Article: Why empowered employees drive success in distributed work

Employee Relations

Why empowered employees drive success in distributed work

Fostering future work empowerment mandates a blend of flexibility and responsibility, as organisations embrace adaptable governance while employees take ownership of their roles.
Why empowered employees drive success in distributed work

For several years now, employee-employer relationships have been moulded within a fairly standard framework of control and continuous oversight with tightly knit reporting structures. However, this structured approach has been severely challenged in the past few years due to factors such as the growing acceptance of remote work, increasing life expectancy, and non-conventional working models. Moreover, the current work ecosystem comprises a generation with a different set of capabilities, expectations, and priorities. 

This generation will serve as a key factor governing the future of work. In India, for example, over half the population (52%) is below the age of 30. This generation of digital natives has had a far more empowered upbringing and is more likely to exercise their right to make choices rather than accept choices handed to them.  Their upbringing in a more sophisticated world has moulded them with behaviours that they are likely to bring into their professional lives.

While these changes are welcome, organisations must be aware that they are driving us to an inflexion point between the current norms and the future of work. To operate seamlessly in this new reality, organisations must move from a command-and-control construct to an influence-and-empowerment construct. This means that the organisation functions like a participatory democracy where everyone has the opportunity to reach their full potential. 

Organisation’s responsibilities in a participative democracy

For organisations to embrace participatory democracy and stay in tune with modern times, change must start at the top. Leaders must act like coaches, rather than follow the prescriptive styles of traditional models. Mentioned below are some measures that leaders can take  to ensure, employee participation and well-being:

Prioritising employee needs and participation:  By embracing the servant leadership model, organisations can prioritise employee needs, fostering an environment that encourages active participation in decision-making and supports their personal growth and development.

Humanising the Workplace: Organisations humanise the workplace using multiple lenses. These include digitising the hybrid workplace to facilitate flexibility, engaging, and improving employee experience, freedom, and creativity, and designing a work environment that promotes employee wellness. Doing so will help improve employee’s willingness to work productively and participate collaboratively

Enabling flexibility: Organisations can provide flexibility through policy, process, and technology, allowing employees to work virtually and participate inclusively in meetings and interactions facilitated by digital tools. Ensuring their involvement in decision-making and redefining work packages to improve capabilities fosters a continuous learning and upskilling environment.

In cultivating empowerment for the future of work, a balanced strategy encompassing adaptability and discipline is vital, where organisations blend governance and empowerment, and employees assume ownership, drawing insights from errors while forging growth paths. As work becomes more distributed and complex, empowerment becomes increasingly critical to ensure success and cultivate engaged brand ambassadors.

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Topics: Employee Relations, Employee Engagement

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