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Grow Your Business Your Team

Empower Your Workers and Power Up Your Business

If you want to get the best out of the people who work for you, you should share information, involve them in decision-making and provide training opportunities , a new study recommends. It also doesn't hurt to pay them well.

Workers who feel empowered by their employers have higher morale and are more productive, regardless of their industry, job or culture, a new study from the University of Iowa (UI) shows.

When properly executed, the study found, empowerment initiatives can lead to higher job satisfaction, lower turnover and reduced stress among employees. Empowered workers are also more innovative and perform better at their job.

"Empowerment is an effective approach for improving employee attitudes and work behaviors in a broad range of industries, occupations and geographic regions," said lead researcher Scott Seibert, professor of management and organizations in UI's Tippie College of Business.

High performance management practices that make workers feel that they play an important part on their organization and make a difference in their firm's success are a key ingredient, said Seibert. Workers should also be encouraged to recognize the important of contributions of each member of the team.

Empowering your workers also means that managers need to step up their game. A manager who inspires, provides strong feedback and is a good role model enhances workers' feeling of competence and helps employees find meaning in their work, Seibert said.

The study found that work improvements lead to improved team performance as well as individual performance, and that they tended to be the strongest in the service sector.  It also found that men and women generally have similar reactions to empowerment.