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Employee Empowerment Works!

Dear Sirs,
My name is [omitted] and I'm a Director of Human Resources. We recently lost a CEO that was very much opposed to employee empowerment. As a matter of fact he did not really encourage teamwork either. I had suggested more teamwork and ways to empower employees, including additional training, but he shot down the idea. His response was that before we could get approval for any improvement effort we needed to show hard data. How many seconds could we cut out of cycle time? How many pennies could we save on supplies? These were the facts he required. Hard data on employee empowerment was tough to find.

The new CEO was a strong supporter of empowerment, teamwork, and employee motivation. He immediately started involving the workers and scheduled weekly team meetings and toolbox meetings at the start of every shift. This change was very recent so we haven't yet had time to put in place any improvements, but we have already seen some major improvements. Downtime has fallen from more than 5% to less than 3%. Scrap has fallen from over 3% to less than 1%. We are producing more parts. I can see other changes too. The plant is cleaner. The break room is cleaner. That has always been the responsibility of all employees. Some of the employees that weren't getting along are now working together without problems. I've even seen these 'enemies' helping one another!

Some of the employees that were a little quiet before have really stepped up. People are smiling! Can you imagine that? Before the change of CEO there were talks of bringing in a union. That has all changed. I am amazed at the effects. It's a breath of fresh air.

I just wanted to share this with you because before we made the change in management I had found your site and had read through all of your articles and pages, especially the information on employee empowerment and motivation. I thought your readers might find this of interest.

Anonymous Submission February, 2006: Posted with consent

Empowered Employees = Organizational Success

Thank you very much for the article submission. Stories such as yours are one of the biggest reasons we are in business. Considering how much of one's life is spent at work it is a shame that many do not work in a rewarding environment. And yes, I fully understand your situation. I realize there must be some focus on bottom line and hard data, but unfortunately some business leaders are so driven and limited by pure bottom line thinking that lasting improvements are not possible. Lasting improvements in key business outcomes require commitment rather than compliance. Commitment is not achieved through brute force and inattention to your experts -- your employees.

As far as hard data, it is not uncommon for productivity to increase by as much as 40% simply through employee motivation. Improvements in quality and turnover are also quite common. Often, in order to achieve lasting results, we must think beyond pennies and seconds. I'm sure you will continue to see great things. Harness the power of your employees and the power of teamwork.

Now would be a good time to focus on organizing team activities and aligning team goals with organizational goals. Ask the employees to work together toward identifying opportunities for improvement. To further improve communication and align goals, have your employee teams work directly with management personnel in identifying opportunities and developing strategies. Document the improvements observed through employee efforts and team efforts. That will serve as your hard data.

Last but definitely not least, be sure to celebrate these recent improvements. Thank the employees. Thank the new CEO if you haven't done so already. Best of luck in your continued success.

Thank you for sharing this story. I am sure it will be of interest to our readers. If you ever need assistance feel free to contact us.


Brian Lean M.S.

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