Removing the Roadblocks to Empowerment
When you empower your employees to make decisions while taking care of your customers, the results can be amazing: increased customer loyalty, increased sales, decreased employee turnover, and word-of-mouth advertising that is more credible than anything you could buy. Empowered employees can also save your company money because customer problems will not have to progress up the chain of command in order to be solved. This has the added benefit of freeing up management to address big-picture issues.
According to customer service guru John Tshcohl, there are several roadblocks to overcome in order to develop a truly empowered workforce. The biggest one is fear: Employees fear being fired for making an empowered decision, and employers fear that customers and employees will abuse empowerment. This fear leads to another roadblock: micromanagement. When managers micromanage, they further diminish their employees’ confidence to make even the most basic problem-solving decision.
Tshcohl believes the best antidote for both fear and micromanagement is training. Training tells employees what you want them to do, which reduces the need for micromanaging. Eliminating micromanagement and fully supporting employees’ decisions can eliminate fear on both sides.
Tshcohl identifies lack of recognition as an additional roadblock to empowerment. The more you recognize the empowered decisions and achievements of your employees, he says, the more likely they will be to use their creativity in dealing with situations in the future. The result is employees who are trusted to make decisions that will keep customers—and their money—coming back.