Every organization wants to do everything it can to improve employee productivity. This single factor plays a significant role in a business’s success, and achieving it is a core objective for management. Research shows that employee empowerment has been successful in helping team managers and leaders to boost motivation. Hence, I want to share a few tips for empowering your direct reports.

The key phrase in the above sentence is ‘direct reports.’ Although targeting the organization as a whole is beneficial, your solutions will only work through micro and macro policies. This blog will provide some context and empowerment tips to boost your success.

Who Are Direct Reports?

Firstly, let’s understand what we mean by direct reports. Direct reports are the subordinates on your core operations team. You are likely to have direct reports under you if you are a supervisor or a team manager.

This blog will address empowerment strategies that are effective for such team members.

Impact of Empowerment on Employee Performance

Multiple research papers have explored these elements and concluded that increasing empowerment boosts performance.

Three critical changes happen when you empower your direct reports.

1. Improved Satisfaction

To start, empowering leads to `employee satisfaction. Most people, especially the younger generations, join organizations with the drive to achieve professional growth.

Therefore, allowing your subordinates to take more ownership of their work helps them encounter challenges better. Managers encouraging associates to take on such challenges also improve their professional and personal growth.

2. Better Professional Grooming

Empowerment helps people become more responsible, allowing them to show their talents and professionalism. Hence, the decision can help ambitious employees take the initiative and grasp incredible opportunities for career growth.

3. Encourages Creativity and Innovation

Empowering employees is one of the best ways to boost creativity and innovation. Taking more ownership of projects will push your direct reports to add novelty to their work in hopes of making their mark.

This factor is essential because several teams becoming more creative due to empowerment can set new performance benchmarks. Such achievements will push everyone towards excellence.

Tips for Empowering Your Direct Reports

There is no doubt that delegating more responsibility is beneficial, but how will you empower your team? Following are some of the best tips for empowering your direct reports to increase team productivity:

1. Build Closer Team Relationships

Getting to know your team and becoming more comfortable with them is good for team spirit. Building better team relationships will improve internal communication and increase trust between you and your team members.

Creating such a dynamic encourages people to explore their potential and increases the likelihood of taking on more responsibility. Therefore, the better your team bonding, the more empowered your subordinates will be.

2. Delegate Work and Responsibility

Delegating work is the first step to empowering your employees. Split projects into tasks and delegate them to your team members based on their proficiency and expertise. Assure them, let them take responsibility for their assigned task, and encourage them to do their best.

Work delegation is the primary responsibility of a manager, and your job is to assess how each person approaches their end of the task. Repeating this process and increasing task complexity will help your team ease into the responsibility and take on more challenges.

3. Do Not Micromanage

Micromanagement is one of the worst behavior a manager can exhibit and causes their direct reports to become frustrated. Getting elevated to a managerial role requires relinquishing control over individual tasks and shifting to the executive end.

Hence, you need to trust your direct reports to perform their relevant tasks independently without constant interference. Your role is to work with your team, understand their capabilities, and assign work accordingly.

The more you get involved in the minor details, the less opportunity they will have for growth. Such incidents eventually cause disgruntlement, and your team members’ motivation will drop.

4. Encourage Engagement

Employee engagement is one of the first signs that indicate that people are likely to appreciate empowerment. Hence, create opportunities for engagement by organizing brainstorming sessions, feedback sessions, etc.

Maintain an open-door policy for communication to help your direct reports know they are welcome to discuss their concerns. The more actively your team members engage in such activities, the greater the likelihood of better empowerment.

5. Give Constructive Feedback

Several team leads make the mistake of barely providing their direct reports any performance feedback. Not sharing performance feedback prevents your team members from knowing their strengths and weaknesses.

It will be challenging to know which aspects they need to focus on to achieve career development without such knowledge. Hence, schedule appraisals and feedback sessions to keep your subordinates in the loop about their performance.

6. Appreciate Growth and Improvement

There is a strong connection between rewards and motivation, and rewards don’t always need to be monetary. Recognizing your team members’ efforts in public will increase their motivation and push them to work harder and take on more responsibility.

It also motivates the remaining members to improve their performance to get recognized and rewarded similarly.

