- Employee Empowerment Defined
- Quality Defined
- Why is Quality Important?
- How Does Empowering Employees Lead to Quality?
- How to Empower Your Employees
- Further Readings
- External Links
Employee Empowerment Defined:
Employee empowerment is a relatively new management technique that is less hierarchial and gives employees more autonomy and freedom in their jobs. It enables them to make their own decisions when it comes to their job without having to get permission from upper level management. Empowerment lets the person who is closest to the problem make the critical decisions.
Quality can be defined as meeting or exceeding customer expectations which is one of the key dimensions of customer value. Expectations will vary depending on whether the customer is internal or external.
Why Is Quality Important?
Quality is important because it measures the viability of the organization. Without quality an organization can survive but it can't/won't reach its optimal earning potential. Quality is an important factor to organizations because it means management is better able to compete on both price and quality, yeilding better customer value. Good consistent quality can give your organization a competitive advantage and will lead to lower costs and higher profits. Experts have estimated that the losses from the costs of poor quality range from 20-30% of gross sales for defective and unsatisfactory products. An organization that has poor quality will find its reputation quickly deteriorating and it is very difficult to regain integrity once it has been destroyed.
How Does Empowering Employees Lead To Quality?
Quality starts with engaging the people responsible for processes - the people who know the processes best. How do you engage people? You give them freedom and autonomy in their jobs. You empower them. Employee empowerment is one of the most important concepts in total quality management. Empowerment is the key to motivation and productivity which will result in better quality. It is important that management recognizes the potential of employees to identify and to derive corrective actions to quality problems. Also very important is that by empowering your employees you are giving management more time to spend engaged in visioning, nurturing, broad-based thinking and focusing on quality. By empowering your staff you are creating employees who are friendly, happy, and can cater to the customer's needs more easily which can affect the customer's perception of service quality in a positive way.
How To Empower Your Employees:
Quality is not something that management can mandate or dictate. Here are some tips to empower your employees and gain their commitment to the quality process.
- Control and reward systems must be modified to motivate employees to be quality and customer oriented and to strive for continual improvement.
- Give ownership of quality to employees.
- Listen to their ideas about improvement.
- Encourage them to make more decisions.
- Enable them to perform tasks that are quality related.
- Share information with your employees that will help them perform their job better.
- Realize that empowerment has it limitations.
- Involve employees in decision-making.
- Provide proper training.
- Offer guidance where needed.
- Hold everyone accountable.
- Build trust between managers and employees. This also means hiring people who are trust-worthy.
- Stress organizational values.
- Transform mistakes into opportunities.
- Be patient.
Many companies spend a significant amount of time and money to improve the quality and performance of their processes. Empowering employees to quickly and efficiently solve problems can positively affect the quality and success of the business.
Online glossary, Employee Empowerment. Retrieved February 10, 2008. http://www.prenhall.com/
Susan M. Heathfield, 2008, Employee Empowerment. Retrieved February 10, 2008. http://humanresources.about.com/od/glossary/a/empowerment
1996, Employee Empowerment: A Crucial Ingredient in a Total Quality Management Strategy. Retrieved February 10, 2008. http://www.geocities.com/TimesSquare/1848/org/html
Robert Heller, 2005, Employee Empowerment: Managment Giving Power To the People. Retrieved February 12, 2008. http://www.thinkingmanagers.com/management/employee-empowerment/php
Ritman, Kragewski, Malhotra, Klassen, 2007. Foundations of Operations Management. Pearson Education Inc.
2008. Employee Empowerment As a Management Style. Retrieved February 12, 2008. http://www.isixsigma.com/library/content/c000527.asp