Employee Engagement

How Millennials view employee empowerment

Written by Tony Loxton
Nov 3

Employee empowerment is a big deal, but motivating staff gets sidelined by to day-to-day operations and tasks scrambling for your attention. Unfortunately, the only thing this achieves is dissatisfaction of staff. If they're sick of going through the motions and being seen as merely a revenue-generating machine, they'll end up demotivated and underperforming.

The knock-on effects of a lack of employee empowerment can have dire consequences for your business. Employee empowerment is not about sitting around the proverbial campfire singing ‘Kumbaya’ – it’s about equipping the very people who comprise your business with the skills, support and environment that will help them, and your company, thrive.

Employee empowerment isn’t a tangible, easily-defined ‘thing’, and it is largely dictated by the zeitgeist of your workforce.

Unlike Baby Boomers who are eyeing retirement, today’s workforce comprises of Millennials – which means that employee empowerment needs to be approached from a completely different angle. Internationally renowned Millennial expert Ryan Jenkins has pinpointed the six key factors that companies need to consider if they want to enjoy the benefits of truly empowered staff. In his book, ‘A Guide to What Motivates Millennials At Work’, Jenkins lists Innovation, Flexibility, Collaboration, Self-development, Ownership and Purpose as the core qualities that Millennials seek in their work.

It’s helpful to think of your employee empowerment efforts as a ‘snowball’ – once you’ve constructed a system of core beliefs and initiatives, the movement will gain momentum on its own.

Your responsibility is to build the initial snowball and nudge it in the right direction. Metaphors aside, this article from by Kevin Daum suggests the most effective ways of facilitating employee empowerment for the Millenial generation. As you’ll see, there are concrete ways that you can reinforce and champion Jenkins’ six key factors: 

  1. Prioritise and facilitate open communication between all staff
  2. Recognise and reward self-initiative and self-improvement
  3. Create an environment where staff can test new ideas – without the negative ramifications should these fail
  4. Frequently communicate your company’s vision, core values and direction
  5. Set out clearly defined job roles and responsibility
  6. Hold staff accountable
  7. Encourage autonomy
  8. Reward and be vocal about appreciating staff contribution and participation

Empowering employees is that much easier if you equip them with tools to make their jobs easier.

Expecting an employee to scrub a large warehouse floor using only a cloth and some soapy water is the opposite of empowering staff. Not only will this task take infinitely longer than it should to complete, it’s pretty demeaning too. Instead, give them an electric mop that does the job in the fraction of the time (no knee-bending required), helping the cleaner and your business as a whole. While this is an extreme and simplistic example – and hopefully, an unlikely scenario in terms of your business – it hammers home the point: a big part of employee empowerment is about equipping your staff with the right tools for the job. What these tools look like is up to you and your industry: for a retail store this might include a foot traffic counter or portable POS devices.

The moral of the story? Employee empowerment is a big deal for the Millennial workforce, and calls for a dedication from the powers that be to equip staff with the support – tangible and intangible – that helps them to do their jobs better.

Find out more about our foot traffic software BlixTraffic – the smart way to empower your employees to make data-driven decisions about the retail customer.

Learn more about Blix Traffic for retail

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