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Best Workplaces™ for Professional Services - Involved and Empowered Employees Ride the Waves of Change

 Best Workplaces™ for Professional Services - Involved and Empowered Employees Ride the Waves of Change

The saying, change begets change has never been truer these past couple of years. With the pandemic still active and all the changes that it brought to the workplace, we are still riding the wave and having to shift and adapt as the challenges keep coming. For professional service firms that means taking a look at their culture and responding to the trends in order to remain competitive. 

At the Best Workplaces™ for Professional Services they have doubled down on this commitment to change and are actively involving their employees in solutions. They recognize their people are key to their success and that organizational success requires strong people-focused, employee-initiated solutions. And this has led them to focus on a workplace culture that involves people in decision-making and empowers them to do what is necessary – for their success and ultimately for the success of the organization. 

If we think of some of the key challenges facing professional service organizations, and organizations in general, it only makes sense that the most successful solutions are driven by the people. Consider some key work culture questions in 2022:

  • How do we maintain relationships with the rise of remote work options? 
  • How do we collaborate effectively with people on-site and off-site? 
  • How do we ensure people are included and their voices heard? 
  • How do we promote overall health and wellness for all? 

The answers are largely found through involving your people. When you ask your people for solutions they will surely have ideas. And when you create a culture where your people know their ideas are important, welcomed and encouraged you emerge as a Best Workplace and that’s precisely what the organizations on our Best Workplaces for Professional Services have done as evidenced by their employees’ agreement with key statements regarding discussion and idea exchange within their workplace. 

My manager is approachable and easy to talk with.

94%

My manager genuinely seeks and responds to suggestions and ideas.

93%

My manager keeps me informed about important issues and changes.

92%

My manager involves people in decisions that affect their jobs or work environment.

91%

People here quickly adapt to the changes needed for our organization's success.

90%

The key to successful adaptation to change is buy-in from your people. When the solutions and ideas come from your people, buy-in is not only more likely it’s an easier process overall. To accomplish this you need employees that are actively involved to find solutions and empowered to make decisions in the best interest of the organization. Here are some tips for encouraging both.  

Encourage Employee Involvement 

Involved employees are active participants in the organization and its success. They act as direct contributors to the decisions that affect them, their team and the organization. Rather than react to change, they think proactively about what is happening around them. They know they have a voice that is appreciated and this leads to more idea generation, increased collaboration and better morale and satisfaction. 

  • Engage – involved employees are engaged, meaning they understand how their work contributes to organizational success and are committed to achieving that success. Engagement is a necessary condition for involvement as it ensures your people know what is important to the organization and that they themselves are an important element of that success. 
  • Appreciate – involved employees are recognized for the work they do and the contributions they make. Employees who know their ideas are valued, and who are recognized for being proactive, will naturally seek to find solutions, improve conditions and advance the goals of the organization.
  • Communicate – involved employees enjoy open, honest dialogue across the organization. The channels are clear and easy to access, managers are approachable, and there is a lot of cross-departmental information sharing. Strong communication ensures people understand the objectives, and struggles, throughout the organization and this increased understanding yields better problem solving overall. 
  • Innovate – involved employees are encouraged to innovate. Not only are their ideas appreciated, they are sought after.  And when ideas are suggested they don’t disappear into an abyss, instead they are evaluated and followed-up. This level of respect for ideas ensures they will continue to be generated and shared.

Encourage Employee Empowerment 

Empowered employees take action and make decisions because they know they are trusted to do so. This level of trust is mutual – they act in the organization’s best interests because they know their leaders value them as people and contributors. When people feel empowered they make better decisions, they are more productive and they embrace change knowing they are an active part of it. 

  • Delegate – empowered employees are given assignments that encourage growth and that provide a better understanding of the organization. Rather than delegate mundane tasks you don’t want to do yourself, use delegation to increase employee responsibility and develop their skills and competence. 
  • Promote Autonomy – empowered employees know where they need to go and are trusted to find their own way there. They aren’t micromanaged and their managers know there is no one ‘right’ way to accomplish a goal. With this level of freedom, employees stretch their abilities, learn to rely on their judgment and become better problem solvers and decision makers. 
  • Provide Honest Feedback – empowered employees have a realistic understanding of their performance. They know what is expected of them and they know when they are doing well and when they fall short. This allows them to become better at making decisions on their own, as they know what specifically they should be doing more of and where they need to improve. 
  • Accept Mistakes – empowered employees not only know when they mess-up, they also know they won’t be unfairly reprimanded when things don’t go as planned. When they know failure is tolerated, and even expected from time to time, employees are more likely to try new things and this is how the best ideas are often incubated. 

Now, perhaps more than ever, organizational change is at the forefront of people’s minds. In order to respond to change positively and not allow it to overwhelm or even degrade all the important work that has been done to stay afloat post 2020, it’s important that your people be your champions. They understand the obstacles. They have the solutions. Allow them the freedom to rise to the challenge and get involved in making their workplace the best place for them and for all.

If you want to get clear insight on how employees are experiencing your workplace culture, we are here to help. Reach out to us about how our survey and culture management platform can help you measure your team’s effectiveness.


Nancy Fonseca