Empowerment is the process of giving greater responsibility to everyone that works for an organisation - it literally means giving power to make decisions. Empowering members of an organisation is a tremendous motivational tool because they feel that they are contributing, through their own initiative, to improving performance and achieving better results.
Homebase employs a teamwork approach in which everyone counts and adds value to their team. All employees are given an opportunity to voice their ideas and opinions.
At Homebase employees are organised into teams with a team leader. Team meetings are held on a regular basis called 'huddles'. Huddles frequently involve team building exercises and fun activities such as quizzes and competitions (such as trolley dashes to locate stock in a store). In addition the huddle is a way of encouraging everyone to contribute to developing ideas for improving processes within the business. For example, the team leader may identify an area of weakness that has come to light as a result of a visit by a Mystery Shopper or from the customer satisfaction survey. The team leader might read out comment cards or relay verbal comments. Individuals are then invited to suggest ways of improving customer service in the coming week.
Team members are encouraged to suggest ideas for a range of ways to improve business such as how to improve sales, and general processes.
Senior managers at Homebase recognise the importance of empowerment because grassroots employees are best placed to understand and be able to respond to the needs of customers at a local level - for example by being able to cater for regional differences.
Empowering staff involves encouraging employees to make appropriate 'on-the-spot' decisions such as offering to help a customer take and unload a trolley of goods to their car, or replacing product labels on products when they are missing (without having to wait to be told what to do).