Ask HR! How do I Empower Associates?
By: Chelsea Schmelz, PHR
Happy Friday! This post is the first in our Ask HR series. Empowerment is a hot topic among HR professionals, managers, and leaders. In this post, Chelsea Schmelz (PHR), operations manager at Touchdown Business Solutions, shares her experience with learning to empower employees.
Q: How do I transition a team leader from a heroic leadership role to an approach where they empower their associates?
A: If your team leader has never been in a position where they were supported by a team and were able to delegate tasks, empowerment may not come naturally for them. As someone who has a background of primarily being an ‘HR of One’ I found it very difficult to delegate tasks once I stepped into a managerial role that involved direct reports. I didn’t know how to delegate and not just take everything on myself and carry the entire department. I was struggling with ways to empower my team and help them along their path to career growth.
Recently I attended the Indiana SHRM Conference, and during Jason Barnaby’s session he spoke about the Stop Doing List. He described this as all of the tasks that a leader does, that they may be holding on to, but that they should really be delegating to their team. This is one of the first things that I implemented upon returning from the conference.
In creating this list, I was able to make a plan for each team member, lining out what tasks they would now have ownership in, and any training that needed to occur. This list allowed me to provide my team with exposure to HR aspects that they had not yet been a part of, as well as additional responsibilities in their existing roles. For example, one task that I delegated to my team was our job postings and administering the recruiting budget. By giving this task over I allowed my associates to not only learn how to post jobs, but also gave them the space to try new things, own the process, acquire data, and come to me with suggestions on how to improve the process. By simply learning how to delegate I was able to empower my associates.
What are your thoughts? How do you empower your employees?