Help your workers and your business by increasing autonomy
One of the best ways to increase employee morale, motivation and productivity is to give your workers more autonomy. This means allowing them to make decisions, think for themselves and “own” their jobs.
The Benefits of Increased Autonomy
According to a Cornell University study, small businesses that give employees autonomy grow up to four times faster than those using traditional command and control management styles. They also experience up to 60 percent less turnover than their old-fashioned counterparts.
Employers who let workers think for themselves also build greater confidence and resourcefulness. Employees feel they can handle whatever the business throws at them and show increased self-efficacy when they have more autonomy. They also become more resilient, exhibiting a “can do” spirit that helps them overcome major changes and challenges.
Businesses that don't foster autonomy suffer because the employees cannot think for themselves, make decisions or try new things. Growth stops because employees passively await orders and do not even try to act on their own.
How to Encourage More Autonomy
To reap these benefits, let your employees control their own workflow. Forget about the 40-hour work week and evaluate your employees on how well they perform instead of how many hours they spend at their desks.
Not every job lends itself to increased worker autonomy, but you can provide all employees with decision-making opportunities. Even if they seem insignificant, they will still yield powerful positive psychological impacts. Offer an abundance of choices to everyone, from deciding on lunch fare during a meeting or choosing a theme for the office holiday party. If you cannot offer a choice, at least explain why particular decisions have been made. This small act will give your employees a great feeling of empowerment even though they did not make the decision themselves.
How do you build autonomy in your small business? Share your best tips with our readers in the comments below.