January 14, 2021

Empower your people to sustain your business

Show people how they are part of the big picture and they will respond with commitment and ultimately sustain your business


As business leaders, we can all agree that the most important mission we face is to sustain the business through a steady stream of revenue and improvements in profit margins. In short, we want to ensure the sustainability of the business, all while maintaining some level of growth.


I have constantly discussed the notion of people as the core of every business. While theoretically, this is true, it can be difficult to grasp in a practical sense. Individual people are different in their interests and goals. How can we possibly put people at the core when we don’t even have the same focus?


But to ensure we can sustain our businesses, especially in this uncertain new year, our people will hold the key. We know that simply engaging them and motivating them is no longer enough. Today, empowering them and understanding all those differing goals is the key.


Why is empowering your people important to begin with?


According to a Gallup study, organizations that can successfully empower their employees find an increase of 50% in customer loyalty. When people in the organization are empowered, they apply this positive mindset and approach to every aspect of their work. We know that higher customer loyalty means better business.


Another reason why empowering employees is important is profitability. Yes, you read it right — empowerment relates to better profitability. A study by Pepperdine University has identified and compared the correlation of profitability and empowered employees from various organizations. The results showed that the positive environment and increased productivity resulting from empowered employees helped with the organization’s profitability.


Empowering employees isn’t just about drive or motivation, it must be rooted in the entire culture of the organization. While change isn’t easy, a few adjustments, to begin with, can help kickstart any organization to becoming an empowering business in the community.


Here are some ways to proceed.


Clarify the company mission and vision, and take measures to live by it


Every company has a mission and vision but not everyone lives by it. The mission and vision are part of your organization’s culture. It serves as a compass to guide people toward what their work must stand for.


Moreover, each individual has a unique set of traits. We can’t all have similar interests and goals. But when they understand the mission and vision, people have a common element to connect with. This can help in better collaboration between different teams and individuals to sustain your business.


Ensure your people are on the same page on company goals


Transparency can be daunting, but it is necessary if we want our people to truly feel like a part of the bigger picture. Often, many of the big decisions are left to the top management and the result can be a gap between the people and their leaders.


Ensuring there is an open conversation about understanding the goals set for the year ahead and beyond is important so that employees also know what they’re working toward.


Provide a safe and controlled space for failure


There is no learning or innovation without failure. Mistakes allow us to see what went wrong and what to adjust in order to improve. No one likes to fail and for a leader. It can be gut-wrenching when an organization has to deal with a failed initiative. However, without this safe space for failure, there will almost always be no space for growth either.


Understand and recognize that every effort counts


Whether your people work has jobs that relate directly to organizational revenue or not, everyone’s efforts still count in terms of overall performance and profitability. Every part of the organization acts as the gears and machine parts that make your business a well-oiled machine. Recognizing every effort means empowering your people to sustain your business. This is because they recognize that each one of them plays an important part.


Give people ownership of their roles and projects, all while providing them with opportunities to develop


We are not robots programmed to do the same routine work every day and accept it. Often, this leads to boredom and becoming stagnant in our jobs.


Providing ownership of roles and projects gives people the space to fail and learn to develop, but also to celebrate those wins along the way.


In this new world, we live in, we have been facing many threats in our businesses and personal lives. It is easy to focus on what we’ve been working hard to achieve. Empowerment isn’t just about our mindsets; it’s also about the actions we take. If we want to overcome changes and challenges, we must do so with strong convictions, and we can do so by empowering ourselves and others.


Arinya Talerngsri is Chief Capability Officer and Managing Director at SEAC – Southeast Asia’s Lifelong Learning Center. She can be reached by email at arinya_t@seasiacenter.com or https://www.linkedin.com/in/arinya-talerngsri-53b81aa. Explore and experience our lifelong learning ecosystem today at https://www.yournextu.com