Empowerment: definition, origin and benefits

Empowerment: definition, origin and benefits


Employee motivation is a crucial issue for companies. It leads to better productivity which helps to grow the brand. But to stay motivated, employees need to give meaning to their work. L’empowerment puts employees back at the center of the company’s concerns, giving them power and freedom.

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Here is everything there is to know about this type of management: definition, origin of the concept and benefits.

What is empowerment?

Empowerment is an Anglo-Saxon term that is difficult to translate into French. Some translate it as “automation”, “empowerment”, “capacitation” or even “empowerment”. It is a process of emancipation by which power is given to an individual or a group in order to act on the events they face.

Within a company, it is a type of effective management where employees are put back in the center and are granted more power and autonomy. They are thus free to take initiatives and exploit their full power. Empowerment thus provides a professional raison d’être and contributes to creating better working conditions.

Where does the concept of empowerment come from?

This concept was born in the United States at the beginning of the 20th century. It then became popular thanks to the protest movement aimed at equal civil rights for the African-American community, led by Martin Luther King. It is then associated with social progress to fight against inequalities and poverty in favor of individual or collective empowerment.

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It arrived in France, in the business world, in the 90s, following on from participatory management. Indeed, until recently, companies had a vision based on wage productivity that left little room for experimentation. The organizational approach was top-down, which is referred to as “top-down”.

By integrating empowerment into the company, the approach is reversed to become a “bottom-up” model, ie from top to bottom. An approach that is put forward today, because a company must be adaptive, innovative and reactive if it wants to remain competitive.

The concept is characterized by a human vision of it. The organization creates conditions so that each employee can express his power to act in the company, both individually and collectively. Actions in the service of the company’s vision and ambition, which contribute to developing a sense of belonging. It is also a process that generates value for the company. It is based on three principles:

  • the vision: the manager clearly expresses the meaning of the missions to his collaborators with the short and medium term objectives of the company,
  • ownership: the team is motivated and becomes more involved in the project, whether individually or collectively,
  • autonomy: the team becomes autonomous to undertake the tasks. Employees gain new skills, which increases performance.
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More than a type of management, empowerment is a true corporate culture.

Why be interested inempowerment ?

Empowerment brings benefits to both the company and the employees. Even if the traditional management model works in some cases, there is a shift towards collaborative management.

On the salary side, empowerment creates autonomy, a better appropriation of the position, and improves the vision of work. As a result, employees become more motivated and experience better job satisfaction. Empowering its employees therefore becomes a beneficial leadership factor for all stakeholders.

For the company and the manager, theempowerment is also beneficial since it helps to strengthen team cohesion, increase productivity and facilitate decision-making.

The benefits of empowerment for employees

Thanks to the implementation of empowerment, employees have a significant space for autonomy. They have freedom of action and the power to make the decisions they want. Giving employees autonomy means making them understand that they are able to organize their work effectively to achieve the objectives set for them. It’s also sending them the message that they have the skills and the intelligence to do it on their own.

Thus, employees gain self-confidence and feel valued in the eyes of the company. This motivates them to get involved and engage more in their work. Fulfillment is therefore enhanced, as is the quality of life at work.

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In addition, empowerment makes it possible to experiment with the various risks taken in a project to better understand change. They are also less afraid of making mistakes, because they feel supported by the manager and do not fear repercussions on their jobs if they occur. Taking initiative and making better use of talents and skills are encouraged.

The benefits of empowerment for managers

Thanks to empowerment, the manager succeeds in reducing his workload by delegating more to his employees. He is not on the back of his collaborators and lets them evolve in complete autonomy.

Managing through empowerment makes it possible to strengthen the team, because the manager invites employees to participate in the company’s vision. They are thus more concerned and involved in the life of society.

Empowerment is a non-negligible lever to ensure the profitability, sustainability and brand image of the company.

To go further, download this free guide on the quality of life at work and discover the keys to measuring the quality of life at work, design your approach and follow it over the long term.How to measure and improve the quality of life at work

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