My definition of empowerment is getting an employee to make a fast decision, on the spot, in favor of the customer. This means your employee has to bend the rules… in favor of the customer. If the customer wins, your organization wins.
The single most important goal of every employee should be to have an over-happy customer. If you have over-happy customers you do not need to worry about your competition. By the way I have only met one CEO who did not agree with my concept on empowerment. He had a small airline in Kenya. I’m not sure if it is still in existence.
There are 2 firms that are very good at empowerment. Amazon and the Marriott inside the US (In Russia Marriott employees cannot even spell the word). Amazon is light years ahead of all other firms in the world. There are 3 reasons I recommend you copy Amazon.
1. In 2016 Sales increased 27%
2. It increased revenue a whopping $29 billion (from $107 billion to $136 billion)
3. Jeff Bezos the founder and CEO increased his net worth to $72.8 billion. He is now the 3rd wealthiest person in the world.
Most CEO's and firms in the world would be uncomfortable with this kind of growth. It seems crazy to me that so few executives understand the power of empowerment and great service.
There are too many weird things that happen every day in your organizations. The objective should be to KEEP customers. To have over-happy customers. You want ALL employees to make fast empowerment decisions in favor of the customer. Consider it as simply marketing money, which it actually is.
"Half the money we spend on advertising is wasted......And the problem is we
do not know which half." Lord Leverhulme British Philanthropist, Founder of Unilever
What is the worst thing that can happen if your employees are empowered to make a decision in favor of the customer? An employee might give away too much of your product or service. This means you would have an over-happy customer. Keep in mind an under-happy customer doesn't spend as much money with you and more often than not, does not come back to your place of business.
There are 3 reasons employees are not willing to use empowerment, regardless of how much the CEO wants them to. They are all based on FEAR.
1. All employees know they will be immediately fired if they make an empowered decision. I am not talking about reality. This is all fear. This is over 90% of the reason your employees will never make an empowered decision and why it takes 2 miracles at one time to get them to make an empowered decision.
2. They will be forced to pay for what they give away free. Most employees do not make a fortune. They cannot afford this.
3. Employees do not want to be yelled at or put down.
YOU MUST REDUCE THE FEAR YOUR EMPLOYEES HAVE TOWARD MAKING EMPOWERED DECISIONS. Empowered decisions by front line employees is much more powerful than if it comes from a manager, supervisor or the CEO. It creates more word of mouth advertising and more Twitter or Facebook comments. Employees who feel they have control over decisions made in the workplace tend to work harder and longer to achieve the company’s strategic goals. It allows employees to take ownership of issues and find solutions.
You need to use a lot of recognition and celebration. If you have a monthly newsletter feature a great example of empowerment. The more outrageous the recognition, the better so kick it up a notch. A simple “thank you” counts but you can also make it as elaborate as your imagination can conceive.
“Empowerment for the employee pays off at the bottom line.”