Employee Motivation & Empowerment

“Success is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm.” – Winston Churchill”

You must have heard ”1+1=11 and not 2.” When does it happen? When the person is motivated and empowered. You might have noticed with yourself when you did an amazing job. When you look back and see “is it YOU who did it? You may not be believing yourself, how can I do it?” That can only happen when you are motivated and empowered. It creates a magical environment around you when everything seems to be possible.

ISO 9000: 2015, 3rd Quality Management Principle talks about ‘Engagement of people.’ It clearly states that to manage an organization effectively and efficiently, it is important to involve and engage people at all levels by recognition, empowerment and enhancement of competence.

As per IATF 16949 Standard definition, clause 7.3.2, the following are the key expectations.

·      Achieve Quality Objectives: The success of any organization depends upon the achievement of the targets related to Sales, Profitability and customer satisfaction. No organization can achieve the desired targets without the involvement of its employees. Presently, the Automotive sector is passing through a prolonged slowdown and key parameters like cost of production, overheads need to be controlled. Only with the involvement of team members and ownership, these targets can be met.

·      Continual Improvement: The targets given by the management and customer are always challenging. To go beyond the targets, a highly motivated and committed team is needed. To become a world-class organization, the engagement of each employee is extremely important.

Example: Apple Inc. from the USA is the finest example of continual improvement in their products like iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch. 

·      Promote innovation: When an organization and its employees are struggling to achieve minimum targets, the possibility of innovation is highly unlikely. When an organization creates an atmosphere for continual improvement (going beyond the target set by management and customer), it leads to creating innovative products and processes. Example: Elon Musk Owned Tesla is a wonderful example of innovation in successfully developing Electric Vehicles.    

What is employee motivation

It is the level of energy, commitment, and creativity that a company’s workers bring to their jobs.

How to motivate employees

·      Understanding the needs and expectations of employees.

·      Annual Increments, Promotion

·      Training need identification and providing it

·      Awards like attendance, long service, Best Kaizen, Best Quality Circle

·      Celebrations like Annual function, Founder’s Day, Birthdays, Festivals, Cultural program, Sports day  

·      Open House, Outbound training, Mentoring, Talent Management

·      Congenial Work Environment

Industry Challenge

·      Not understanding the needs and expectations of employees and providing as per their comfort.

·      Many companies provide bonuses and stock option to motivate their employees but still they could not engage them for achieving higher levels. Maybe they did not try to find out the real need and expectations of their employees? Maybe different sets of employees have different expectations like recognition, designation, empowerment, more family time, etc.

·      No methodology to know whether an employee is motivated?

·      Generally, there is a big budget for training and they are provided but it has no link with Management’s vision and business plan

What is employee empowerment

It means authority or power given to someone to do something.

How to empower employees

·      Clear identification & implementation of Roles, Responsibilities and Authority (Cl. 5.3).

·      For new sales, whatever decision salesperson takes for clinching the deal when supported by the organization is one form of Empowerment.

·      When an employee is working on the development of new technology and fails to achieve the desired results (which causes loss of time and money), the confidence and support received at that time from top management is a form of Empowerment.

·      Due to quality issues, when quality personnel is allowed to stop the production line & shipment (which may result in delayed delivery and Sales loss) is a form of Empowerment (Clause 5.3.2.a- IATF).

·      Effective implementation of ‘Ethics Escalation Policy/Whistle Blowing Policy’ (Cl.

Industry Challenge

·      Responsibilities are defined and results are demanded but without authority.

·      Success is owned by the top but failure is shared with everyone

·      No one asks difficult questions to the management

How to measure employee Motivation / Empowerment

·      Employee satisfaction survey

·      Customer satisfaction data

·      Relationship with labour union

·      Employee attrition

·      Number of long service awards

·      Annual Appraisal

Expectations from Management:

·      Personal touch with employees

·      No fear of losing a job

·      Sense of belongingness

·      Good working environment

Some question to ponder:

·      Employee Empowerment: Employee may be at any designation or position but in many organizations, the decision-maker is only ONE! No empowerment to the second line!

·      Employee Motivation: Many organizations offer different motivation activities which suites them and their budget and not as per the need and expectation of their employees.

·      How many organizations have a methodology to monitor and calculate the benefits generated from motivational schemes?


ISO 9000: 2015

IATF 16949: 2016

This is the 36th article of this Quality Management series. Every weekend, you will find useful information that will make your Management System journey Productive. Please share it with your colleagues too.

Your genuine feedback and response are extremely valuable. Please suggest topics for the coming weeks.

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