Empower employees


As automation increases, companies should not overlook their most valuable asset – the employees, says Paul Devoy, head of Investors in People

A Nesta report earlier this year stated that over the next 15 years 35 per cent of jobs will be at risk of becoming fully automated and that more than 500 professions face this threat. Robots may work faster, never sleep or complain, but they do not have that intrinsic human innovation required to make an organisation the best it can be.

Computers can’t deliver personable customer service, they’re unable to inspire and empower a workforce, and they certainly can’t push an organisation to outperform competitors by sharing a common vision. By recognising high performance, building on existing staff abilities and developing sustainable practices that inspire and empower, you can make your business great.

Recognising and rewarding employees is a fundamental way to create a culture of appreciation – an environment where people are motivated to perform at their best.

Designing a robust approach to recognition and reward is the basis for any company looking to invest in their people. The process of rewarding should become second nature to its leaders. Involving workers in designing the organisation’s approach is a good model to take; employees must buy into the culture, making them feel an integral part of the future and motivating them further.

It’s important that staff capabilities are managed and developed. This allows people to realise their full potential and ensures that the organisation always has the right skill sets to drive success.

If an organisation fully realises its staff’s potential, it results in employees taking ownership of their own learning and development to effectively support the employer’s aims. This process should be continuous and an intrinsic part of the culture.

The key to achieving this is identifying and planning the capabilities people will need to deliver success. This means the right staff with the right skills can be deployed at the right time to give you a strong competitive edge.

An employer has to be responsive to change. Leaders should understand the external environment and the impact this has on the organisation. Such knowledge allows it to have a positive impact on the communities and markets it serves.

A truly sustainable organisation should see these changes as ‘business as usual’ and embrace them as the route of future success. Making clear the company’s objectives and how they will be achieved is the role of a leader. This installs trust and motivates people to deliver against the company’s goals and vision.

To encourage people to go beyond what is expected of them, employees must share a common goal. This can be done by creating transparency throughout the organisation. The leader must lead by example, share plans and involve the workforce in decision-making.

An organisation inspiring its workers through sharing a common goal will develop capabilities within its employees and create tomorrow’s leaders.

Participation, collaboration and teamwork are at the heart of a strong approach to decision-making. A culture of trust and ownership, where people feel empowered to make decisions and act on them, is an effective tool that can help companies to outperform their competitors.

People should be encouraged to challenge the status quo to improve the organisation’s performance. Empowered employees will use their initiative to take ownership of delivering objectives.

A motivated workforce is a key asset to any company and with the workforce under threat from technology, the timing to implement these changes couldn’t be better. Some manual jobs can be automated and do not require human intervention, but an organisation looking to grow, motivate its workforce and work together to achieve success must invest in its most valuable asset – its people.

Paul Devoy is head of Investors in People



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Paul Devoy

Paul Devoy

Paul Devoy is head of Investors in People, which optimises performance by championing best practice in people management

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