Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Empowering your employees

Too many businesses in South Africa see their employees as a problem to be managed as opposed to an asset to be optimised. Your business is nothing without strong employees, your business plans and ideas need reliable invested employees to become a reality. The strength of your business is wholly reliant on the strength of your workforce.

I believe that organisations thrive when non-financial managers can easily find, read and understand financial information that is relevant to them; particularly their budget and spending information. When people understand how their financial decisions affect the rest of the business they are empowered to manage them properly, and only then can they really be held accountable for those decisions.

Yet that level of transparency, particularly with financial information, can be threatening to some executives and business owners that feel that empowering their middle managers somehow threatens their own power; so instead of taking action to provide true transparency in the organisation, they make a big show of rebranding, sponsorships or event-based team building. A real team is built through shared goals and understanding, input and responsibilities for those goals.

Transparency is achieved when information is current, reliable, stored in a single place, easy to find and easy to understand. When this is the case, operational managers are empowered to take responsibility for the part of the organisation’s financial well-being that is in their power.

When your staff feel valued, when they believe their input is being taken into account and their knowledge is helping to build the business they are a part of, when they have a clear understanding and overview of what is going on with the business; they feel responsible for and accountable to the organisation as a whole.


This is not only true of financial empowerment, wherever you provide your employees with real opportunities to develop and own their position within their team and within your business, there is an increase in their sense of pride in both their role and the business as a whole. That sense of pride translates into an increased feeling of responsibility, employee satisfaction and productivity. This is not only good for business itself, but also for the reputation of your business – nobody sells your business and all it stands for better than a dedicated, happy employee.

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