What is empowerment?

We explain what is the empowerment or empowerment in the business area, what problems it responds to and what are its advantages.

  1. What is empowerment?

The term ” Empowerment “, coming from English power (“power”) could be translated into Spanish as “empowerment”, a very fashionable word in times of struggle for the social claim on egalitarianism, more or less equivalent of “empowerment” or ” qualification”. However, in the area of business , this expression refers to a totally different meaning.

In business administration, the Empowerment or organizational Empowerment is a trend in Human Resources management that proposes the empowerment of subordinates and workers . Its objective is to break the traditional vertical leadership scheme, in which a boss assumes the reins of everything and the others are limited to fulfilling their orders.

A company that empowers its workers, on the other hand, gives them autonomy, decision-making capacity, authority and leadership . In this way, they can solve work problems in a creative, flexible and autonomous way , without having to have the constant approval of their superiors.

It is not about abolishing the hierarchy of the company or dispensing with bosses , but about building more creative, productive and higher quality workers and subordinates, in a decentralized and bureaucratized business model . It is a commitment to agility and diversity, instead of the centralization of the power that processes do, since all changes must be approved by a superior.

  1. Problems of traditional companies

empowerment empowerment company bureaucracy burnout
In traditional companies, workers only fulfill orders and lose motivation.

The business world pursues the right formula to increase productivity and profitability , without diminishing quality and human talent in the process. The empowerment arises in response to the main problems that traditional companies must face in terms of human resources , which are:

  • The burnout of workers . Dealing with repetitive and unimportant work, fulfilling orders and decisions of another without ever feeling that the work performed has a link with one’s life, leads to a situation of low productivity and very low commitment known as ” burnout ” (from the English “scorched “).
  • The bureaucratization of processes . Something particularly present in public or semi-public organizations is the slowing down of the processes. Simple and agile things, which could be done in a short time , take an eternity due to formal demands, intermediate steps and forms of bureaucracy that are not only unproductive, but also provide a false sense of control.
  • The urgent does not give time to the important . As simple as it sounds: there is no time. The processes accumulate pending resolution and workers accumulate significant doses of frustration, which eventually affect their commitment to work, because in the absence of real solutions, detachment is a way of not suffering from work.
  • Verticality and invisibility . For mistakes as well as for successes, traditional bosses are the only visible face of the teams, and absolutely everything falls on them, since their authority in the team is unquestionable. This vertical and inflexible model builds workers lacking confidence, confused about their performance and living solving problems that another creates.
  • Lack of prospects for promotion . Since the charges are distributed in very vertical and very strict organizational charts, ascending in the company becomes an impossible mission, which requires the exit of an intermediate link so that one from below can take its place. This also threatens the feeling of belonging of the employees.
  1. Empowerment Advantages

Organizational empowerment involves a series of significant changes in the way of doing things in the company , which has repercussions on the following benefits:

  • High commitment of the worker . People like to create, solve, devise, and be recognized for it. When this happens, workers feel considered, respected and taken into account, which keeps them highly motivated.
  • Productivity improvements . Contrary to what is thought, many times a more lax and flexible structure makes it possible to adapt better to problems and manage processes more efficiently than a stiff, heavy and rigid one.
  • Formation constant of the employee . Not only through formal studies and courses an employee grows in a company, but also as he assumes new responsibility shares successfully, thus learning to do much more than what is strictly required in his position, and opening up prospects for promotion.
  • Efficient decision making . Since managerial positions are not usually there supervising the process in person, an advantage of empowerment is to give workers a voice so that they can contribute in business management, instead of feeling imprisoned in a project that others manage whim.

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