billboardHave you ever thought about how your employees (volunteers / subcontractors) are like walking billboards?  They are “advertising” your organization 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

You get good (or bad) press depending on whether these folks are satisfied at work … and if they feel like a part of the overall mission.  They’re really mini-marketers, whether they realize it or not.

So if you want your workforce to present the best image of your organization, to spread the word on how to get your products and services, to generate excitement about what you do … you want them to feel empowered!

Empowerment is more than simply telling people what they can and cannot do.

Empowerment is a three-fold process that builds trust between the employees and the organization. The rewards of this will show not only in an increase of positive press in the community, but also in a greater bottom line as customers and members notice the difference.

How can you motivate your people so they want to be empowered? There are three steps to strengthening the organization in this way:

#1. Think Culture Change. Simply telling employees that they are empowered is not enough. Empowerment is a culture change that needs to be instilled.  It means leaders need to develop an egalitarian attitude of mutual respect with the people on their teams.  It means helping them see the big picture of what is going on … and how they play a vital role.  This process may take longer upfront, but in the end it will create time for the managers … as workers accept more and more responsibility.

#2. Listen. Customers / clients / patrons tell the individuals in your organization what they want and need.  Using your employees as a voice of the customer, respecting what they have to say, is vital … instead of putting value only on the ideas that come directly from the external client.  Workers want to add value to the organization.  That is their first, and foremost need.  Being “listened to” costs the company nothing, yet brings immeasurable results.

#3. Put Empowerment into Action. Yes, now you tell your people, “You’re empowered! You’re informed, you understand what we’re trying to accomplish.  We listen to you. We value you.  You’re in a position to help the organization succeed.  Go to it!”  This will create a strong team whose daily actions and words put the organization in a positive light.

The more empowered people are, the greater rewards your organization will reap in terms of positive press, increased sales (more members / followers), and higher bottom-line results.