Bulb, British Land & Hines | HR leaders share best practice tips for empowering staff

HR leaders share best practice tips for empowering staff

The success of a business is determined by the success of its people, and a sure-fire way to achieve this is by empowering them, and the more a business does this, the more staff will be able to flourish in the workplace.

Salesforce data supported this as it found that employees who feel their voice is heard are 4.6 times more likely to feel empowered to perform their best work.

For this to work, Tom Fraine, Chief People Officer at Bulb, Kelly Barry, Head of Reward at British Land and Mary Edmunds, Head of Human Resources, Europe, at Hines have shared their tips with HR Grapevine:

Keeping connections going

To allow staff to feel truly empowered, employers should place an emphasis on keeping connections alive – particularly with more employees now working from home and looking likely to continue doing so in the future. This is supported by 2020 data from HubbleHQ which found that 86% of UK employees would like to continue working remotely for at least one day a week.

Barry also shone a light on the importance of communication too, as she stated that “throughout this extended period of remote working, we’ve been focussed on ensuring employees have everything they need to stay connected with teams and colleagues across the business”.

“We realised early on that regular communication across the business and within teams was key,” Barry added.

Bulb’s Fraine also backed this notion and stated that technology has in some ways improved communication, particularly during this time “while we’re working from spare rooms, kitchens and bedrooms”. To ensure the organisation is providing the best opportunity for open communication, he explained that Bulb hosts weekly meetings where teams are able to ask anything.

He added: “We make sure our people have plenty of opportunities to ask questions and speak their minds. At our weekly company meeting, teams can ask our senior leadership team anything, and they’ll answer openly and honestly. We also have an anonymous employee feedback platform that enables two-way communication between team members and managers.”

Rewarding staff

An additional method that Bulb’s Fraine swears by to help empower staff is by having regular reviews of employee performance. With these in place he shared that staff feel empowered to improve their work and question how they can make things better.

“We review performance, promotions and salaries every quarter and as part of that, we’ll reward where employees have lived our values,” the CPO said. “Because everyone owns a bit of Bulb, they’re incentivised and empowered to improve and question things that could be better.” In addition, its roll out of weekly awards which focuses on the firm’s ‘Make It Better’ recognises the best new idea that’s been implemented that week, however big or small – another way that staff can empower themselves in the business.

Empowerment for the future

Offering staff more autonomy over when and where they work has been something many employees have sought after for some time. In fact, research from the University of Birmingham, Business School demonstrates this as it found that staff with increased levels of autonomy in their work reported positive effects on their overall wellbeing, while also citing higher levels of job satisfaction.

Greater autonomy is something that Edmunds is working towards, particularly now that the Prime Minister’s roadmap out of lockdown is well underway, in order to give employees more empowerment.

“Looking ahead, we have a return to the workplace group in motion. Again, this is a two-way street with all views taken onboard,” Edmunds enthused. “We foresee a future hybrid model with agile, flexible, and remote working patterns remaining part of our future. The office will remain a fundamental component and has an exciting role to play in our new and regular global collaborations, and those important serendipitous moments of genuine connection and innovation.”

‘Everyone is unique’

Each of these methods showcase best practice when it comes to truly empowering a workforce, however for this to be a true success British Land’s Barry noted that it is vital HR teams acknowledge that every employees’ circumstance are different, therefore a level of understanding and personalisation is needed to ensure each staff member can feel truly empowered.

“While we’ve taken steps to support and empower our people across the business, we are also mindful that everyone’s position is unique and have encouraged managers to take an individual approach to each of their team members,” she concluded.

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