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How to Empower Employees Around the Holidays — And Why You Should

When the holiday season hits, businesses and workplaces can sometimes get especially busy. Even worse, with all the craziness of the season they can fall into a holiday slump. But even if the holidays have thrown people off, you can still empower employees to be balanced and productive. And, in the long run, it’s better for everyone if you do.

So how do you maintain your business’s health and employee consistency? You empower everyone in your workplace to make the schedule changes and project decisions required to reach their end-of-year goals. This empowerment can be a tremendous motivating factor. It also makes everyone feel more fulfilled, helping your workplace genuinely thrive.

Here are a few ways you can make empowerment happen, and a few reasons why you should.

More Freedom

One of the best ways to encourage your employees to be productive and get things done is to offer more freedom with their schedules and hours. Though this may seem like it will let employees slack, it can actually empower them to get more done and fit work in where they can. Additionally, allowing more leeway around remote working can have the same effect.

Self-Determining Performance Goals

Another great way to empower employees to achieve more around the holiday season is by allowing them to set their own performance goals so they can manage their expectations according to their capabilities.

This autonomy allows more leadership opportunities in your workplace, as employees can encourage each other and self-motivate. This way, people can move at their own pace and perhaps achieve even more than you may have anticipated.

Team Meetings and Connection

Some of the best devices to motivate people and empower them as a team offer connection. Meetings, mixers, and team-related activities can bring people together and remind them of the communal spirit your workplace fosters. It doesn’t even have to be all business — some fun perks can go a long way, as satisfied employees tend to work the best.

Regardless of what you put together, remind people they’re a part of a team, and focus on your collective goals — not just individual objectives. In addition to establishing a focus on purpose, this approach enables a motivated workforce.

Recharging

Another excellent reason for why and how to allow some leeway and freedom during the holidays is enabling your employees to recharge and find some balance between their work and personal lives. You may wonder how encouraging employees to take time for themselves results in better outcomes.

The answer is quite simple. When employees have time to recharge, they produce higher-quality work, and they do it more efficiently. They can re-energize themselves, which means they come back with a better work ethic than someone who feels burnt out.

Consistency

Another reason to empower employees is that it helps maintain consistency — both within their work schedules and for your workplace as a whole. While some workplaces get into a holiday slump and then have to ramp up again in the new year, you can remain consistent. This means no slump over the holidays. And, just as critical, there’s no need for a correcting crackdown in January.

Your end-of-year bottom line?

Encourage your employees to find balance and take control of their goals and workplace performance. You’ll see better results during the holidays – and beyond. And by doing so, you’ll create a healthy, consistent work environment full of individuals motivated to get the job done.

 

Johan Godinez

The Owner’s Mindset: How Open Book Leadership Empowers Employees

For employees, what is an owner’s mindset? And how does open book leadership give employees total responsibility over their jobs?

The shockwaves reverberating through our economy as a result of the pandemic aren’t expected to subside anytime soon. The skyrocketing numbers of those laid off, and the businesses shuttering their doors or at grave risk of doing so, has rocked the very foundation of our great entrepreneurial nation.

The long-term impact of all this turmoil creates uncertainty everywhere. From our local neighborhoods and downtowns, to state and federal agencies., to nearly every workplace, no one is immune. As a result, many business leaders are looking for a way to recover by rethinking their businesses and finding new, innovative practices.

Now is our opportunity to rethink how to best manage staff and take maximum advantage of their collective talent. In today’s tumultuous times, it’s both unfair and unwise to leave employees benched on the sidelines worried about whether their jobs are safe. 

We need to change the game by embracing open book leadership. 

The Case for Open Book Leadership

Many tensions exist in business today that could easily be resolved through transparency and financial education. Business owners who have been skeptical about open book leadership – the sharing confidential business information with their employees. Those leaders, however, fail to see that sharing the financial picture of the company – good or bad – doesn’t scare people off. In fact, it eliminates misperceptions and provides an enormous opportunity to get people on board with fixing problems.

To get to better decisions, company leaders need to treat their people like owners. So they can understand the company’s full potential, they need to guide them through the financials. So they can grasp the challenges ahead, they must give them the information needed to let them come up with solutions. Most important, open book leadership gives staff a stake in the outcome. 

The more we teach staff about our company’s financial health, the smarter and more conservative they become with the company’s money. Because they begin to think of it as their money. 

Opening the Books: Our Story

When it comes to financial literacy, we have a huge knowledge gap in our country. In our corporation, we’ve spent more than 40 years closing that gap. Every associate in our corporation is taught how to speak the language of business. We call this open-book leadership system “The Great Game of Business.”

Our end goal has always been to build a business around people who think and act like owners. At every turn, they are taught the tools needed to take control of their destinies. At every opportunity, they are empowered to develop plans that create and protect their jobs and help grow the company.

Within our company, transparency and financial literacy builds a foundation of trust for each of us to stand on going forward. That trust eliminates a fear people many people have: That they can’t understand the business numbers. By conquering that fear, we give our associates the information they need, in a way that makes sense to them, so they can make the best decisions. 

Teach and share the numbers with everyone in the company, and three things happen: 

  1. As a leader, you inspire trust and confidence 
  2. People engage in creating their vision of the future
  3. The entire organization unites around shared goals

Developing a New Language 

Changing the game – by teaching people the game of business – works. Throughout the world, we’ve seen it happen in thousands of companies. Each has created a better future for themselves, their associates, and their communities. 

Our Great Game All-stars, for example, represent 29 companies across 22 industries. Through the pandemic, when lay-offs became commonplace, leadership and employees have worked together to save 3,385 jobs to date. And over the past two years, the average annual profit growth for these companies was 125 percent – or 6-times greater than their industry benchmarks.

