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Why Is It Important to Empower Employees?

December 14, 2011

Dear Cognizant of Quality:

The issues you present are the linchpin to an organization's success: providing a quality product and developing and maintaining a motivated workforce. You have taken the first important step of seeking a means to address your organization's challenges. The next important step is to determine if you have the talent on your staff to address these challenges. If not, you may need to either hire someone who has the ability to develop, facilitate and oversee your new quality process, or hire an outside consultant to assist you. Should you choose to purchase the services of a consultant, you may still need to hire or appoint someone to facilitate the process.

The process will need a champion and it should be the CEO (or someone who has the CEO's full support). Only a person at a higher level is able to hold managers accountable for full compliance to the process. All members of the management team must demonstrate that they are solidly in support to the process.

Organizations with a successful quality process share at least key five characteristics:

1. A plan with specific measurable goals that are consistent with the mission and vision statements.

2. Employee participation at all levels.

3. Effective systems for measuring process progress.

4. Open communications throughout the organization.

5. Accountability at all levels.

Review your vision and mission statements to ensure that they speak to where you want to be when success is achieved. Establish specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-driven goals. These goals should be applied throughout the organization from administration through productivity to customer care.

Establish a plan and process that allows all employees to participate in identifying problems and roadblocks to a total quality process. Employees must feel free to identify problem areas at all levels of the organization without fear of reprisal and the ability to participate in a systemic problem-solving process.

A cross-section of the workforce population should participate in determining the best method of implementing the process and methods of measuring and communicating successes and failures to employees.

Keep score of success and failures by department, groups, projects and processes. Communicate results regularly so that employees know when to expect reports. In addition, provide periodic updates such as quarterly, semiannualy, or annually in the form of a "state of the business" report.

When goals are not met, use the disappointment as an opportunity to learn what went wrong and what can be done to prevent another failure. Never use it as justification for punishment.

You are not only changing a few processes or a way of doing business. You may very well bring about a complete change to your company culture.

SOURCE: Lonnie Harvey Jr., JESCLON Group Inc., Rock Hill, South Carolina

LEARN MORE: The above example is a good illustration of strategic human resources.

The information contained in this article is intended to provide useful information on the topic covered, but should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Also remember that state laws may differ from the federal law.