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You say you trust your employees: what that really means

I am sure you have heard from leaders, how they say, that we need to empower and trust our employees. But is it really true and how make it happen?

Nowadays when people are choosing what to work for, it is super important that companies stand for what they are declaring. It is common to hear in various organisations, that one of the values that they aspire is people empowerment.

But reality is, when you look deeper, it is hard to find any empowerment. If you really want to be the company that really represents real people empowerment, do these small steps:

  • Give team leaders a freedom to evaluate their people performance, as they think it is right. This does not mean that everybody does their own evaluation system, no no, centralised approach and guidelines are necessary still, just allow them to decide how many people have done extra mile, how many didn't and based on company results provide a budget for bonuses that each and every leader would have to split for the team - eventually they need to work with the team and reach the result. Instead of asking for evaluation marks in advance and stating, that there is fixed amount of people that can be considered as performers.

“If you want your people to feel empowered very carefully look at your processes how they are established and make sure that each role has its decision mandate described and possible to find.”
  • Make sure, that people have actual decision power, so that they would not feel that each more difficult decision need to be done in Board. Describe and communicate each an every role mandate, that indicates in what level of cost, investment, risk tolerance, impact to customers size every person can make a decision. I am sure you have heard about these mandates existing, but have you ever seen it?

  • Setup your project process or any other process in a way, that has reasonable amount of sign off's, which still safeguards the company from something bad to happen, but at the same time do not create an impression, that "i do not need to think about or own anything, because every step is double checked by somebody - this way people stop thinking and awaits instructions in every possible step.

Obviously to make this happen, requires self-organised, responsible people and this may take time to reach. So make a plan and start loose up the control in step by step approach, but be honest about that and never jump into announcements that we trust our people, even if all organisation setup screams differently. People will stop believing faster than you notice.


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