What can bee colonies teach us about employee empowerment?

What can bee colonies teach us about employee empowerment?

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: employee empowerment is crucial in every work environment. But if you don’t go about it the right way, your strategy will come down like a house of cards. In this blog post, we’ll turn to nature to illustrate our point. How can bee colonies help us create a thriving workplace — one where empowered employees make independent decisions that contribute to the bigger whole?

An overarching goal: the glue that keeps employees together

First, a word on the ‘why’ of employee empowerment. If you provide staff members with the right information at the right time, they can make independent decisions that contribute to meeting your organizational goals. They’ll also be proud of their jobs, which will turn them into loyal ambassadors and promote employee happiness. But there’s one prerequisite: they need an overarching goal. Without the proverbial glue that keeps them together, your information sharing strategy will likely fail, and supposedly tight-knit teams might collapse. The result: chaos.

If the decision-making process is not a well-oiled machine, employees can’t assess the consequences of their choices. In the best-case scenario, they’ll randomly make decisions hoping for the best. But if things really go downhill, they might create their own little islands and compete with each other, not considering the company’s best interest at all.

Every organization needs a queen bee (but she’s not a human being!)

Who’s not familiar with the queen bee? The worker bees in a colony live to serve her and keep her alive. Each of them operates independently to fulfill their specific tasks, but order is only kept because the queen is there. If she accidentally dies, all worker bees go into panic mode. They become edgy, anxious, and aggressive. They try to rear a new queen bee, but if they fail to do so, the bee colony ultimately won’t survive.

If you think about it, this is exactly how organizations work. The queen is the overarching company goal (not the CEO!). If employees are familiar with the company’s purpose and have access to actionable, real-time information, each of their decisions will bring the company one step closer to achieving the ultimate goal!

Want to discuss your information sharing strategy? Please don’t hesitate to contact us. We’d be happy to perform a Quick Scan and explore your Visual Management opportunities.

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