Taking The Leap to Open Book Leadership

We understand: Taking that first step might require a giant leap of faith — and a lot of hard work. Just like we’ve seen the undeniable value of adding STEM courses to school curriculums, however; we need to increase financial literacy in the workplace. Our academic institutions, despite several chances to add this human value to their learning models won’t do it. So we businesses leaders must become the teachers. 

Teaching financial literacy requires the same immersive approach that schools take when teaching students a foreign language. We need to speak it all day, every day. And we do that until the words and phrases become routine — and the language becomes commonplace across the entire company. That language crosses departments. It helps us work together. It highlights where we make a difference to each other – something we need now more than ever.

Building a Better Quality of Life 

Teaching people the language of business results in much more than financial success. 

Empowered, informed associates make recommendations that fix real problems. Because they have a say in the company’s direction, they work harder and smarter. Finally, a transparent open book management system gives them the ability to understand what they need to lead a secure and fulfilling life

Opening up the rules of business – providing everyone the information on which to act – may not solve every problem your company faces. But giving staff the insider information formerly reserved for owners alone empowers everyone to take responsibility for their jobs. By understanding the big picture, they gain a sense of pride and ownership. They know their work, and their decisions, make a difference.

Take the leap. Incorporate open book leadership – “The Great Game of Business” – in your operations. Your employees will feel trusted and empowered. Which makes your suddenly transparent business that much stronger – and more ready to take on any challenge ahead.

 

Performance Enablement and Empowerment

When it comes to performance enablement and empowerment, we need to stop trying to manage performance, which seems to be the prevalent mindset in many organizations today. The word management is about “controlling and making decisions,” neither of which help us maximize performance. When we manage performance, we stifle employees’ ability to be their best and grow. So instead of talking about managing, let’s refer to it as performance enablement and empowerment—two words that really get to what our role in performance should be. But before we dive too deep into enablement and empowerment, we must define exactly what performance is.

Performance is defined by two considerations:

1) the desired or needed results and 2) the way in which the results are achieved.

We can’t just think of performance in terms of how much is delivered because then we have a situation where staff only focus on results and neglect how they achieved those results even if it was to the detriment of others on the team or in violation of professional ethics. Performance metrics need to be aligned with the team or department as well as the objectives and the values of the company.

Let’s talk performance enablement. Performance enablement is the organization giving their people the ability to do something, the ability to perform. To do so, you must provide the following:

  • Training: Continually develop good work habits and skills through a combination of classroom, online, and on-the-job training. Training must be ongoing and account for differing learning styles. Training is the ongoing mastery of the skills needed to do a job and remain up to date with changes occurring in the business or marketplace.
  • Tools to Do the Job: Ensure your people have the things they need to do their job well. As a manager, this is one of your main responsibilities. Ensure there is a process in place that gets the necessary tools to your team on time and at the right time.
  • Technology: Technology has become an important part of our lives, especially at work. Technology should be implemented to make things easier for both the customer and employee.
  • The Right Information: Managers need to be forthcoming and transparent with information an employee needs to do their job and make decisions.

Once employees have what they need, managers need to get out of the way and let their people make decisions. In an article for IndustryWeek, Shawn Casemore stated that it is critical to “let go in order to help employees grow.” This is performance empowerment. Managers must stop being so insecure and concerned that they will not have a job if the staff are making all the decisions. I would agree a manager becomes more valuable when they empower their people and stop controlling so many aspects of the business. They shift from being managers to leaders. But this shift is necessary for everyone to succeed.

Empowerment is a critical part of achieving an engaged workforce. You cannot have engaged employees without first empowering them. Considering that only 51% of US employees are engaged at work, there is a dire need to empower your people.

To empower your people:

  • Stimulate Thinking: Instead of giving answers, ask employees what they would do. Simply asking questions can get your staff thinking as owners and leaders themselves. By asking them for their thoughts, you are telling your employees that you trust their judgment. Empowerment is all about giving staff confidence in their own abilities. Continually remind staff that they can make decisions.
  • Provide Decision-Making Training: Scenario-based training can help staff collectively think what the best solutions or decisions might be. Ideally, this training should take place in an informal environment such as a daily team meeting. Providing staff with a scenario on a daily or weekly basis can get their creative juices flowing and turn them into expert problem solvers.
  • Share Financial Information: Teach your people about financial responsibility and the impact of different decisions on the company’s bottom line. Encourage them to solve problems in a way that benefits both the organization and the customer.
  • Provide a Solid Start: Provide guidelines as new staff come on board. During their onboarding period—that first 30-60 days on the job—there should be plenty of opportunities to teach new hires the guidelines for decision making while they are in a safe learning environment where the customer, product, or service is not inconvenienced.
  • Respond, Don’t React: Be prepared to respond positively when someone gives too much away. In most cases, it’s not the end of the world. Make it a teaching moment, not a punishment. Staff must make mistakes to learn what not to do. Think back to your early days as a leader. I can guarantee you made your fair share of mistakes as well, and it only helped you grow in your role and in the organization.

Remember, the only way a manager becomes truly indispensable is to be dispensable to their teams by enabling and empowering them. If you are selecting the right people, orienting and onboarding them correctly by enabling and empowering them, you set up your people to feel great about themselves and their role, which leads to them being their best for your customers and the business.

Thanks for reading. Don’t forget to check out my new book, Culture Hacker, available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Also check out Season 2 of the Culture Hacker Podcast, available on SoundCloud and iTunes.

Recommended Readings:
Top Principles of Employee Empowerment

Photo Credit: Universidad Politécnica de Madrid Flickr via Compfight cc