We have 5 company values, Empower being the last but by no means the least of our FLITE values. It is also the one value that resonates with me the most. There are many ways to articulate the term “Empower”, but mine; simply put, is “to inspire someone to want to achieve and to provide them with the tools and support in which to do so.”
Regardless of the specific definition there is no doubting the positive impact that empowerment has on individuals and organisations. Company wise it increases engagement, efficiency and collaboration across the team. On an individual level it breeds confidence in one’s own ability and boosts motivation, whilst enhancing performance.
So how did the term Empower make it to be one of our values? In short, it is at the heart of everything we do here at Hawk and is one of the main reasons people join the Organisation – to empower others to achieve; yet surprisingly it wasn’t always reflected in our values.
Previously the value most akin to it was the value “Inspire,” but there was something missing. We wanted a value that stood for everything that Inspire did but with a little more substance. So, in the summer of 2016, during one of our Staff Development Days, we empowered our people to feed into what the company looked like and to choose values that truly reflect who we had become; as a result, Inspire was replaced with Empower.
As HR, I am exposed to all people across the Organisation. Spending time with colleagues either through HR related issues or otherwise, I am always empowered by the reciprocal nature of sharing knowledge and expertise.
But what does it mean to truly empower someone? Well in addition to sharing your knowledge and expertise, this can be done in a number of other ways; from open communication and an open-door policy to providing autonomy within roles and treating everyone like an individual. We actively seek feedback from our people in relation to matters that affect them and their role and involve them in decision making.
Our recent Investors In People assessment highlighted just how empowered our people are feeling now. According to our IIP survey, a whopping 86% of employees feel they are trusted to make decisions in their role, whilst 89% of people feel that they are encouraged to use initiative in their role. We are constantly striving to create roles that provide autonomy and allow for creativity and initiative, whilst creating pathways in which to develop our people.
And then there is what we do as our bread and butter. Our Learning and Development teams enrich so many lives daily; providing support, sharing their sector knowledge and by creating opportunities for our learners to shine. Sometimes all it takes it to meet someone that truly believes in your ability to achieve great things and is happy to support you along that journey. This was evident in our recent staff development day where a learner gave a great testimony regarding one of our tutors. She stated that when she initially started the course, she didn’t think she could do it and it was her tutor that kept her going through his constant reassurance and reminders of how much she had grown and changed throughout the process. This is an example of where consistent support and feedback is the resource that empowers people to press on in the face of challenges, to meet their true potential.
Over the years I have encountered several people that have fed my hunger to achieve through their coaching, support and creating opportunities for me to operate outside of my comfort zone. I am pleased to say that many of them I still work with today.
My 7 top tips for empowering staff:
- Encourage forward thinking and creativity
- Share knowledge and expertise
- Embrace mistakes as a learning opportunity
- Share Information and encourage open communication
- Cultivate an environment of curiosity
- Appreciate effort
- Celebrate success – no matter how big or small