowerment is different from the delegation of authority. For example

when a father gives his son a money to buy a jeans it a delegation, but if
father gives son a clothing allowance which the son can spend as he wants, it
is empowerment.

Types of empowerment:

INDIVIUAL EMPOWERMENT: it refers to the degree of control exercised by

individual over work setting.

GROUP LEVEL EMPOWERMENT: It refers to the amount of control

exercised by the group as a whole over the work setting.

1. Knowledge workers: since in today time employees are very much
aware of there jobs they know what they have to do so there are not
prepare to accept the old command and control systems. They wanted
to do their work in their own ways.
2. Cut Throat Competition: in order to survive and grow in today
competitive era, organization must meet the need of customers more
effectively. When the customer demand rapid action it is easier to meet
the demand through employee empowerment.
3. Speed and flexibility: growing turbulence of environment requires
quick response which is not possible under the control and command
of organization functioning. Empowerment encourages innovation and
creativity on the part of staff.
4. Globalization: globalization leading to downsizing, delayering and
decentralization. In order to achieve coordination and control in new
market staff must exercise much greater responsibility.
5. Human resource development: empowerment helps to reveal and utilize
untapped potential of employees.
Thus we can say that empowerment helps in developing a flexible,
responsive and adaptive organization.

Employee empowerment at Bhilai steel plant:

The Bhilai steel plant is the torchbearer of the public sector company steel
authority of India limited. With employee strength of around 43000, the
plant emphasizes concern for employee as a core value in seeking to
achieve its mission and vision. The plant has made the empowerment as a
cornerstone for its success. One of the successful hrd interventions has
been creating responsive organization through people (CROP). The
program covered 30000 employees.