Empower Your Employees

The other day, I called AT&T to tell them I had an error on my bill. The service rep told me she couldn't reverse the charge due to the billing cycle but she would be happy to give me an hour of free long distance for the next 6 months. I thought this was interesting for two reasons. First, it was nice that she could make a decision and take care of my issue without transferring me around the world and second, I ended the conversation with a feeling that I got something "extra."

Would you ever consider giving your employees the same power to resolve a client issue? Imagine what could happen in your firm if you set specific criteria for employees to work with so they could promptly resolve a problem. What if they became responsible for the time they bill clients? Would it alleviate wasted time talking to several managers and the client if there was an issue with a bill? Probably.

So what would it take to make an empowerment program work? It takes commitment and consistency. You have to be specific about how much "freedom" your staff actually has to make decisions. When should they call for reinforcement? You also have to be prepared to ride out the "learning curve." If your people make a mistake (and they will), you can't crucify them for it. If you do, they will be scared, not empowered. Focus on the result you want and how they can get there.

Empowerment works kind of like Kevin Costner's Field of Dreams. If you believe they can do it, they will come to believe they can do it, too.

You may like these other stories...

We've probably all worked for soul-sucking managers who expect employees to spend their workdays tethered to the office with no other life obligations or desires. But that's not what the "When Work Works"...
A new report from global consulting and outsourcing company Accenture PLC found that internal complexity is the most significant challenge CFOs of large companies are currently encountering.The top four issues pertaining to...
Read more from Allan Boress here and in the Truth Be Told About Business Development archive. I've always been enamored with the concept of what it took to motivate employees and owners, all the way back to my...

Already a member? log in here.

Upcoming CPE Webinars

Oct 9In this jam-packed presentation Excel expert David Ringstrom, CPA will give you a crash-course in creating spreadsheet-based dashboards.
Oct 15This webinar presents the requirements of AU-C 600, Audits of Group Financial Statements (Including the Work of Component Auditors).
Oct 21Kristen Rampe will share how to speak and write more effectively by understanding your own and your audience’s communication style.
Oct 23Amber Setter will show the value of leadership assessments as tools for individual and organizational leadership development initiatives.