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Corporate culture reflects the values, vision and leadership style of a given company. Levels of trust between employee and employer differ from culture to culture. Encouraging employees to make decisions, providing an environment of open communication and acceptance of new ideas defines a culture based on empowerment. Companies that offer and nurture such an atmosphere can benefit in a variety of ways ranging from a stable workforce to a healthy bottom line.
Designing empowerment into the company culture is not only a smart management strategy, it drives up employee satisfaction. Jupiter Networks, a technology company headquartered in Sunnyvale, California was ranked number six out of 125 in the "Best Places to Work in Silicon Valley" survey sponsored by the "San Jose/Silicon Valley Business Journal." Scores were based on employee responses to a 10-topic questionnaire. One of the factors responsible for the high rating attained by Jupiter is people practices. Empowering people is part of the high tech firm’s cultural mission.
Delegating power to employees contributes to creating an atmosphere of contentment and honor. Companies noted for this leadership style attract like minded individuals who take pride not only in joining the organization but to showing loyalty by remaining on the team. Credited with granting all employees input into decision making, McCormick and Company reports a voluntary turnover rate of only 3 percent.
Creating an atmosphere of empowerment is a leadership task driven by management. Once employees are fully engaged in decision-making and taking action, management can profit. Paul Craig, sales manager of Image Source, an authorized Xerox sales agency recognizes the benefits. Craig believes that, “Especially in today's knowledge driven economy, employee empowerment is critical to success. If you want the real benefits of your employees, you must free them to make decisions. In turn, this frees management to focus on larger strategic goals and initiatives."
Customer Service Improves
Armed with knowledge and a specific level of authority, employees can solve problems and better service customers. "When employees are invited to participate in the decisions surrounding how the work is done, they are more engaged and excited about the outcome,” states Irma Parone, Sr. VP, Florida Regional Manager at Weiser Security Services, Inc. Parone echoes the Weiser philosophy that empowered employees make it happen.
In his book, “Outstanding!: 47 Ways to Make Your Organization Exceptional,” John G. Miller states simply that people come to work to succeed, not to fail. Success strategies, such as empowering employees to win can impact the bottom line. Gary Kelly, CEO of Southwest Airlines, a company built on employee trust, believes that SWA employees are the company’s “single greatest strength and most enduring long term competitive advantage.”
Jan Simon is a career and life coach with more than 20 years of experience in corporate human resources. She holds a bachelor's degree from Central Michigan University. Simon enjoys writing career articles and is a columnist for the CV Weekly. She also publishes a weekly blog called Life on the Sunny Side.