Employee Experience

Strategies to empower employee decision-making: 5 tips

4 Mins read

Creating a workspace that truly fuels the power of employee decision-making involves granting your team the authority to step up and shape the path within your company’s boundaries. It’s all about nurturing an atmosphere built on trust and a shared understanding, where these proactive strides naturally align with the grand objectives of the organization.

Importance of empowering employees

Imagine a study that delves into the work lives of over 7,000 employees, revealing a fascinating connection between empowerment and engagement. The results spoke volumes: Those who felt a lack of empowerment found themselves hovering around the 24th percentile in terms of engagement. On the flip side, those basking in a strong sense of empowerment surged ahead to the impressive 79th percentile. Now, engagement isn’t just a buzzword; it’s a game-changer. According to Gallup, companies with teams deeply engaged in their work outshine their competitors by a staggering 150 percent in earnings per share. 

The empowerment equation is quite straightforward: the more empowered your employees feel, the better the results. Think about it—Zenger Folkman’s research found that when empowerment is scarce, only a measly 4 percent of employees are eager to go the extra mile. But turn the empowerment dial up high, and watch that number soar to an incredible 67 percent. It’s crystal clear that the link between empowerment and remarkable performance is undeniable.

So, the question is: How do you instill that empowerment environment in your team to shape employee decision-making? Check out these five actionable strategies that are bound to make a difference.

Set clear expectations

Lay out the guidelines that delineate the scope of your employee decision-making. It’s about striking that perfect balance—providing clear expectations without encroaching on their space. This way, you’re essentially greenlighting your team to flex their decision-making muscles, all the while maintaining a strong alignment with the larger mission of the company. Think of it as creating a sandbox with well-defined edges. Your employees are free to build and create within those bounds, yet they always have a North Star to guide them—the company’s overarching goals. This not only nurtures their growth but also ensures that their decisions contribute meaningfully to the collective journey. After all, empowerment thrives when it’s both free-flowing and goal-driven.

Unite Around a Common Goal, Embracing Diverse Routes

Empowering your team kicks off with the collaborative spirit of decision-making, right from the project’s inception. Begin by laying out the ultimate goal, and then dive into the dialogue. Pose thought-provoking questions that invite input on the journey ahead—how to chart the course toward that shared destination.

Imagine it as the opening scene of a brainstorming session, where all team members are invited to contribute their unique colors to the canvas. This not only reveals effective pathways but also taps into the goldmine of creativity your team brings to the table. You see, while you might have a blueprint in mind, your team might unfold more imaginative and streamlined approaches to tackle the task at hand. Now, here’s the twist: Embrace the diversity of perspectives. That’s where the magic happens. Encourage a vibrant exchange of opinions and novel ideas. Make it crystal clear that thinking beyond the conventional is not just welcomed, but actively endorsed. This cultivates an atmosphere where innovative problem-solving and task fulfillment are embraced wholeheartedly. Because in the realm of empowerment, it’s the fusion of distinctive viewpoints that propels growth and ignites brilliance.

Embrace Insights and Contributions

Whenever feasible, extend an invitation to your employees to partake in decision-making and the crafting of goals. Even if their engagement isn’t feasible during the initial phases, maintain an open door to welcome their ideas and perspectives. This practice serves a dual purpose: it fuels your employees’ sense of empowerment and simultaneously unveils a gateway to fresh, remarkable notions for your organization’s growth.

In essence, this approach stitches a powerful thread between empowerment and innovation. By providing your team a platform to share their insights, you’re not just fostering a culture of ownership, but also seeding the soil for ground-breaking concepts to flourish.

Express Appreciation for Innovative Decision-Making

Did you know that according to McKinsey & Company, only a mere 10% of leaders are truly content with their company’s innovation prowess? It’s a common sentiment—while most yearn for innovation, its vibrant pulse often seems elusive within the organizational framework. Sound familiar? Well, here’s a thought: Recognizing and applauding inventive decision-making could be the spark that ignites the innovation you’re after.

Now, hold on a moment—this doesn’t imply you need to shine the spotlight on every independent choice your team members make. Rather, it’s about shining a light on the exceptional, the out-of-the-box, the trailblazing moments. When something truly stands out, don’t hesitate to give it a nod of acknowledgment. By doing so openly, you’re setting the stage for a trio of remarkable outcomes.

Firstly, you’re demonstrating that you’re not just watching from the side-lines; you’re genuinely tuned into the waves created by your employees’ actions. This sends a clear signal of your commitment to empowerment. Secondly, you’re unleashing a ripple effect of innovation. Unique ideas and bold action tend to catch on and spread like wildfire when they’re recognized and nurtured. And finally, here’s the cherry on top—your company begins to infuse a newfound spirit of innovation within your industry. Now, that’s the kind of edge that can keep you soaring ahead in the competitive landscape.

Embrace the Role of an Inspiring Guide

Embrace the mantle of mentorship. Cultivate an atmosphere where every team member feels an authentic sense of appreciation and worth. Take the time to delve into your employees’ career aspirations. Armed with this knowledge, curate tasks and developmental opportunities that leverage their strengths, propelling them towards their goals.

employee decision-making 2

Now, let’s talk about managing those inevitable bumps along the way. When conflicts rear their heads, address them head-on and expediently. Facilitate constructive discussions between the parties involved, seeking a middle ground they can rally around.

But let’s not forget the cornerstone of it all—your attitude. Infuse your workspace with a positive energy that’s truly infectious. And when you spot team members radiating that same positivity, be quick to acknowledge and celebrate them. After all, the journey to empowerment and excellence thrives in an environment where encouragement is abundant.


In today’s dynamic workplaces, empowering employee decision-making is a strategic imperative. These approaches, from clear expectations to fostering collaboration, tap into creativity and engagement. Research shows that empowerment boosts engagement, translating to higher earnings per share. Shifting from limited to abundant empowerment elevates willingness from 4% to 67%, underlining its potency.

Yet, empowerment is multifaceted—embracing mentorship, innovation, and positivity is crucial. By championing these principles, you drive both employee decision-making and organizational success. It’s a journey toward growth, achievement, and lasting triumph.

Further Reading

How to reduce stress in the workplace
Unlimited paid time off (PTO) – yes, or no?
4 ways to empower your team’s decision-making

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About author
Fatjona Gërguri is the content writer for Employee Experience Magazine, covering the relevant topics about employee experience, organizational culture and general HR topics.
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