How to create autonomy in the workplace?

It is clear: Employees who are free to make their own choices about how they go about their responsibilities are happier, more committed, more productive and more loyal than those whose every action is prescribed.

Autonomy in the workplace isn’t just about managing our actions – it’s about choice; to be able to choose and actually create our options.

In the workplace, autonomy essentially means having a job where you can make at least some of the decisions on your own.

Although many businesses claim to support employee autonomy, this may be a blind spot for your organization if it’s not a significant part of your culture.

Even if increasing employee autonomy is already high on your priority list, how do you actually go about it? Clearly, autonomy is something that is felt individually, so employees must develop it themselves to a degree. But what can managers do to practically encourage and support that self-awareness?

Follow these best practices to boost and encourage employee autonomy.

  • Build trust, but trust first!
  • Mistakes will always happen, calm down!
  • Hire autonomous people
  • Talk about autonomy needs with each employee
  • Promote colleagues as a gut-check resource
  • Communicate effectively
  • Have limits but also have the right to choose
  • Provide tools to reach goals
  • Provide support and advice where needed

How does autonomy improve employee engagement?

Studies have shown that work environments that grant more autonomy to their employees have both higher levels of job satisfaction, as well as better productivity rates. And it makes sense: when you’re given a greater level of personal responsibility for the outcome of your work, you’re incentivised to do it better and therefore more engaged with the work you’re doing. It encourages a genuine feeling of personal investment in your work, and in the company or organisation as a whole. Moreover, increased employee autonomy can have huge benefits for your entire team and organisation – higher rates of motivation and job satisfaction have been proven to decrease levels of employee turnover. (Source: Chron)

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