Forget Flexibility Your Employees Want Autonomy

5 Ways To Give Workers More Autonomy

Many business leaders from the old school remain nervous that giving employees more autonomy and flexibility will unleash chaos, resulting in employees working less and goofing off more. Workers were once largely in factories and had to follow orders, never thinking for themselves. In this top-down structure leadership had all the answers, tightly controlled the tools of production, and thus employee autonomy was actually dangerous to operational efficiency.

Is autonomy a moral value?

Autonomy in Moral Philosophy. Autonomy is central in certain moral frameworks, both as a model of the moral person — the feature of the person by virtue of which she is morally obligated — and as the aspect of persons which grounds others' obligations to her or him.

The following four strategies are an essential place to start. Granting employees the flexibility they need can help them feel valued and accountable for the tasks for which they are put in charge. When employees have unrestricted access to training portals and cross-training options, they won’t feel limited in their roles and growth opportunities. When they feel that they are trusted, their loyalty is also likely to deepen.

Provide Resources

Eventually Microsoft conceded defeat and shut down Encarta in 2009. Flexibility demonstrates trust and shows that you’re committed to promoting autonomy in the company. Strict policies like 9-to-5 working hours and complicated corporate procedures can create an atmosphere that inhibits freedom and creativity. Job enlargement is the broadening of a role by adding different tasks. I mention this here as this is often the starting point of any enrichment intervention.

5 Ways To Give Workers More Autonomy

An employee who you can trust with more autonomy is one who has historically raised their hand when they encounter a problem or a conflict at work they felt was beyond them. Asking for help from a leader is not a sign of weakness or inability, but rather of self-awareness and mindfulness, 5 Ways To Give Workers More Autonomy both of which contribute to the success of a more autonomous employee. An employee who is ready for more autonomy at work should meet or exceed, your expectations on a given task or project, every single time. Granted no one is perfect and there may have been some mistakes along the way.

How to enable employee autonomy in hybrid workplaces?

Employees allowed individuality feel free to express themselves. An employee that is allowed autonomy is self-motivated, inspired to achieve, and more likely to engage with work. But should the result not be satisfactory, the employee won’t just be answering to themselves. They will also have to answer to their workplace team they have let down.

  • Once interrupted, its work efficiency will decline, and employees need more time to recover to the main task.
  • Employees may be frustrated and some may even resent feeling that someone is “looking over their shoulder” when they are in the office.
  • With Pingboard, you can build communities,support employee networks, and make sure everyone feels appreciated.
  • Research on knowledge workers has revealed that the tension between autonomy and control can lead to the so-called “autonomy paradox”.
  • At the same time, create a team culture where this type of communication can grow.
  • 68% of all people who have ever been micromanagedsay it has decreased their morale.

Since the topic of job enrichment has been so well-established in the literature, we will use some older sources as they are still the go-to place for this technique. Organizations need to shift control from the top to their employees, no matter how scary this shift sounds.

What are the effects of employee autonomy?

When employees feel empowered and productive at work they are more likely to stay with the company. The combination of learning and development with a sense of purpose and impact increases the likelihood that employees will stay loyal to the company and develop within the organization rather than without. Maybe it’s time to abandon some of these antiquated models of the industrial era. Treating knowledge workers like machines is detrimental to human psychology and employee engagement. They can start by giving employees more control over their work and more freedom over the process. Leaders will be stunned by the dramatic impact this simple and cost-effective strategy can have on their employee satisfaction, and in turn, on their business performance. Relatedness, on the other hand, refers to our sense of belonging and social cohesiveness with others.

5 Ways To Give Workers More Autonomy

In the past, the office was the place to be when it came to making company decisions. Today, with powerful technology always at our fingertips, managers can stay in constant contact with their teams while making decisions remotely. But still, some managers remain reluctant to let go of the control.

tips to master employee autonomy

But as typically happens with buzzwords, many different interpretations of flexibility are beginning to arise. Within the context of hybrid work, this means having the ability to be the primary decision-maker of where and when they do their work. Remember that 3M’s most lucrative product came out of its program allowing employees to spend 15 percent of their work time on personal projects. Freedom to experiment led 3M chemist, Art Fry, to invent a little thing called the Post-it note. You may want to reconsider that strategy, as “helicopter bosses” typically lose out on organic opportunities for business growth.

5 Ways To Give Workers More Autonomy

Sometimes, companies and businesses might give extra freedoms to teams or departments, allowing them to be more autonomous. Managers or executives often give these types of teams projects or assignments with very few guidelines. The teams then work together to develop their own actionable steps and achieve the desired goals. This can help employees develop powerful working relationships and improve collaboration skills, which can have a strong effect on company efficiency. Providing managers with autonomy often allows them to make crucial decisions regarding personnel and possibly give them the ability to provide raises or commendations to employees without executive approval. This can allow managers to become more involved in the development of the company and feel more included in major business decisions.

