How to empower and engage employees in the service sector | Providing service is not easy! Guest expectations are hard to predict and even harder to satisfy on the spot. Employees must feel engaged and empowered to act, to make sure that guests receive the appropriate response quickly.

Empower employees

Employees don’t suddenly feel empowered, because managers tell them they are or because companies issue statements saying it is part of their culture.

Empowerment exists when companies implement practices that distribute power, information, knowledge, and rewards. They must create work environments, in which all employees are encouraged to think strategically about their jobs and the business and assume personal responsibility for the quality of their work.

Giving service employees more power may help them to:

  1. Recover from service failures. Empowering employees to fix mistakes quickly, without judging them, can be part of a recovery strategy, in which the service goal of “no lost customers” is realized.
  2. Delight customers by exceeding their expectations. In this case empowerment results in pleasantly surprising customers with the initial service delivery, instead of recovering from a service failure.

Ideas on how to empower your employees

The more you empower your employees, the more they will grow and thrive. Here are some ways to this:

  • Listen intently: Too many managers try to get employees to say, what they want to hear. It is far wiser to listen carefully for the truth and then change their behavior in response to that truth.
  • Believe in your employees: If you wait for a team of superstars, you will be waiting forever. Discover what each person does best. Bring people together to support and encourage each other. Believe 100% in this partnership and collaboration.
  • Forgive mistakes: Mistakes are necessary for the development of any business. Forgive the mistakes your team does. Help them correct them and learn through these mistakes.
  • Praise Effort: Don’t focus on talent, focus on effort. Effort is far more important than talent. By praising effort, you will encourage people to learn and grow, rather than to simply stay focused on the one or two things that come easy to them.
  • Earn trust: You must be there for your employees in good times and in bad times. Never hire a person unless you are willing to support that person through all circumstances. In earning trust, you also achieve remarkable loyalty from your employees.
  • Give them time: You cannot always give each employee as much money as they would like, but you can give them time. Time to learn, to experiment, time to manage their personal affairs etc. Time produces better results and builds trust too.
  • Set your own ego aside: Too many managers want to be the smartest person in the room. If this is always true, you have failed as a leader. Talk less and listen more.


Empowerment brings engagement. And both bring development. Empowerment can have positive returns for employees, customers and for the business.

For more information on how to develop your team and achieve service excellence contact us or book a free 30′ consultation.