7. Mentorship

You are in a leadership role, which puts you in the best position to empower your direct reports. Take some time out to mentor them and help them become more confident about taking on more responsibility. They need assurance that they have what it takes to manage tasks independently, and your opinion as a supervisor matters a lot.

Mentorship will also help you understand them better and help you plan training to polish their capabilities.

Our Final Thoughts

We hope our tips for empowering your direct reports are helpful and enable you to achieve your goals and targets. Implementing relevant changes will take some time, but the effort and investment will be worth it.

Please also read our other blogs for more information and tips on the topic.

The Background Check Process

After the long process with searching for the job and interviewing (often times more than once), getting that offer letter can make anyone’s day. It’s a result of all of your hard work and determination. Once you accept the offer, the only thing left standing between you and your new career is the onboarding and background check process.

As a staffing agency, we want to give you some insight on what you can expect based on our experience with our clients and candidates.

How long does it take to be processed?

We wish we could give you a clear, strait-forward answer. This all really depends on what the end client requires. Most of our clients have different requirements that we agree upon when signing a contract with them.

In most cases, criminal record searches are some of the faster items in a background check. Education verifications could vary based on the institution. Typically, the longest part of the process is the employment verification.

Different companies have different procedures when it comes to verifying past employees. Here are a few scenarios we typically come across:

  • The past employer will verify over the phone instantly. Our background check provider always reaches out the Human Resource department of the previous employer. Many employers will verify their past employee right there over the phone. This is the quickest way to verify an employment record.
  • The past employer may work with a third party. There are some instances where companies do not do their own employment verifications. They have a third party company do the employment verifications for them. This can delay the process slightly at first because it is another company to reach out to, but can still have a quick turnaround time. It really depends on how the third party company operates.
  • The past employer has a specific request process. There are some companies that have a very specific employment verification process. They could require a formal letter by mail, fax, or email. They could also require a request form to be filled out.
  • The past employer does not respond. When the previous employer does not respond, this is typically when we update the hiring manager for the client so we can see how they would like to proceed.

This is why we say that the employment verification could possibly be the longest part of the background check process. It really depends on the procedure they use. Then typically most people have several past employers that needs to be verified.

In our past experience, many background checks can take anywhere between three to ten business days. Unfortunately with Covid, many courthouses are operating with limited hours. The company that we use to process our background checks, GoodHire, has put together a list of court status updates that you can find here.

What will be covered in my background check?

This all depends on what the client requests, and what is allowed by law. There are some background checks that go back 7 years while some can go back 10 years.

Make sure to familiarize yourself with the laws in your country, state, and region. Keep in mind that you need to be aware of the laws from where you live as well as where you will be working from. Your background check will follow the laws of whichever region has stricter rules. You can check your state’s updated laws here.

Will my current employer be contacted?

You may get different answers from different people with this question. For us, the answer is typically yes. Our clients will  almost always want an employment verification for your current employer.

There are plenty of times where a candidate asks us if we could hold off on verifying their current employer. This is for understandable reasons. Their new job has not been solidified yet. If your current employer finds out that you’re going to be leaving them before you formally do so, they could let you go and you can potentially be out of a job if the background check does not get cleared.

What we can sometimes do, is delay that specific employment verification. This way, we can basically buy you more time. Our background check provider can do the rest of the background check first and save this final employment verification to be completed last. That way, we can keep you updated and if everything else on you background check clears out, you’re that much closer to solidifying your position at that new job.

Keep in mind that this has it’s disadvantages as well. As mentioned before, an employment verification could potentially be  the longest part of the background check. In the end, it needs to get done regardless.

What is a reason for a background report not to “pass”?

There are many reasons someone may not “pass” their background check. It can be something that popped up on their criminal record search, or it can be something as simple as having your days slightly off on your employment verification. There have been times where employment verifications have come back to us with a “Review” status because the dates were a few months off. There have been times where the previous job title doesn’t match up with what’s on the candidates resume.

In the end, full transparency with our candidates and clients is very important to us. If there is an alert on someone’s background check, we always get the full explanation from our candidate before passing that along to our clients. From there on, we let our client decide what they would like to with that information.


State Laws by GoodHire: https://www.goodhire.com/background-check-laws/

Court Updates by GoodHire: https://help.goodhire.com/docs/covid-19-updates


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