You hired them for a job, trust them to do it

Companies who pride themselves on their innovation and “freshness” know that the 9–5 is dead. Clinging to outdated ways of working not only shows you’re behind the times, it communicates an inflexibility of thinking. It traps people into a restrictive work pattern, instead of giving them the space to create a schedule that best suits their productive focus and life outside of work.

  • A growth mindset refers to the idea that you might not have the skills now, but you can learn them.
  • As more and more offices have begun to bring employees back into the office, the hybrid office has emerged as the primary telework model.
  • For example, a website may provide you with local weather reports or traffic news by storing data about your current location.
  • But it’s also creating new opportunities to give employees more control of their work lives—and that’s a great thing.

Job enrichment is the process of adding motivators to existing jobs to increase job satisfaction. When developing your tech stack, put employee experience first and your employees will reciprocate by putting your organization’s goals first. The sooner you move towards employee empowerment and workplace autonomy, the better you’ll do.

Employees are encouraged to work wherever they get their best work done. Granting employees total liberty in this area would mean abolishing fixed schedules. Employees choose when to get their work down and are only accountable for the results. Lastly, we’ll give you concrete examples of how any company can apply principles of greater employee autonomy. In the end, you’ll have practical ideas to implement in your company. Leaders might worry and think worse-case-scenario — what if people waste company time and do not get any work done? When they should be thinking — what if this new model gave employees a sense of happiness and satisfaction, compelling them to work harder for us.

In a more autonomous environment, the frequency of the behavior will increase. The measured include occupying company property without permission, resting without permission during working hours, being late for work without permission. Data analysis shows that job autonomy has a positive impact on counterproductive behavior, and high job autonomy will lead counterproductive behavior.

What is Business Owner Autonomy?

Therefore, as job autonomy increases, so does the chance of misleading work behavior, see Figure 2. For organizations looking to remain competitive in the hybrid future, enabling and empowering employee autonomy will be the single most important enabler of flexibility. In practice, blindly increasing job autonomy is not always good, and may have too much effect. With the change of the times and the change of the organization, the working characteristics are becoming more and more diverse, and the working environment is also very flexible. In such a dynamic environment, it is risky to increase job autonomy without depending on the specific situation.

  • This could include things like awards, bonuses, or even just a simple thank you.
  • Your team can monitor their own feelings and managers/HR teams can access anonymised data to proactively focus their attention on areas of the organisation which need it most.
  • Remember moving to a more autonomous model doesn’t happen overnight, it takes a lot of trial and error, and the best way to evolve is to understand what’s working and what’s not.
  • Opt for a sweet spot that balances autonomy with guidance and oversight so that your employees stay motivated and productive.
  • As scholars go deeper into the black box behind job autonomy, it will provide better management inspiration for the organization.

In the motivational approach, job enrichment plays a crucial part. Here, jobs are created to satisfy an employee and their needs, AKA motivate. This approach provides people with autonomy, responsibility, the ability to do a job from start to finish, and performance feedback. Autonomy is common under ademocratic environment with autonomous leadership, where the leader gives more freedom and authority to employees to make decisions relevant to their position. In addition, leaders also provide resources and facilities to support them in carrying out their roles effectively. They encourage employees to develop themselves, organize their work lives, and develop their own problem-solving.

What are Examples of Autonomy at Work?

However, make sure to balance this level of autonomy with the need to maintain optimal employee performance. Too much independence can lead to chaos and confusion, while too little can cause employees to feel disengaged and unappreciated. Opt for a sweet spot that balances autonomy with guidance and oversight so that your employees stay motivated and productive. Because some employees crave autonomy while others crave frequent direction and oversight, no single management style fits everyone. As with parenting, while the same rules apply to each child, the approach to each varies. Be sure to provide the amount of direction and feedback needed by individual employees, and adjust the approach as needed so that all employees feel valued and supported.

  • This benefits the company as a whole, given that a more skilled workforce increases productivity.
  • About job satisfaction, Baltes et al. also verified that job autonomy and job satisfaction follow the inverted U curve.
  • Instead of punishing, blaming or ridiculing employees for making mistakes, give them the chance to take ownership over the outcome and fix the situation.
  • Moreover, autonomy boosts not only individual productivity but also the business as a whole.
  • If employees are capable of getting the job done without micromanagement, why impose rules?
  • There are many ways in which a workplace can improve employee autonomy.

Remote work enabled many people to experience a quality of life they never thought possible. Recognition Training for Managers To understand recognition best practices and can give impactful and effective recognition.

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