What is empowerment?

Empowerment stands for work approaches that encourage people to discover their own strengths and to achieve a higher degree of autonomy and self-determination.
Originally coming from pedagogy, empowerment aims to strengthen people’s existing abilities and to exploit their resources.

strong woman as symbol for empowerment

Empowerment: a definition

  • The ability to recognize and proactively advocate for one’s own needs and interests.
  • Creating desired changes oneself (freeing oneself from stressful life circumstances).
  • Create their own access to information and resources and use them for their own benefit.
  • Standing up for one’ s rights.
  • Making decisions on one’s own responsibility.

Empowerment in the psychosocial field

Empowerment is also a main focus in the psychosocial field: Elderly people, people with disabilities and those with mental illness, are encouraged and supported to live self-determined and autonomous lives. These people are encouraged to draw on their existing resources, which they need to shape their lives.

Empowerment in companies

In the professional field, empowerment means using different methods to transfer responsibility piece by piece from the supervisor to the individual employee.

Employee appraisals with target agreements or training and development opportunities are part of empowerment.

Empowerment in the company clearly leads to increased willingness to perform and employees motivation, as well as employee satisfaction. Another benefit: People feel valued and can identify with the company.

Measures to establish empowerment in the company

  • Information

By sharing all information with the entire workforce, the willingness to take responsibility can be ensured. In addition, internal trust is strengthened because everyone has the same information.

  • Opportunities for education and training

Employees should be given the opportunity to undergo ongoing training so that they can realize their full potential.

  • Expanding the scope for action and decision-making

Only those who are given responsibility can contribute effectively.

  • Motivation

Empowerment at this point means encouraging people to achieve independence. Often, the individual employee’s lack of self-esteem prevents him or her from fully developing and leading a self-determined (professional) life – even if he or she is given the opportunity.

VIDEO: The Power of Empowerment (TED Talk)